Budding problems• Life in the roman world from 1st to 2nd century was peaceful enough in the sense of relative order.• Nevertheless, nomadic tribes from the north posed a constant threat as they gathered strength to attack Roman territory. They are known as barbarians (hairy ones), the term referred to any non-roman who spoke unfamiliar language and who was unshaven.• The barbarians lived in northern frontier formed by Rhine and Danube rivers who lived free of control and liked to make a quick raids across the borders into Roman lands.
Besides the strong faith and strong sense Churchof community in the midst of a world Structure & Rolesthat was hostile to them… DevelopChristian Churches were held togetherby theORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES & ROLESthat had evolved by the 2nd century. Bishops: From thee Greek word for supervisor. One for each community. Leads the community worship & celebration of the Eucharist. Deacons & Deaconesses: Like Stephen, the 1st martyr. Attended to the welfare of the poor, widowed, orphaned, sick persons.
ChurchThe Bishop of Rome as Peter’sSuccessor: Structure & RolesBefore Jerusalem was crushed in Develop70 CE, the bishop of Jerusalem wasconsidered the most important ofall bishops. After the fall of Jerusalem, the bishop of Rome became more strongly the center of the church.1. Peter died in Rome: bishop becomes Peter’s successor. (peter as the appointed head of the church)2. Rome was the imperial capital
TRIUMPH OF THE CROSSThe cross, formerly a symbol of punishment and death, has beenexalted by Jesus as the stairway to paradise.There can be no Christianwithout the cross. The Triumph of the Holy Cross is connected with therecovery of the sacred relic in 629.•After the placing of Jesus in the tomb, his cross was thrown into a ditchand covered with stones and earth, so that the Christians couldn’t find it.In 326, St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, discovered thehiding place and solemnly enshrined it in the Church of the HolySepulchre.•In 614, the Persians invaded Palestine and carried off the precious relic. In 629,Emperor Heraclitus of Constantinople defeated the Persians and brought backthe Sacred Cross to Jerusalem.
Constantine• 312-Constantine became the Emperor of Rome.• 313 issued Edict of Milan, granting freedom of worship to Christians in the Roman Empire.• He converted to Christianity at his death bed.• Historians differ greatly in their assessments of Constantines motives and the depth of his Christian conviction. Early Christian writers portray him as a devout convert, although they have difficulty explaining his execution in 320 (on adultery charges) of Crispus, his son by his first wife, and Fausta, his wife.
Constantine• Defeated his rival emperor of the east after they shared power for a while. He tried to unite the empire but because Rome was run-down, many people lived in crumbling slums, he moved to the eastern part of the empire Byzantium later called Constantinople which became the new center of the empire.• Helped built Christian churches in Rome and Palestine and exempted the clergy from paying taxes
Constantine• Some later historians see him as a political genius, expediently using Christianity to unify his empire. An intermediate interpretation pictures him as a pagan gradually converted to Christianity (he was baptized on his deathbed), using his new belief for personal ends much as earlier emperors had used the imperial cult.• He began to interfere in church matters and because the church is indebted for the good favor he has done, they were not inclined to resist his influence.
Division of the EmpireImperial Division• 3rd Century- Roman Empire was divided into two sections- Eastern and Western.• Constantine united Rome but made Constantinople (Now Istanbul –Turkey) the capital of the Roman Empire.• Eastern section – Constantinople- Greek• Western- Rome -Latin
Of f icial religion of the empire• Emperor Theodusius declared paganism illegal and made Christianity the official religion of the empire in 380.• Bishops ranked high in public life, some of them holding civil position as judges. The church was also given lands and the revenues from these properties were to be used for the upkeep of the church.• By 500, only Christians were allowed to served in the army.
Early Monasticism• With the legitimacy of Christianity in the empire and clergy were given positions, prestige and power, possibility of martyrdom was a thing in the past. This made many Christians live a complacent life but some lay men and women longed for a way to be authentically Christlike, moved from the cities to the wilderness as a way of rejecting the complacency.• They embraced ascetic lifestyle- solitary lifestyle, self-renunciation and self-denial by fasting, wearing coarse clothes, celibacy and long prayers contemplating and serving others as a way to love God.
