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HIST 2200 (12)

The Medieval Church

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HIST 2200
Susannah Ferreira

The Medieval Church Monasticism  Background • Developed in Egyptian desert in 2 ndcentury, enthusiastic Christians moved to desert to isolate themselves from worldly distractions, began to band together and form small communities with rules controlling them, one superior person to rule them • St Anthony the Egyptian(251-356) – considered the father of monasticism • Gaul on the other hand was uncivilized, had peasant farmers scattered around the land, peasantry was pagan mainly, monks here were serious about conversion of the people and helping the countryside become Christian • Cassiodorus(485-585)(see earlier notes) 1stwestern monasticist • St Benedict of Nursia(480-547) – father to the monastery in the West, founded Abbey of Monte Casino(524-1944), wrote rule books for monks to structure their lives, established ideals that come to be the hallmark of the monk(poverty, chastity, obedience), • Monasteries were meant to be self-supporting with enough land for themselves, supposed to maintain an orderly life on their own while the world around disintegrates • Ruins left in England and Ireland • Ora et labora – pray and work, motto of the monk, copied manuscripts and books, preserved them for us, English and Irish adopted this after Gregory the Great decreed that the Anglos were to be converted Expansion 6 thto 8thCenturies Christianity was reintroduced to Europe and England after the Barbarian invasions • Boniface (680-755) , Pope not impressed with Christianity under the rule of Charles Martel, it is only there in name, English missionaries sent over, Boniface is consecrated as a bishop to the Germanic lands to convert the people, founded Benedictine monasteries, reformed the Church, went to Frankia after the death of Charles Martel, returned to Germania and insulted by pagans worshipping a holy tree, he attempts to cut it down and is killed • Charles Martel(686-741) – used the religion to his own ends, misuse of the land • 10 and 11 thcenturies, they expanded all over Europe, people accepted the monks , people began to bequeath land to the monasteries, began to develop ties to the laity for protection • All monasteries are Benedictine, becoming sloppy and falling into decadence Reforms • Attempts in 10 thcentury to reform • Monastary of Cluny, founded in 910 by Duke William of Aquitaine 1. Different because it didn’t hold land that required people to pay dues and services to some overlord in the feudal system 2. Would only accept free non conditional gifts 3. Charter stated that monks had to be free to elect the abbot, no outside influence by the local lord 4. Directly under the papacy, meant no interference from the laity unlike the Benedictines 5. Very strict but wild imaginations of the monks, Cluniac tradition of wild and fantastic artistic works in carvings and books for example 6. Developed strict system of centralization to limit other groups trying to claim they were Cluniac, all Cluniac monasteries had one abbot above all(the Abbot of Cluny) 7. Spread rapidly with high level of discipline, soon there is an empire of Cluniac monasteries • Cistercians(Citeaux) 1. New order of monks, 1145 there was 6 orders, expansion over 100 years from 1 group 2. Very widespread, more than Cluniacs 3. Founders were Robert of Molesme, Alberic, Stephen Harding 4. Robert was discouraged due to lack of reforms, left his monastery with 6 men and founded new one at Citeaux, eventually returned home 5. Citeaux continued under the others, 1109 Harding became Abbot, very enthusiastic and helped it expand 6. 1113, young nobleman from Burgundy named Bernard of Clairvaux(1090-1153), came with 30 friends, 1116 he became Abbot of a daughter house at Clairvaux till his death in ’53, dominant figure in the Church, almost a fanatic with no doubt in his own knowledge(always thought he was right), persecuted his enemies, with his monks he was gentle and kind with practical sense a. Offered to give advice on public matters, advisor to King Louis VII, founded the Knights Templar b. Was a mystic, thought the soul had to go through four levels of being to be with God 7. Expanded rapidly, resulted because of Bernard and his leadership, 1115 →5 houses, 1153 →343 houses, end of the 13 thcentu
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