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Tanya Marchun     Global  Christianity   Paper       In the early medieval period, there were many changes taking place within Christianity

and the world. The Roman Empire was coming to an end, which lead to the Merovingian dynasty. The Merovingian’s tried to develop a centralized government but was not successful. This dynasty had many internal struggles which lead them to turn their power over to Charles Martel. Martel was a major landowner of that region. Martel renamed the dynasty the Carolingians. The Carolingian dynasty had a very good relationship with the Catholic Church. Martel’s son Pippin III was made King. During his kingship he acquired Lombard land and donated some of it to Saint Peter. This was the beginning of the Papal State which is the territory the popes governed until Italy was unified as a single state. An example of this today is the Vatican City in Rome. Pippin’s son, Charlemagne became one of the most influential Carolingian rulers. Charlemagne created a large Christian empire during his reign. “During his long reign he had significant impact on the development of Christian worship by imposing the liturgical practices of Rome throughout his empire (Cory and Hollerich, 237).” His empire was known as the Holy Roman Empire because of its close association with the church. Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious continued church reform. Most importantly Louis made the Rule of Benedict an important organizational tool for monks and nuns to follow. A constant conflict with his sons, and a civil war after Louis’ death caused a turn in the Carolingian empire. The Treaty of Verdun in 843 split the empire into the early part of the tenth century. However, the empire did have revival under Henry I and Otto I. Because of the help the church received from Otto, he was anointed and crowned emperor. However, there were many conflicts dealing with the control of the church. Even before the time of Henry I and Otto I 1  

Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

monasticism played an important role in Christianity. Some of the most notable monks of the early third and fourth centuries include Anthony of Egypt, Basil of Caesarea, John Cassian and Benedict of Nursia. Anthony of Egypt lived as a hermit in Egypt in the desert. Basil of Caesarea was known as the Father of Eastern Monasticism. The communities he developed were close to large cities and areas where monks could provide community services for people in need. John Cassian was known as the Father of Western Monasticism. He wrote important writings that lead to the beginning of change in northern Europe. Benedict of Nursia was influential in monasticism because he created the Rule for Monasteries. Benedictine monasticism became the primary monastic life in the West. The monasteries took on large functions such as teaching, trade and health care. Many rules were made to attempt to control the monasteries. Many landlords deeded their land out to the monks to build their monasteries. This made the monasteries become part of the feudal system. Lay investitures created more problems for monasteries. The emperor took it upon himself to select bishops and abbots along with other church officials. This was not what the monks wanted they wanted the power to choose their own bishops and abbots instead of the King choosing for them. The decline of monasticism began with the founding of a new Benedictine Monastery at Cluny in 910. This monastery was strict in following Benedict’s Rule of Monasteries which also led to the idea that the pope in Rome was the only one who ought to have authority over clergy. The Cluny reformers were against concubinage which is the celibacy of monks and other clergy within the church. The Catholic Church still requires celibacy today.


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

During this time the church leadership was developing differently in the East and West of the Empire. In the East the emperor had the authority and in the West the pope and bishops had authority. Pope Gregory I was influential mostly with his missionary outreach. “His most important accomplishment was to direct Augustine of Canterbury to undertake a missionary tour to the British Isle to preach the Christian message to the pagan Anglo-Saxons, who had migrated there from northern Germany (Cory and Hollerich, 242).” Pope Gregory VII was also influential to Christianity. He attacked three issues: simony, clerical concubinage and lay investitures. Gregory VII attacked these issues primarily to reform the church back to its original state. Henry IV created controversy between himself and Pope Gregory VII which lead to Henry being excommunicated twice. It was not until the Concordat of Worms that the emperor would not claim or appoint bishops. Now the clergy of the church was responsible for that choice. Gregory’s reform helped change the idea of church and state throughout history. An attempt to standardize worship with the Roman Rite, during the Carolingian Empire also had influence on artistic creativity. Prayers needed to be copied and the manuscripts they were copied into were also decorated with designs and pictures. The clothing worn by priests and clergy also required weaving, embroidery, and dying. Metal and stone workers made special book covers and other important works used throughout the church. Charlemagne also attempted to unify the church through music which is where the Gregorian chant became important. Because of the development of liturgical music, notation systems were also developed. This advanced musical art allowed for more people to participate in the singing.


