Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access

(1,493 words)

Caesaropapism is a term coined by I.H. Böhmer (d. 1749) to describe the subordination of the ecclesiastical power to a secular ruler, whether that be a king or (in the case of the early church) the emperor. It was contrasted by I.H. Böhmer with papocaesarism (the desire of the pope to set himself above secular rulers, especially in the West), and is frequently used to describe the reality of the post-Constantinian Church in the Christian East. Although the early church firmly rejected caesaropapism and instead espoused the ideal of symphonia

Cite this page
Siecienski, A. Edward, “Caesaropapism”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 27 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2022

▲   Back to top   ▲