Early Monasticism• 270 Anthony of Egypt. He was moved with the story from the Gospel of Luke about the rich young man. Sold everything that he had and moved to the desert when he was still a young man. He is known for his confrontations with the demons, healing acts and wise teachings.• 329 b. Basil the Great of Cappadocia, the monk who created the basic Rule for the Eastern Orthodox monks that is still in use today. Basil taught communal monasticism that serves the poor, sick, and needy.• 335 b. Martin of Tours, a great monk who is famous for his compassion for the poor• 346 d. Pachomius – the organizer of Monastic communities• 347 b. Jerome, monk, the great Bible scholar and translator, author of the Vulgate
Early Monasticism• 396 Augustine was named the Christian bishop of Hippo (Annaba, Algeria) and devoted the remaining decades of his life to the formation of an ascetic religious community. Born to a Christian mother and pagan father at Tagaste in North Africa, he was a confirmed Manichaean during his early years as a student and teacher of rhetoric at Carthage and Rome. But in Milan, during his early thirties, he began to study Neoplatonic philosophy under the guidance of Ambrose and eventually converted to Christianity. An account of his early life and conversion, together with a reasoned defense of his Neoplatonic principles, may be found in the Confessiones (Confessions) (401).
Budding problemsHeresies (False Teachings)• Marcionism- (Marcion -85-160)Rejected the OT scriptures claiming that God who created the material world was not spirit, but the demigod.• Docetism- Jesus as pure man could have had a material body of flesh. His death at the cross were not real.• Donatism- (from bishop Donatus) Internal challenge about the the purity of membership in the church. Should apostates (those who renounced their faith to save thrie lives) be allowed within the church?• Pelagism – (from bishop Pelagius) A person could get to heaven without the special inner help (grace) of God, it’s a matter of working hard enough and achieving it through one’s own effort.
Budding problemsGnosticism/ Maniecheanism• Involved dualistic mythology: – Spirit was good, matter was evil. – Material world was ruled by the demigod (devil, satan, a being subordinate to God). – Taught denial of the world by separating the world from heaven, and advocated asceticism, celibacy and bodily discipline. (Augustine of Hippo was a Manichean before his conversion)• Gnosticism – denies that Jesus was a human; it teaches that Jesus human form was just an apparition. He is divine but not human. (Gnosticism shaped Christian doctrines)
Arianism• Arianism- Started by Arius, a leader of a Christian congregation in Alexandria. “Claimed that Jesus the son of God was subordinate to the father, hence he was not of the same status as God” Christ was created, God was not.• A great thinker and leader Athanasius was forceful in opposing Arian: “the Word of God had became man so that you might learn from a man to how a man may become God.” Jesus is related to God as brightness to light. Jesus was of the same substance as the father, possessing the same divine nature.
Arianism• 340 Ulfilas converted to Arian Christianity. He takes it to the Germanic tribes, gives them an alphabet, and translates the Bible into their language. Most of the Germanic tribes became Arian Christians• 353 Emperor Constantius releases his pro- Arian campaign and drives Athanasius from Alexandria• 361-363 Reign of Julian the Apostate, who converted from Christianity to paganism and restored paganism in Rome• 361 Julian the Apostate removes the restrictions against the Donatists
The Christian Creed• Many controversies existing in Rome about the nature of Jesus and his relationship to God.• These were the threat to the church.• The church needed to compose a profession of faith – the creed that can be used by all Christians in worship and baptism.• The creed was to define who Jesus was and his relationship with God.
The Council of Nicaea and Council of Chalcedon• A council was convened at Nicaea in 325 CE by Constantine to unite Christians.• The product was the Nicene Creed that rejected Arian beliefs about Jesus.• Council of Chalcedea in 451 CE• A council convened to resolve controversy over the nature of Jesus and relationship with God.• Declared that Jesus had two natures 1. Perfectly divine, 2. Perfectly human.• By 392, Emperor Theodosius had outlawed Arianism along with paganism. Arianism continued to grow outside the empire among the barbarians who had been taught by missionaries from Constantinople years.
