The Medieval Church

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The Medieval Church. Cross- ing the line between religion and politics. Conversion. In the Middle Ages (500-1300 AD), the church was on a mission- to convert all of Europe to Christianity By the late Middle ages, western Europe had become a Christian civilization
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The Medieval Church Cross-ing the line between religion and politics Conversion
  • In the Middle Ages (500-1300 AD), the church was on a mission- to convert all of Europe to Christianity
  • By the late Middle ages, western Europe had become a Christian civilization
  • Anyone who did not belong to the church community was viewed with suspicion
  • I didn’t see you at church…..
  • Church life
  • The church was the center of daily life
  • Not only was it often the largest public building in a village, but it central because of the role it played in lives of the people
  • Some roles may be:
  • Church life
  • The church was where you were after your birth, when you got married, and when you died
  • Daily life revolved around the Christian calendar, featuring many holidays and feasts of saints
  • Many churches had relics- the remains of, or things formerly belonging to, saints
  • Church life
  • The church asked for a tithe
  • Tithe- a tax for the church equal to 10% of your income
  • This money went to support the local church
  • Eventually, more and more of this money found its way to Rome
  • Church life
  • The Church had a conflicting view on women
  • Women were viewed as equal before God
  • The church protected women from serious injury from their husbands, set a minimum age for marriage
  • However, women were viewed as weak on Earth and needed guidance from men
  • Women often punished more harshly for same crimes
  • Monasteries and convents
  • Men and women who wished to devote their lives to the church entirely became monks and nuns and lived in monasteries and convents, respectively
  • In 530 AD, a monk named Benedict developed rules to govern life in these religious places
  • Became known as the Benedictine Rule
  • Monasteries and convents
  • Under Benedictine rule, monks and nuns took three vows:
  • 1) Obedience to head of monastery or convent
  • 2) Poverty
  • 3) Chastity
  • Monasteries and convents
  • Monasteries and convents served many purposes
  • They took care of the sick and gave rest to tired travelers
  • They provided opportunities for learning, teaching classics in Latin
  • Many monks copied books by hand; others wrote books.
  • Church as a secular force
  • Secular-worldly, not spiritual
  • Secular holidays-
  • Spiritual holidays
  • Church as a secular force
  • The pope claimed papal supremacy
  • Papal supremacy- the belief that since the Pope is God’s representative, he has authority over all leaders (kings, emperors)
  • Church as a secular force
  • Church leaders, such as bishop, were usually also nobles, with vast territories and even armies under their control
  • Monasteries had large amounts of land
  • The pope himself controlled an area in Italy known as the papal states
  • Secular leaders were often related to church leaders
  • Church as a secular force
  • The Church was able to influence the population with the threat of excommunication
  • Those who were excommunicated were cut off from church, not allowed to receive Christian burial, and therefore condemned to hell
  • Could threaten nobles with interdict- an order excommunicating an entire region
  • Church as a secular force
  • This power led to Church corruption
  • Vows of poverty were forgotten, some church members lived in luxury
  • Priesthood sometimes became inherited, ignored priest duties
  • Church as a secular force
  • Church also a force for peace
  • Demanded fighting between nobles stop between Friday and Sunday
  • May have led to reduction in violence
  • Treatment of Jews
  • As Europe became more and more Christian, suspicion of Jews increased
  • Because they were not a part of Church life, they became mysterious to people
  • Natural disasters were blamed on them
  • Church eventually banned them from holding property or some jobs
  • Jews fled to Eastern Europe, where they flourished until modern times
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