During the schism*, there was another event of great significance for the future of western Europe: one powerful barbarian king within the former Western Empire turned his allegiance to Catholic Christianity. His power base was in northern Gaul and his name Clovis; he and his successors took their family name from his grandfather Merovech, to be styled ‘Merovingians’. Becoming king of one branch of the Germanic people known as Franks in 481, Clovis proved to be a successful warlord who extended his family’s power throughout the former provinces of Gaul — henceforward known as Francia, and more or less the area represented by France. Like other Germanic leaders, he dallied with Arian Christianity, and members of his family certainly chose Arianism. However, he married a Catholic wife, and he developed a devotion to the saint of the Catholic Church who had been first a soldier and then a bishop, Martin of Tours.
…Over a period of 1,300 years after Clovis’s conversion, eighteen monarchs of what became the kingdom of France were christened with his name, which in its French mutation of the Latin “Ludovicus” became ‘Louis’.
– from Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch, page 323-4 (and below page 234)
*The schism referred to here is ‘Acacian schism of East and West between 482 and 519, which was precipitated by the “Byzantine Emperor Zeno and his bishop Acacius, in the capital backed a formula of reunion (“Henotikon”) with the Miaphysites: it contained fresh condemnation of Nestorius (an easy target), praised key documents from Cyril’s attack on him, but in a manner deeply offensive to Rome remained silent on the ‘Tome of Leo’, which the Miaphysite party at Ephesus had treated with such contempt.”
Dear Wachowski Brothers,
Were you trying to say something profound about Christianity, monarchy, and the human psyche by putting the Merovingian in the matrix? Or did the name just sound cool (I suspect the later)? Anyway, I promise to explain to you and all my readers what the heck “Arianism” is and who the heck the “Miaphysites” are, why they are not in full communion with Rome, and who Nestorius was all in a future post.