2Church and Medieval Life During the middle ages the Church’s most important achievement was to Christianize the diverse people of Western Europe. In 597 Pope Gregory 1 sent Augustine to convert the Anglo Saxons of England.People in villages contact with the church came from local priest of the parish. Priests administered sacraments, the sacred rites of the church. Christians believed that faith in Christ and participation in sacraments would lead them to salvation, or an everlasting life with god.Village church was a social center as well as a place of worship. After services, peasants gossiped or danced, although the priest might condemn their rowdy songs or behavior.
3ContinuedVillages took pride in their church buildings and decorated them with care. In later medieval times prosperous communities built stone churches rather than wood ones.Views of Women- Church taught that men and women were equal before god. But on earth women were viewed as “daughters of eve” weak and easily lead to sin. Thus they needed guidance from men. At the same time the church offered a view of an ideal women, as modest pure as Mary, the mother of Jesus. The church tried to protect women by setting a minimum age for marriage. Church courts could fine men if they seriously hurt their wives, yet women would be punished more severely for the exact same offenses.
4Monks and NunsBoth men and women withdrew from worldly life to become monks and nuns. In 530 a monk named Benedict drew a set of rules to regulate monastic life. Under his rules monks and nuns had to follow 3 vows. First, obedience to those who headed the monastery or Covent. Second, was poverty, and the third was chastity, or purity.Life of service- In a world without hospitals or schools, monasteries and convents of provided basic services. Monks and Nuns often looked after the poor and sick and sometimes set up schools for children.
5Power of the Church Grows After the fall of Rome, the church carved out a unique position in Western Europe. Christians gradually became the most powerful force of Medieval Europe.During the middle ages, the pope was the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church. As representatives of Christ on Earth, medieval popes eventually claimed PAPAL SUPREMACY or authority over all secular rulers. The pope himself held vast lands in central Italy called the Papal States.Medieval church developed it’s own body of laws, known as canon law. Anyone who disobeyed church law faced a range of penalties. The most severe and terrifying penalties was EXCOMMUNICATION or people couldn’t receive sacraments or Christian burial. If a powerful noble opposed the church an entire town could face INTERDICT, were no one in that town could receive sacraments or Christian burial.
6Reform MovementsSuccess of the medieval church brought problems. Wealth people sometimes left their wealth to the church after passing. Some clergy lived luxuries and this caused them to ignore the poor. Throughout the middle ages people called for reforms to the church.One reform in the 900’s swept across Europe. Nobles were no longer allowed to interfere with monastery affairs. Second marriage was outlawed for priests and prohibited the selling of church offices. Pope called on Christians to renew their faith. To end secular influence Pope Gregory insisted that the church, not kings or nobles, choose church officials. This policy would spark a bitter battle of will with the German emperor.
7Preaching OrdersOver the centuries, other reform movements battled corruption. In the 1200’s, Francis of Assisi and Dominic took a new approach. They set up FRIARS, monks that traveled around Europe's towns preaching to the poor.Francis left his home to preach the gospel and teach by example.Soon after, Dominic, a Spanish priest set up the Dominican order. His chief goal was to combat heresy by teaching official Roman Catholic beliefs.Women joined the reform movement by creating new religious groups. Most groups only accepted well-born women whose parents would give a dowry, or gift, to the church. These women would help by selling their weavings and embroidery, then help the poor by setting up hospitals and shelters
8Jews in Europe Jewish communities existed across Europe. Jews flourished in Spain, Muslims who had conquered Spain in 711 were tolerant of Jews and Christians.During the middle ages Jews had migrated to other parts of Europe, such as Germany were they were known as “Ashkenazim”. They lived here for centuries in peace.In the late 1000’s, Christian persecution of Jews increased. Many church leaders charged the Jews as responsible for the death of Jesus. As the church grew in power, it issued orders forbidding Jews to own land or practice many occupations.In bad time, ANTISEMITISM, or prejudice against Jews, worsened. When disasters occurred that people didn’t understand such as illness or famine, many Christians blamed Jews. Because of this many Jews will migrate to Eastern Europe.