Church in middle ages By Angel Chaveinte and Juan Kim
The church The Catholic Church was the only church in Europe during the Middle Ages, and it had its own laws and large coffers. Church leaders such as bishops and archbishops sat on the king's council and played leading roles in government. Bishops, who were often wealthy and came from noble families, ruled over groups of parishes called "diocese." Parish priests, on the other hand, came from humbler backgrounds and often had little education. The village priest tended to the sick and indigent and, if he was able, taught Latin and the Bible to the youth of the village.
Role of the Church in Government Often, in the Middle Ages, the churches and governments ruled together. Bishops and Abbots would read and write for kings and often became vassals. Local priests were appointed by local lords, and so were expected to uphold their wishes. Thus, the role of the church and rulers was interconnected.
Monks and Nuns Monasteries in the Middle Ages were based on the rules set down by St. Benedict in the sixth century. The monks became known as Benedictines and took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to their leaders. They were required to perform manual labor and were forbidden to own property, leave the monastery, or become entangled in the concerns of society. Daily tasks were often carried out in silence. Monks and their female counterparts, nuns, who lived in convents, provided for the less-fortunate members of the community. Monasteries and nunneries were safe havens for pilgrims and other travelers.
Pilgrimages Pilgrimages were an important part of religious life in the Middle Ages. Many people took journeys to visit holy shrines such as the Church of St. James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the Canterbury cathedral in England, and sites in Jerusalem and Rome. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a series of stories told by 30 pilgrims as they traveled to Canterbury.
Knights The knight was one of three types of fighting men during the middle ages: Knights, Foot Soldiers, and Archers. The medieval knight was the equivalent of the modern tank. He was covered in multiple layers of armor, and could plow through foot soldiers standing in his way. No single foot soldier or archer could stand up to any one knight. Knights were also generally the wealthiest of the three types of soldiers. This was for a good reason. It was terribly expensive to be a knight. The war horse alone could cost the equivalent of a small airplane. Armor, shields, and weapons were also very expensive. Becoming a knight was part of the feudal agreement. In return for military service, the knight received a fief. In the late middle ages, many prospective knights began to pay "shield money" to their lord so that they wouldn't have to serve in the king's army. The money was then used to create a professional army that was paid and supported by the king. These knights often fought more for pillaging than for army wages. When they captured a city, they were allowed to ransack it, stealing goods and valuables.
The crusades The Crusades were wars between Christians and Muslims, fought in Palestine. In 1071, Turkish Muslims captured Jerusalem. The Muslims stopped the Christians from visiting the holy places in Palestine. Naturally, Christian rulers in Europe were very angry about this. The Byzantine emperor in Constantinople asked the Pope to help him drive the Turks from the Holy Land. Peter the Hermit and the Pope started the first Crusade. Cleverly, Pope Urban II said that he would forgive the sins of all people who went and fought in the Holy Land.
The inquisition In 1233 a church court, or Inquisition, was set up by Pope Gregory IX to end heresy, or beliefs that the church thought was wrong. It was primarily in response to heresy of the Albigenses, a religious sect of southern France. They were Christian heretics who believed in the coexistence of two ultimate principles, good and evil. They held that matter was evil and that Jesus only seemed to have a body. Over the next 100 years the Inquisition slowly brought the sect to an end. People suspected of heresy had one month to confess; those accused came before the Inquisition until they confessed. They were punished by being whipped or sent to prison, but were welcomed back into the Church.
The End Thanks for listening… or reading By Juan Kim and Angel Chaveinte