The Medieval Church by Lucas ChenPosted: November 8, 2011
- What influence did the medieval church have?
The church was very powerful in those days, compared to now. It played a greater role on people’s lives a lot more than today’s society. The church dominated everybody’s lives and was organized like a government with laws. The church and nobles worked together to keep control of the common people. All Medieval people, whether village peasants or towns people they all believed that God, Heaven and Hell all existed. Early in the ages the people thought that the only path to Heaven was if the Roman Catholic Church let them enter. Everybody was terrified of Hell and they would be told petrifying horrors awaiting them in the services they attended.
2. What was the institution like?
Both the physical and the institution itself had a massive influence on people. The church derived its power from God therefore, the people were influenced to follow the church instead of breaking its laws and suffer critical punishments. If a person were ever to break the law of the church they would suffer terrifying consequences or immediate expulsion. This is basically a path guaranteed to keep you in the long run for hell. There were numerous festivals held in the church to celebrate various occasions, this shows that the church was also used for entertainment. It was usual for people to pay taxes to the church, however they were called tithes. These taxes were compulsory by the manorial court. Usually the taxes were not even paid with money, but with goods.
3. What was the church buildings like?
The church building was a marvellous site among huts and shacks. It was usually the only building made of stone in the village. The church was made entirely out of the peasant’s contribution and work. Even though peasants were working every day of the week, they still contributed a great amount of effort to establish the church. Previously said, the church was mainly made out of stone. There was a roof of slate and wooden chippings sustained with wooden crossbeams. There were stain glass windows inside the church which was used as a teaching method to tell bible stories and the lives of the saints. There were large numbers of cross within the church, as it is the symbol of Christianity. In fact, numerous churches were built in the shape of the cross. In this shape of a cross, the upper part would be where the altar would be placed. Usually, this is where the priest would stand and say Mass. The lower part would be called the nave and is where the people would sit during Mass. The church bells were very essential to the people because they would work in the field when the bells rang. The church was an ever present side of the average man’s life. From baptism to marriage, consequences and punishments until death, hurt every single person within the medieval community.
4. Why was the church so powerful?
The church owned various large areas of farmland. People who grew their crops would have to hand over one tenth over to the church. The church basically controlled people’s beliefs, the people were told when they die their soul will either go to Heaven or Hell. Hell was described as a terrifying, suffering place with enormous pain. The people were obviously frightened hence turning to the church for hope. Another fact to take into consideration was that the church was very rich. As you would imagine, everybody did not want to go to hell so they did every possible good deed they could do to stay away from there. These deeds included going to church on a weekly basis, buy special pardons which were known as indulgences and go on missions. The church had large amounts of money pouring in, especially rich people tried to buy their way into heaven. The church also made fair bits of money through tithes.
5. How was the church organised?
The medieval church was organised in different ways. The head of the church which was known as the pope was the man in charge. Next were the arch bishops, then to normal bishops. Last were the priests, whom mainly did most of the jobs. The church was under many duties to cover such as hearing people’s confessions, marriages and sending people to heaven. They had charity work which basically meant looking after the old and sick, give them shelter and clothes. As previously said the church also had entertainment such as organising parties and celebrate holy events. The church had practical responsibilities such as keeping their earnings consistent and having their church in spectacular condition. The church made the people believe that they had to do good deeds for them to get into heaven, that is how they keep everything in top condition.
By Lucas Chen