Church Fathers and Great Thinkers• 328 Athanasius, when elected a bishop of Alexandria was constantly harrassed by Arian bishops from the East.• 339 b. Ambrose the Churchman, who fought Arianism and the revival of paganism, and promoted the power of the Church. Mid-300 Ambrose, an unbaptized governor of Milan was chosen by people to be the Bishop of Milan. He was just there to pacify the tension among the angry people when the emperor decided that an Arian bishop should be elected, when the people shouted his name to be the bishop. He dissuaded the people, fled the scene and hid. But people found him and persuaded him to be the bishop. He was baptized, confirmed, given the Eucharist and ordained bishop. He was an experienced administrator but he realized that his career as lawyer and governor was not an ideal preparation for his new role as spiritual leader. Thus he began his life long study of Christianity
Church Fathers and Great Thinkers• 345 b. John Chrysostom, "Golden Mouthed." He was a bold and reforming preacher, who used the Historical- grammatical method of exegesis. This was unusual, because exegetes had been looking at the allegorical interpretation ever since Clement of Alexandria and Origen• 367 A letter of Athanasius names the 66 books of the canon• 381 Council of Constantinople. The Nicene position becomes dominant again, and the legal religion of the Empire. Jesus Christ is truly human, contrary to Apollinarianism, which held that Jesus had a human body but a divine mind. The Great Cappadocians are the inspiration behind the defeat of Arianism at this council. They are St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzus
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (Bar bar ian I nvasion)• Momentous changes occurred both in the church and in the political structure of the West during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. The Western Roman Empire disappeared under the repeated assaults of the German barbarian tribes on its northern frontier.• The fourth century saw hordes of savage tribes pouring in, killing, burning and pillaging everywhere: Visigoths, Huns, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Burgundians, Franks. Wave after wave, they came in seemingly endless attacks in Germany, Gaul (modern France), Italy, Roman Africa and Spain.
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (Bar bar ian I nvasion)• 400 The Barbarians were north European populations. They began to migrate southward looking for new settlements, exercising an ever increasing pressure on the Roman Empire and eventually brought it to complete ruin.• 410 The Visigoths were the first barbarians to defeat the Roman Army. After breaking through the northern borders, they sacked Rome and left it in ruins However, showing great respect to the church, they spared the lives of those who took refuge inside the basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul.• 429 The Vandals made wars throughout France and Spain, inflicting destruction and massacres. Eventually, they extended their cruel dominion over northern Africa. St. Augustine died while the vandals were laying siege to the city of Hippo.• 452 The Huns, the most terrible barbarians, who invaded and plundered the empire. When Attila, feared as The Scourge of God, was on the point of attacking Rome, Pope Leo the Great challenged him with a cross and persuaded him to return to his country.
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (Bar bar ian I nvasion)• Leo the Great – redefined the role of the Pope from being a ‘father’ to becoming the ‘Supreme Pontiff’ which means highest bridge maker. He argued that all popes are apostolic successors to Peter, the “Rock” on which Jesus church was to be build. He was also a peace maker as was scene with his confrontation with Attila.• In A.D. 476, Barbarian forces led by the Germanic general Odoacer deposed the last emperor of the West Roman Empire. Many historians use this date to mark the end of the Roman Empire in the West and start of the Middle Ages. During the Medieval Church, the influence and power of the church reached their peak. During this period, Christianity replaced Roman Empire as the unifying force in Western Europe. The collapse of the West Roman Empire meant that no one power had political control in the west. Instead, all of Western Europe except Ireland came to be ruled by Barbarian Kings, who were either Arians or non-Christians.
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (Bar bar ian I nvasion)• 568 The Longobards made bloody raids throughout Italy, bringing along famine and deadly pestilence. During a penitential procession, which Pope Gregory the Great organized to beg mercy from the Lord, the people of Rome saw on top of Castel Sant ‘Angelo a shining angel sheating his sword, signifying that the pestilence was about to finish.• During these troublesome years, the church devoted herself to protect the people and to evangelize the Barbarians. Eventually, they were converted to Jesus Christ and purified their culture from brutality and cruelty.
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (Bar bar ian I nvasion)• The bishop of Rome, whose leadership in the church had been largely a primacy of honour, now claimed supreme and universal authority in Christian lands, and began to make good this claim in the West, at least over the church. By the time of Pope Gregory I (590-604) the collapse of the Western Empire left the Roman bishop the real ruler of much of central Italy. He sent missionaries to convert England.
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (Bar bar ian Conver sion)• 604 Pope Gregory the Great – During the Lombard invasion of Italy, he organized charitable relief and military resistance. Among his greatest successes are the conversion of the Barbarians (with the effort of missionaries he sent) and the reformation of the Church’s liturgy and music with his divine Gregorian Chant.• The conversion of the new and savage races which enter the theatre of history at the threshold of the early middle ages, was the great work of the Christian church from the sixth to the tenth century.
