During the period between 500 and 1200 CE, the Catholic became a unifying factor in Europe because it had a lot of influence in all aspects of religion, politics, and the economy. The period is also called the "Age of Faith” because of the centrality of the church in the life of the people of Europe at that time. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476, Clovis, the leader of the Germanic Franks converted to Christianity. His descendants ruled Europe until the union of the church and state. The church's influence came through the development of a church hierarchy, the establishment of wandering ministries and monasteries to provide refuge for those seeking protection, as centers for education and scholarly work as well as a central communication point for the church hierarchy through Abbots.