As the Roman Empire disentegrated the church played a central role in the emergeant civilization of Europe. The church soon developed an organizational structure to accomodate its expansion. Each major city had bishop . The bishops of a Roman provice were clustered under an archibishop.
The bishop of Rome were considered the vicars of Chirsit on earth. While most recogonized the bishop of Rome as the preeminent leader, it was not until Gregory I known as Greogory Great assumed leadership of the papacy that papal supremacy in the Catholic church became fully accepted.