Gr owt h of Monast icism• Monasticism, like the early centuries, was counter-cultural to its era which attracted many lay people. The growth of monasticism played a large part in the increasing influence of the church. Monasticism created centers of Christian society, renewed the spiritual life of religious communities, and helped transform a dying Western culture into a Christian civilization.• Books and education became luxuries only the rich could afford. The vast majority of people grew up illiterate. The people of the Middle Ages, like their barbarian forefathers, were hunters, farmers, and warriors, not businessmen or scholars. Surrounded by such poverty and ignorance, Christian monasteries offered some security, a modest education (or better), an opportunity to serve God, and the hope of eternal life. One of the oldest monastic orders, which served as God’s flickering light in the dark ages in western Europe is the Benedictines—named for their founder, St. Benedict.
Gr owt h of Monast icism• In the early 500’s, Saint Benedict of Nursia founded Benedictine monasticism. The Benedictine Rule was both moderate and humane in setting forth how its followers should live. These qualities influenced the rule of many later orders. Monastic life shifted to formal spiritual supervision. Monasteries were set up, rules formulated to help monks persevere their calling• Benedictine monks owned nothing, except in common with the other monks. Benedict required that they give all of their property to the poor or to the monastery when they entered. In this respect, Benedict patterned his monasteries after the 1st century Christian church described in Acts. Clothing was simple. Prayer was frequent. See Acts 2:44-45• And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Gr owt h of Monast icism• Benedict stressed that his monks should strive for Christian perfection, to be kind to the poor and the sick; to love their enemies and endure injuries without complaint; and to always remember the mercy of God. He decreed that hospitality was to be shown to all: "All guests who come shall be received as though they were Christ."• This is Benedicts legacy, he established Rules such as poverty, chastity, obedience and that each monastery should be self sufficient through monks labor. Ora et Labora was their spirituality.
The Dar k Ages/ Ear ly Middle Ages (500-1000) (PAPACY)• The papacy gradually replaced the empire as the centre of authority in Western Europe. Ireland has been converted to Christianity in the 400’s, mainly through the efforts of St. Patrick. In 496, the King of the Franks, Clovis I, was converted. His conversion brought Gaul into the church and checked the spread of the Arian heresy there. Gaul was a huge region now occupied by Belgium, France and part of Western Germany. From the 500’s to the 700’s, the papacy directed the conversion of other peoples of the West. These peoples included the Visigoths in Spain, the Anglo-Saxons in England, and the Croats and Magyars in Central Europe.• 753 when Rome was threatened with Lombards, the pope appealed to Pepin in Gaul for protection. Not only did Pepin drive off the Lombards, he gave the pope territory known as Papal state with the pope as ruler or king. Which later caused tension among imperial rulers who were supposedly protecting the territory and the Byzantine who claim that part of the territory were theirs.• 9th century, pope instituted as having hierarchical authority over the church, the church over the society as a means of transmitting inspiration from divine to humanity.
Charlemagne• "By the sword and the cross," Charlemagne (Charles the Great) became master of Western Europe. It was falling into decay when Charlemagne became joint king of the Franks in 768. Except in the monasteries, people had all but forgotten education and the arts. Boldly Charlemagne conquered barbarians and kings alike. By restoring the roots of learning and order, he preserved many political rights and revived culture.• In 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish ruler Charlemagne emperor of the Romans. Charlemagne united much of the Western Europe. He wanted to restore the stability of the roman rule in an empire built on the Christian faith. During his reign, he laid a foundation for the organized, civilized society later built in Western Europe. This foundation resulted from the ideals that Charlemagne pursued- orderly Government, religious reform, and the expansion of the Christian world through conquest and missionary activity. He emphasize the importance of education though uneducated himself.• A surprising event, began a new era, supposedly a return to the “glory days” of the old empire.
Charlemagne• During his 43-year reign Charlemagne proved himself a brilliant military strategist and administrator, promoting art and education while waging war and triumph to Saxony to the Mediterranean, The Lombard War (773-775) which freed the papacy; the Spanish War (778-801) where he defeated the Muslims; the conquest of Bavaria (787-788); the conquest of the Avars (791-801); the Byzantine War (802-812);• Known for his piety as well as his brutality (he once beheaded more than 4,000 Saxons in one day), Missionaries were sent to the Saxons so that the conquered people could be instructed in their new faith. He had thirty-year effort to subdue the Saxons and forced those whom he conquered to become Christians.• Charlemagne united most of Europe and created a period of relative order during the otherwise tumultuous Middle Ages.