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

Some important theological figures include Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Symeon the New Theologian and Anselm of Canterbury. These theologians preserved the thought of the early church fathers through sermons, writings and citations among other things. Theologians also placed more trust in human reasons. During the high Middle Ages the merging of Christianity and culture became known as Christendom. “The medieval church ran schools, licensed universities, owned and farmed land, tried to control fighting and violence and bring stability and discipline to economic life, rebuked kings and emperors and engaged in its own diplomacy and politics, cared for the poor and the sick, and exercised legal control over issues relating to marriage, family and inheritance (Cory and Hollerich, 253).” This time in Christianity was an enormous up rise for the monasteries. The monks were the centers of Christianity. They held the manuscripts and they had the ability to help take care of people in the community when others could not. Both Eastern and Western monasticism were influential to even a larger push of the monastic life in early 1000 A.D. The Gregorian reform was influential in creating papal supremacy. In 1008 monks moved to Citeaux and created a new monastic croup called the Cistercians. The Cistercians and Saint Bernard of Clarivaux were important in the involvement of European lifestyle changes. Some of those changes in Europe included expansion, industrial, population, economic and social/cultural changes. There were also political orders forming. While these changes take place there were also changes within the church and monastic life as well. As previously stated, monks were offering many services to communities but with the new changes in European life, these services were able to be offered by other people and businesses. So the monks created a new order separating them from society but they still wanted to minister to the communities


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

during the constant changes. This created a growth of Mendicant religious orders and friars that only supported themselves by the things they could get form the public. By the end of the 11th century almost all of Europe was Christian. This time period also marked important parts within Christianity. Holy wars also known as crusades were taking place. Many believed that the killing one had done within a crusade was a form of penance. The crusades were often taken to recapture Jerusalem from whoever had it in their power. During the time of the crusades, there was also a reform in the papacy which was to try to bring together the Eastern and Western Christian churches. Pope Innocent III had a lot of power over the King of England. However, he did know that there was a distinction between the church and state. Just like many of the previous and following popes, Innocent also had some policies that worked better than others. Innocent also had important development within the church such as the importance of the Fourth Lateran Council. “This council pressured the clergy to fulfill their pastoral duties of preaching, saying Mass, and hearing confession (Cory & Hollerich, 259).” This also leads to the development of the dogma of transubstantiation. This is when an ordained priest consecrates the bread and wine after which it becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Innocent also did a great service to the church by endorsing Francis of Assisi and his order of friars. Francis and his order developed a rule that allowed them to stay within the religious orders and allowed the Franciscans along with the Dominicans to become very popular. Two very fundamental saints were Saint Francis and Saint Dominic. They were really the creators of the Franciscan and Dominican monastic lifestyles. They are both important because they both influence monastic life in different ways. Saint Francis is often called the second Christ because of how Christ-like he was. Francis claimed that the material world was


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

good because God made it. Francis is also often associated with nature, truth and beauty. Francis was the first to set up a manger scene to visually represent what God sacrificed for humanity. The manger scene went along with the larger change and emphasis upon Jesus’ humanity which was represented most notably by his birth and death. Francis also received the stigmata, which are the five wounds of Christ. During this time Christian art was changing as well. While in years earlier, people were hanging simple crosses that changed to show the humanity of Christ. The incarnated Christ was represented during his crucifixion. Francis helped bring more recognition to Jesus’ beginning of His life and end of His life. Franciscan monks emphasize that Christian life cannot be lived apart from the church. Saint Dominic, Dominic Guzman, stressed poverty but also preaching as most important to the Dominican order. They use their words and examples to teach and help people. They also developed a stronger organizational structure. The Dominicans also place significant importance on intellectual life and development. Dominican monks used doctrine to help them preach. “The Dominicans were further distinguished by the emphasis on preaching against heresy, which led them more quickly to the new universities and to a mission more directly identified with study. For this reason they are called the Order of Preachers (Cory & Hollerich, 262).” The hearts of the masses of people were reached through Francis and the minds of the masses by Dominic. The church also defined the seven sacraments. “When properly performed for a recipient who was open to its action, the sacrament became the visible means of transmitting the invisible reality called grace, God’s gift of his own presence (Cory & Hollerich, 264).” The seven sacraments include baptism, communion, reconciliation, conformation, marriage, Holy Orders


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

and Anointing of the Sick. Among these sacraments were also the development of other dogma such as the communion of saints, purgatory, mortal sin and devotion to Mary. The church believes that holiness is what every Christian is called to. Therefore, because of lack of funds many people were not able to go to different countries on pilgrimages. So the church developed other practices of praying and devoting ones’ self. Through the rosary is one way, which was said to be given to St. Dominic by the Virgin Mary. This is a form of meditation over the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of Jesus’ life. Another practice includes the fourteen Stations of the Cross which allowed people who could not travel to Jerusalem to take part in Jesus’ passion and follow his footsteps. Instead of physically traveling a person could go into a church and pray and meditate with the Stations of the Cross. During this time people were returning from the crusades and many of the changes in European culture made it a prime time for a rise in intellectual thinking. Eastern Christians also influenced this intellectual change with philosophical works from Aristotle among others such as Avicenna, Averroes, and Moses Maimonides being translated into Latin. The new challenge in the church was to integrate the ideas and positions of these philosophers into Christian thinking. With this, Christian theology became an academic subject and was taught by professors for students in school. Christian theology was devoted to scriptures and what was being said about God. But it was also about the deeper meaning behind the scripture and what God is saying through the text. Lectio Divina is the meditative reading of the bible. Years earlier and into this time period, the monasteries were the ones that kept the sacred manuscripts. Monasteries also had schools where they would teach. This idea eventually leads to the bishop’s schools that were connected to cathedrals where grammar, logic, geometry, music, astronomy, rhetoric, and arithmetic were taught. As the schools became more popular and new changes arose the schools


