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Few human institutions have survived so long and played a continuously important role in world history and affairs than the Papacy. From the time of St Peter to the present day, this establishment has sought to make sense of contemporary issues. Its story is a long and complicated one, full of incident, ideas and the interplay of personalities. In this masterful single volume, eminent scholar Roger Collins offers an account of the entire arc of papal history, describing how its authority was acquired and exercised, and in turn, challenged and threatened; how it faced and overcame crises - both from within and without; its relationship with Rome; the tradition of artistic patronage; and the character and policies of individual popes. KEEPERS OF THE KEYS OF HEAVEN is a vivid and revealing portrait of an enduring body, chronicling two thousand years of ambition, scandal, persecution, faith and glory.