Charlemagne• Charlemagne was not only a military man and ruler but also a reformer of both church and society.• Though his intentions were the best, Charlemagne began a practice that was to be a bitter thorn to the church, that is called the lay- investiture (power of emperors to invest and appoint churchmen) . He took authority over religious affairs such as the choice of new bishops and worship regulations. He requested that Alcuin reform and unify the peoples diverse liturgical practices. The Apostles Creed was one element that was added. Charles also appointed bishops and called church councils. He built up a hierarchical church order with archbishops at the head of sees who supervised the bishops who, in turn, watched over their provinces.• Pope Hadrian I (772-795) ended the Wests formal acknowledgement of the rule of the emperor in Constantinople. He treated Charlemagne as the lay head of Christianity, which seemed very much in line with Charles history of being both an effective military conqueror and church and social reformer.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)• 988 Conversion of Russia begins. We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendour or beauty anywhere upon earth. We cannot describe it to you: only this we know, that God dwells there among men, and that their service surpasses the worship of all other places. For we cannot forget that beauty. - Envoys of the Russian Prince Vladimir, after experiencing the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in the year 987.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)• The Christianization of the Kelts, Teutons, and Slavonians was at the same time a process of civilization, and differed in this respect entirely from the conversion of the Jews, Greeks, and Romans in the preceding age. Christian missionaries laid the foundation for the alphabet, literature, agriculture, laws, and arts of the nations of Northern and Western Europe, as they now do among the heathen nations in Asia and Africa.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)• The mediaeval Christianization was a wholesale conversion, or a conversion of nations under the command of their leaders. It was carried on not only by missionaries and by spiritual means, but also by political influence, alliances of heathen princes with Christian wives, and in some cases (as the baptism of the Saxons under Charlemagne) by military force.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)•The barbarians, owing to the weakness of theirheathen religion, readily submitted to the newreligion; but some tribes yielded only to the sword ofthe conqueror. This superficial, wholesaleconversion to a nominal Christianity must beregarded in the light of a national infant-baptism. Itfurnished the basis for a long process of Christianeducation. The barbarians were children inknowledge, and had to be treated like children.Christianity, assumed the form of a new law leadingthem, as a schoolmaster, to the manhood of Christ.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)•The missionaries of the middle ages were nearly allmonks. They were generally men of limitededucation and narrow views, but devoted zeal andheroic self-denial. Accustomed to primitive simplicityof life, detached from all earthly ties, trained to allsorts of privations, ready for any amount of labor,and commanding attention and veneration by theirunusual habits, their celibacy, fastings and constantdevotions, they were upon the whole the bestpioneers of Christianity and civilization among thesavage races of Northern and Western Europe.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)•The lives of these missionaries are surrounded bytheir biographers with such a halo of legends andmiracles, that it is almost impossible to sift fact fromfiction. Many of these miracles no doubt wereproducts of fancy or fraud; but it would be rash todeny them all.• The same reason which made miracles necessaryin the first introduction of Christianity, may havedemanded them among barbarians before they werecapable of appreciating the higher moral evidences.
The middle Ages (The Medieval Chur ch)•Thus, Christianity may have won relatively quickacceptance because it served as a catalyst incultural rebuilding. Rather than being adestructive threat, Christianity had become a friendto the barbarians culture. It was thus something tobe embraced rather than fought against.
Gr owt h of Monast icismMonastery of Cluny• The great Benedictine monastery of was founded around 910 by Duke William of Aquitaine with St. Berno as its first abbot. William wanted this monastery to be free or exempt from any noble, royal or ecclesiastical control except that of the Pope. He wanted this monastery to pray for him and his family, but he was also making penance for a murder he committed; in the Middle Ages, nobles would sometimes make penance by founding a monastery and continuing as its benefactor. Also, royals and nobles would found monasteries to have the monks or nuns to pray for them and their families. Some of these monasteries became the burial places of their benefactors.
Gr owt h of Monast icismMonastery of Cluny• It came under the protection of the pope. William also established the independence of the monastery from all temporal rulers, religious or secular, and allowed the monks to elect the abbot. These liberties enabled the community to develop its emphasis on the liturgy and prayers for the dead, which inspired a reputation for holiness and attracted numerous benefactors. Cluniac monks were sent to reform monasteries throughout Europe and created a great web of related communities. Clunys influence on the church in the 11th – 12th century has been widely recognized, and its abbots were greatly esteemed.• Benedictines do not form an order (like Dominican or Franciscans); each Abbey or monastery is independent, and the Abbot owes his obedience directly to the Pope. Cluny was an irony to the Rule of Benedict, authority was highly centralized.• Another irony was, the Cluniacs emphasized liturgy too much; indeed, they had continuous liturgy going on in their church. Because of this, the monks needed help to take care of raising food, the buildings, and other necessities. They used servants or had lay brothers who did all the manual work.
