Clergy in the Middle Ages

Medieval man was deeply convinced that the most important thing in his life was a relationship with God, and care for the salvation of the souls of Christians was just the responsibility of the clergy. Therefore, an exceptionally important, much more weighty, than fulfilling any other duties, was God’s belonging to a spiritual dignity.

The Christian clergy was divided into white and black. To the white clergy belonged bishops and priests who provided the religious needs of the laity: they ruled the Mass, performed church ordinances. The core of everyday church life in Western Europe was Parafia, which united residents of several villages or city quarters. Paraphy was led by a priest. His assistants could be clergymen of the lowest rank. Parafia was subject to a diocese led by a bishop. Several dioceses united in the Archbishopric. On the church and the needs of the clergy, the faithful paid a tenth of the income – the Tithe.

The Christian church had a certain

hierarchical structure. At the top of the church pyramid was the Pope. The second, after the pope, was occupied by the archbishops in the church hierarchy. Behind them – the bishops, a step below – the abbots, and even lower – the priests.

Monks or hermits belonged to the black clergy. The first hermits appeared in the third century. in Egypt, and the ideological inspirer of the monastic life is Saint Anthony. The monks lived in deserts and caves. They severely restricted themselves in food, refused rich clothes, avoided human society. In this way, the hermits, as if renouncing all worldly things, devoting their lives to the service of God. Over time, the life of the monks has changed somewhat. The first monasteries appeared – male and female. The word “monastery” in Greek means “secluded housing”. However, the monks lived not only alone, but also communities.

Monks and nuns at work and prayer. Medieval miniatures

VI century. From the statute of St. Benedict of monastic life

Especially decisively it is necessary to root out from the monastery

the thirst for property, so that no one has the right to have nothing to either give or take, have nothing own, no thing, no book, no board, no slate, absolutely nothing: because none of the brothers is no longer has in his property no body of his own, or his own will.

I think that it will be enough to offer two dishes at all meals, and if you manage to get fruits or vegetables, then this third dish should also be served. From the meat of the quadrupeds, all should refrain, except for the sick.

The monastery needs to be organized so that everything you need: water, a mill, a garden, a bakery, different workshops – were in the monastery territory so that the monks did not have to go outside its walls, because it is not very useful for their souls.

The monastery was an economy with a closed cycle, completely self-supporting. Monks themselves cultivated the land, cultivated gardens and vineyards, built mills, manufactured tools. Their achievements were used by feudal lords and peasants in their farms. Monasteries quickly riches at the expense of generous gifts and donations of pious people. Therefore, during the VIII – X centuries. many monasteries turned into peculiar feudal lords, serviced by dependent peasants.

However, life in the monastery was not as calm and pious as it might seem at first glance. Here they accepted kings and noble lords, arranged feasts and hunting. In monasteries, people, persecuted by the authorities, adventurers, beggars, cripples, could also find shelter.

Monasteries made a significant contribution to the development of medieval education and science. Many able monks changed the plow and hoe to the stylet and stylus. At the turn of the VI-VII centuries. at the monasteries, special workshops for scripting, designing and creating books arose. After all, in medieval society, the book was considered a huge value. Books were kept as real jewels in monastery libraries. In some places monasteries opened schools. Often the monasteries were the haven of talented, thinking people, in their thoughts and actions ahead of the usual course of history.

The abbot is the abbot of the monastery; comes from the Hebrew word “abba”, that is, “father.”

The diocese is a territorial unit under the ecclesiastical administration of the bishop. Catholics used the Latin term – Diocese.

The bishop is a Christian clergyman of the highest sacred rite, usually the head of the diocese. The bishop had spiritual authority over the priests and laypeople of his diocese.

Mass is the main daily service in the Catholic Church.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Clergy in the Middle Ages