The Church and it’s influencePosted: November 10, 2012
Why do you think the medieval church had so much influence?
Unlike the modern church the Medieval church had so much influence on not only the towns and communities around them but around the world. One of the reasons for this is that the church dominated everyone’s life, from a peasant or a commoner to the knights or nobles and even the king!
The Holy Order and the church were able to do this because the peasants and commoners had no idea of whether they were right or wrong, for the simple reason that they could not read or write. The knights and nobles would not have known either, because Bibles were scarce and barely anyone had one, except for one in the church or universities or school
The church was also very wealthy, in fact it was one of the major wealthiest land holders in those times. There are a few reasons why the church was so wealthy. The first reason is that the church required a tithe to be paid. This meant that 10% of a person’s earnings for a year would go to the church. The people were told to pay this tithe, and if they didn’t they would go to hell. This ‘tithe’ could be paid in multiple ways. If you were poor, you could pay with grains, seeds or animals, these could then be bartered or traded, if there was the need. You could pay with coins and money. The amount from the tithe would then be put towards helping the poor, building monasteries or churches or kept in the church. Another reason the church was so wealthy was because they weren’t required to pay a tax to the King. Therefore they could keep all that money.
The church also became influential in these times because the teachings made people afraid of what would happen to them if they did not obey what the church said. One of the most common things the church would say was “If you don’t do this, or you do do this then you will go to hell.” The people believed every word they said and would do it.
The people could also see what a good job the church was doing and therefore believed and wanted to be better people.
To conclude the church had a major influence and relied on many things to acheive this.
Describe at least two positive influences the medieval church had within its community
The Medieval church did so many good things for the towns and communities around Europe and other places, it actually puts modern churches to shame. The church was very wealthy so they could afford to build and make a huge difference. The people that worked for the church also had a massive passion to help. Here are some positive things that the church did.
They built and started universities- In those times universities were unheard of, until the church did something about this need in the community. At first the universities were small and some of them held in the teacher’s houses and didn’t have much room, or many books and this made it hard to learn. The conditions in the houses also made it hard. Some of the first universities to be formed were Bologana and Paris. This is very different than the universities today and we have the medieval church to thank for this wonderful opportunity.
They built and started over 400 Hospitals- The nuns and people in the church were extremely well known for their helpful hand and their passion to help the sick and give to the least of this world. They were well known for helping lepers or people with the black death, basically people that no one wanted to help. They modelled Matthew 25 perfectly. The hospitals not only cared for the sick but took in strangers, who lived on the street or elderly people who could not care for themselves. The first hospitals were like long halls with beds on either side, with chapels for the patients to go to.
Had many orphanages- The Christians and the Catholics saw the need for abandoned or parentless children to be looked after. So they made ‘foundling homes’.They were designed to ensure their care and baptism into the church. The children would then be put up for adoption and became part of another family whether as a child like their own or as a servant. There would have been some cases where the children would stay and then be sent into the world when they were older
Taught children to read and write-Arts- The church influenced the community and the world by the arts. They had stained glass windows and created things for the church which affect the church today. They also started drawing portraits, usually of noblemen or royalty, this has carried on into our generation.
As you can see the Medieval church influenced their world and still influences the generations today. The medieval church sets such an example for us they took care of people that no one would help and I believe we should try and follow their steps.
How does the architecture between the medieval church differ from the modern church?
The modern churches are usually off the main road and can’t be seen by anyone who walks past. This is different to the church in the Medieval times was in the town centre. It could be seen by all the people. During the medieval period churches changed a lot in the way of architecture. Most churches in those times were made out of stone though some wood was used. Nowadays the churches are made of concrete or bricks with a modern look like rectangular shaped buildings with lots of glass windows.
In the Romanesque period of architecture the churches tended to have thick walls and arches with vaults and large towers. The end look is symmetrical and somewhat simple though it looks quite elegant. There were many churches built in this time and there are still many that are standing.
The Gothic period came after the Romanesque period and was quite different and not as many churches were built in this period. The historians and people in that time did not really like this form of architecture but they still kept on building them. The Gothic church buildings were known for ‘flying buttresses’ which were like arches. They helped the church to stay standing and for the walls to not collapse. Churches in this period also had pointed arches instead of semi-circle arches.The walls were also thinner than in the Romanesque period. And most Gothic churches are well known for their Crockets.
There are also two more different types of churches; these are called Stave and Bryzantine. Stave churches were rectangular and had multi-tiered roofs which are like levels. Bryzantine churches are well known for having large domes, with smaller of half circle domes surrounding them. This sort of church had a great influence on Islamic architecture today.
Unlike the Romanesque or the Gothic period modern churches have no towers and are not nearly as grand as the ones in the medieval period. They have no large towers or pointed arches and are kept quite simple.
Unlike modern churches, medieval churches had many stained glass windows, these were used to explain biblical stories in a simple and creative way to the church goers and to make it easier to understand, because they didn’t each have a bible. These days only old cathedrals and buildings have stained glass windows whereas buildings built in the last few years do not.
In Medieval times the floor, indoor and the outdoor of the building sometimes were decorated using Cosmatesque which showed unique and traditional patterns giving the church and cathedrals an interesting look. You rarely see this used in modern day.
The Medieval church would have had no stage, but a pulpit in which the priest would talk from. In the modern church this is rarely seen as they usually have a stand which can be moved wherever it needs to be.
There are many differences between the Medieval and Modern church but all in all we are all God’s creation and his Church and we should be changing the world.
Chrispy’s answer, (2009), http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090730022924AAVwwcI
Trueman, C, (2000-2012), http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medieval_church.htm
Gabriel, B, (1999- 2012), http://www.ehow.com/info_8030175_medieval-church-architecture-types.html
‘The Knight with a lion’ http://www.abdn.ac.uk/english/lion/church.shtml
‘The church during the middle ages’ http://www.mce.k12tn.net/middleages/church.htm
Manco, J, (2006), http://www.buildinghistory.org/articles/heritagemercy.shtml