Medieval R oman Catholicism (other events)• In the year 500, Justin the last strong emperor of Byzantine Empire constructed the grandest church buildings of all time. Passed the Justinian Law, a civil law with Christian orientation on protection of women and children against slavery and discrimination. But the law was also based on the customs of the time like the primitive punishments. Like other rulers, who believed that he is responsible for the state religion, he persecuted Jews, non-Christians and heretics. Jews were forced into money lending occupation.• 6th-10th Century, as the Old Roman Empire fell to non- Christians (Barbarians), a new threat to the empire was rising: Islam also advanced in areas previously dominated by Christianity.• 800-1000: invasions of the Magyars from the east, Muslims from the south, and Vikings from the north struck western Europe; Arabs took Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, North Africa and part of Spain.
East & West Dif f erencesChurch Differences• But some Christians continued to view Rome as the seat of Christianity.• In the East, Christianity was organized into sees with Bishops as leaders• In the West- although they had Bishops, power was centralized around the Bishop of Rome eventually claiming universal authority in the church as the successor of Peter the “rock”.
East & West Dif f erences• The East refused to recognize Pope’s claims to universal authority over the church.• Doctrinal differences: between the east and west.1. the source of the Holy Spirit.• East- Holy spirit came from ONLY the father.• West- the Holy Spirit came from the father and the son.2. West- Celibacy of priests• East- Celibacy for Bishops only3.Eucharist bread- Leavened or unleavened?• 1054- leaders of the Eastern and Western factions excommunicated each other over these issues.4. West’s 1095-1290 “Holy crusades” bent to recapture the holy land of Palestine from Muslims and to defend Christianity from the Byzantine (Eastern) Influence.
Rise of Feudalism (850- 100)• The Roman Empire became decentralized into feudal kingdoms with Christianity as the major uniting force.• 8th Century, Papal approval was sought as a way of conferring divine sanction on feudal Kings.
Rise of Feudalism (850- 100)• The Renaissance of the Church was short lived. Partly due to the advance of Islam, trade declined, money practically disappeared and the only source and expression of wealth was now land. This gave rise to the Feudal System. The empire fell apart into pieces of land, which was divided among ‘lords’, who made all kinds of alliances and kept declaring war among themselves.
Rise of Feudalism (850- 100)• As the Roman Empire crumbled, for safety and for defense, people in the Middle Ages formed small communities around a central lord or master. Most people lived on a manor, which consisted of the castle, the church, the village, and the surrounding farm land. These manors were isolated, with occasional visits from peddlers, pilgrims on their way to the Crusades, or soldiers from other fiefdoms.• In this "feudal" system, the king/emperor awarded land grants or "fiefs" to his most important nobles, his barons, and his bishops, in return for their loyalty in contributing soldiers for the kings armies.• Since peasants could no longer count on the Roman army to protect them from German, Viking and Magyar tribes who overran homes and farms throughout Europe, the peasants turned to the landowners, often called lords, to protect them. They were called ‘serf’, the lowest echelon of society, a serf was bound to the land. He could not leave without buying his freedom. Life for a serf was not much better than the life of a slave. The only difference was that a serf could not be sold to another manor.• Serfs would often have to work three or four days a week for the lord as rent. They would spend the rest of their week growing crops to feed their families. Other serfs worked as sharecroppers. A sharecropper would be required to turn over most of what he grew in order to be able to live on the land.
Feudal System• Bishops became feudal lords and participated in the constant and complicated intrigues and warfare. Church became the largest landowner in Europe. One monastery in Germany had enough land to support fifteen thousand manors and a French bishop at Tours ruled about twenty thousand serfs.• In the perilous world of feudal times, people had a keen sense that their destiny lay with God. With no control over diseases and plagues, when marauding bands could attack at any time, when one bad harvest could mean starvation, when the local lord could march men off to war at will, people looked to God for mercy and help. Serfs and vassals could only hope that their rulers, who had absolute authority over them would take Jesus’ commands to act justly and charitably.