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

in Paris, Oxford and Bologna became the first universities. The university in Bologna was known for the teaching of its civil and canon laws, the university in Montpellier for medicine and university in Paris for theology. This was a huge change within the church as well as outside the church. Many of the Dominican friars were also University teachers most notable among them was Thomas Aquinas. His most important work called the Summa Theologiae has major themes including: natural order, God’s grace, faith and reason, original sin, sacraments and the incarnation of Christ. Aquinas was successful in integrating Aristotle’s ideas into Christian theology. “Aristotle’s ideas were a great challenge to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, because scholars found themselves confronted by a non-Christian, non-Jewish, and non-Muslim account of reality that seemed more complete, more sophisticated, and more coherent than their own (Cory & Hollerich, 275).” Scholasticism was useful in this process because it showed how reason could deepen a person’s understanding because of God’s revelation. Revelation opens faith to the fullness of reason and truth of God. Faith and reason are two very essential parts to scholasticism and are never contradictory of each other. What is meant by this is that there can be truths of faith and truths of reason. An example of a truth of faith is the resurrection; it is not entirely provable with reason alone. We have to say that the conclusion of the resurrection comes mostly from faith. On the contrary, an example of a truth of reason is gravity, one does not necessarily need God to show the law of gravity, and it is a natural law. An example of truth of both faith and reason is abortion, which has scientific foundations such as DNA and evidence of human life but it also has foundations in Christian faith and the sixth Commandment that thou shall not kill.


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae created a different way of thinking for Christians. People were beginning to ask difficult questions but they were able to analyze the information better. Aquinas’ work was very influential. His five proofs of God’s existence were in response to the many changes that Christianity was facing with the incoming philosophical texts from Aristotle and such. Aquinas’ five proofs were not necessarily an argument against what Aristotle believed or wrote, but Aquinas was able to show how what Aristotle believed, such as metaphysics, also aligned with Christian thinking. God is self-evident to humanity and there is a greater being, which is God, which set everything into motion. This is Aquinas’ basic argument that humanity and Christianity rightly ordered acknowledges that there is one being that is higher than all, that being was the cause of all change, and that humanity must have the faith to let God be present in one’s soul. “Generally, medieval thinkers like Aquinas were more interested in the place of creatures in this hierarchical scheme, and how creatures are directed to and return to God, than in individual creature as such (Cory & Hollerich, 304).” As the time passed more changes began to shape Christianity. The changes such as globalization, nationalism, individualism, democracy, nature and science all lead to the Renaissance movement. The Renaissance period was a time where the emphasis was not on God but on the individual person and what the individual can accomplish. What helped lead the movement was knowledge and how people received that knowledge was through books that were printed on the newly created printing press. This allowed the middle class to own books and it was easier for communication purposes as well. The medieval period was theocentric which was God centered, the Renaissance was anthropocentric which is human centered. “If the medieval ideal was the bishop, priest, pilgrim, or monk, the Renaissance ideal was the educated civic leader, soldier, nobleman, artist, or man of


Tanya Marchun   Global  Christianity   Paper  

affairs, who could speak and reason eloquently and serve the public good (Cory & Hollerich, 311).” Art also changed during the Renaissance. Instead of art being paintings or works that represent God, the paintings or works represented other things. Leonardo da Vinci was very influential with his work of the human anatomy. Many nobles were represented in paintings and sculpture. Map making also became a large art form which also leads to exploration such as Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. The Renaissance period was also a development of education of the classic Greek and Latin languages. Desiderius Erasmus became a very important scholar who published a new edition of the Bible in Greek. He also included his own translations in Latin. His work of translations and comparing Greek manuscripts to the New Testament was major in the development of a vernacular form of the Bible. The Bible was no longer reserved for people who could not read a specific language. This Greek translation started a larger movement that led others to translate the Bible into other languages as well. John Wycliffe also became a very important figure; he is the author of the first English Bible. As the cultural, religious, political, and economic changes occurred a larger push for reform was on its way in the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther and John Calvin were among many who contributed to the enormous change within the church. A reform between the Catholic and Protestant churches takes place and shatters Christendom. These changes bring about a completely different world view, a rise of Protestantism as well as Evangelical and Anti-Baptist churches.


Global Christianity  

Paper I wrote for my Global Christianity class.

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