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The [Holy Roman] Emperor is representative of the high priest, of Christ the Priest King, who succeeded the kings of God’s ancient people…

Men revered the Holy Roman Empire as the bastion built against the coming of the Antichrist. The Holy Roman Emperor saw himself as the chief defender of the Church, indeed of all Christendom…

The conception of the Holy Roman Empire as a unique barrier against the coming of antichrist still had a place in the thought of Bellarmine, one of the most important papal theorizers of the early modern period; more significant still, it is also implicit in the thought of constitutional philosophers and theorists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries… The idea that while the Holy Roman Empire still existed — in one of its metamorphoses if not in its own person — the end of the world and the Last Judgment would be postponed was the great theme of the medieval theologians of the Holy Roman Empire and of its poets and literary champions at critical moments in its history.

-Friedrich Heer, The Holy Roman Empire