Notes: Middle Age Church
The church became a powerful institution with its own governemnet, laws, courts, ans system of taxation.
Christian teachings influenced everyone in the fuedal society from king to peasant.
In early middle ages, the church faced two difficult tasks - converting non-Christians, and adjusting the church to new conditions.
Missionaries preached the gospel in northern and eastern Europe.
Monks, such as Patrick in Ireland won many new converts.
In the 8th century, the Anglo-Saxon monk, Boniface carried Christian techings to the German peoples in Saxony.
Later, Slavs, Magyars, and vikings were converted.
Under the Roman empire, Christianity flourished in cities, but during the early middle ages, most of the Christians lived in scattered rural villages.
Charlemagne helped to set up a ssystem of rural patishes, which usually was a single manor.
Several parishes made up a see or diocese, a district ruled by a Bishop.
An archbishop rules several dioceses.
Bishops and archbishops were usually nobles.
Parish priests were usually commoners.
The pope in Rome was the spiritial leader of Christendom.
The pope also rules the Papal States, lands in central Italy owned by the church.
For most common people, the parish priest was the only contact with the church.
The priest celbrated Mass, cared for the sick and poor, collected the tithe, served as the villiage teacher (if he could read and write - many priests were poorly educated - few could understand the Latin phrases the said during mass - Charlemagne was shocked at this, and passed reforms saying priests must be able to read anad write Latin.)
The church became an essential part of fuedalism.
Most lords depeneded aopn educated clergy to fill positions in their courts.
The clergy gained great political influence.
The churches and monasteries controlled huge tracts of land in Western Europe.
High church officials were fuedal lords.
Some church leaders were vassals.
Church leaders were not required to fight in the battles, but the often had to decide between loyalty to the church or to their fuedal lord.
Church offivials gave lessings at knighthood ceremonies.
Marriage contracts were sworn before a member of the clergy.
Knights waged war in the name of Christian ideals, and often carrie a holy relic with them.
In the 11th century the church used its authority to reduce wars, and encourage periods of peace, known as the "Peace of God".
The churches efforts contributed to the decline of fuedal warfare.
The church demanded that no fighting be done on the weekends, and religious holidays.
People who were faced with the hardships of daily life took comfort in the fuedal teachings.
The rought to salvation was through the sacraments, the seven sacred rites, which were administered by the church through the parish priest.
The churcxh tought that the alternative to salvation was eternal suffering.
Christians who disobeyed the church could be faced with excommunication.
An excommunicated king could also loose all of his subjects - they would be reduced from their obligations.
In the 12th century, the church established a special court, the Inquisition, to try people accuesed of being heresy, or holding beliefs that differed from those of the church. Convicted poeples were usually burned at the stake. If the heretic admitted guilt, he would gradually be given forgiveness.
Some people believed that the best way to obtain salvation was to withdraw from the world. This gave rise to many convents and monestaries.
St. Benedict set up a set of stict rules for the monks, including that they coulkd not have any thing of their own, and they had to take vows of chastity, purity, and of absolute obediance to the abbot.
Women were allowed to become nuns.
Life in a monestary or convent involved hard work and prayer.
Monks helped to improve farming, herb gardening, and medical knowledge.
Monestaries and convents housed travelers.
They also served as schools.
The Franciscan order of monks owned nothing, and dedicated their lives to poverty, and the helping of the poor. (Founded by Francis of Assisi).
The Spanish priest Dominici, founded a new order of monks that set up schools and eduated people.
The church helped perserve ancient learning.
Charlemagne ordered ancient texts to be copied (some priests, though, wrote that Greek couldn't be understood.)
Gradually the clergy became better educated.
Generally only a few people studied ancient works, and they rejected any that were contrary to Christian beliefs. But, ancient works were still perserved.
Monks, such as those in Iona produced beatifully written Christian manuscripts, such as teh Book of Kells.
Outstanding religious music was also copmposed.
One problem that the church faced was the obediance of its clergy - some lived rich lives, other were immoral or corrupt.
By the 10th century some monasteries had grown extremely rich and careless in there standards.
Cluny in France began the reform movement banning simony, the buying and selling of religious office. He also stressed the virtues of hard work and service to God.
The chutrch also waged a constant cmapaign against those who disagreed with its teachings.
Some people, such as the Albigensians in Southern France condemned the Church's worldliness, and preffered the simple ways of old Christian life.
The church also competed with kings and fuedal lords for power.