The Medieval Church


1# Describe the role of the church in the medieval ages

The Medieval church played a huge role in Medieval Ages in which it was completely in control over the people. Whether you were a peasant, a serf, a king or noble, the church dominated over all. The people were taught in the early ages that the only way to get to heaven was if the Roman Catholic Church allowed them. Heaven, Hell and God all existed to the people, it was what they were taught. They believed the way to get to heaven was to obey God, Kings and Nobles, if you didn’t you would burn in hell. Peasants were forced to work on church lands and take care of the church without pay. Tithes (10% of what the people earned within the year) had to be payed to the church. If peasants did not have enough money, livestock or food was needed to be given.  The peasants were told by the Church that if a failure to pay tithes occurred, it would lead to their souls going to Hell after they had died.

Although the church sounded pretty scary, it was highly important. The church was everywhere in the middle ages. They oversaw births, marriages, burials and ran schools & hospitals. They took care of the medieval people, physically and spiritually. Spiritually only through a priest, a monk, or a nun within the church could you receive absolution for sins, or indulgences. Physically the church was supporting orphans and poor of the area. In medieval Europe there was no such thing as social welfare in the state. Also the church was often the hospital of the area, many monks and priest had received medical training. The church definitely have a big impact on the people and culture of the middle ages.

2# Why did people fear the church?

The Medieval church was seen by the people of the medieval ages as terrifying and scary due to the power and wealth (from tithes) that the church had and owned. The church had all authority over the people. When the church taught people, they focused on the stories and myths about Hell which scared the people. Peasants were forced to take care of the church and were treated quite bad. People also had other reasons to fear the church such as crime and punishment. The church during the middle ages was very intimidating and took power over the people.

3# How did the medieval church punish people?

The Catholic Church used torture and imprisonment to obtain confessions from people regardless of whether they were guilty. They would punish people if they fell asleep in church or did not go at all. They also used torture to convert people to become Christian/Baptist or the religion of that country. The church would also deal with the victims in court if held guilty.

4# Write a comparison of the medieval church and today’s church.

In Medieval England, the Medieval Church played a far greater role than the Church does today. The Church dominated everybody’s life back in Medieval England. ALL the people believed that God, Heaven and Hell all existed. From the very earliest ages the people were taught that the only way to enter heaven was if the Roman Catholic Church let them. Everybody was scared and terrified of the fact that they might be going to hell and feared the church. In today’s society religious views are an individual aspect. Christians and other religions are free to enter a church and leave if so. People are not scared of hell or other religious views. Children and adults are not forced to learn about religion, it is all free will.

The Medieval Church was completely in control over the people. Peasants worked for free on Church land. It was difficult for the peasants as the time they spent working on Church land, could have been better spent working on their own plots of land producing food for their families. These days, people volunteer to help out in the church and sacrifice their own time to serve the church.

Both now and back in the Medieval Ages, people pay/paid 10% of what they earn(ed) in a year to the Church (this tax was/is called tithes). These days, people in the church usually pay their tithes with money but back then if peasants did not have enough money for their tithes, they could pay in goods (food, livestock,etc.)


The Medieval Church

How did the church become so powerful?

The afterlife was the main concern in the middle ages. The church had power over you no matter how wealthy you were. That power was used to collect taxes and tithes which in turn created more power.

the medieval Church was so powerful was because the made laws and set up courts to uphold them.

The more I learn about the Middle Ages, the more I am impressed by the wisdom, science, and intelligence of its people. The above answers may be conventional understanding, but the conventional understanding is supported by neither the facts nor historical record. Furthermore, they ignore the most powerful reason the Church had power, which was that it was at the center of what people believed; asking why the Church was powerful in the middle ages is in some respects analogous to asking why science is so powerful today. As to the facts, we do not have a lot of evidence from the early middle ages, because people did not keep much in the way of records, but what records we do have do not support the idea that people were generally illiterate.

How did the stained glass windows assist in telling stories in the bible?

Stained glass windows was originally used in the medieval times as a “biblia pauperum” Which meant “poor man’s bible” they were used in the time when people couldn’t read or write, so stained glassed windows were used as a substitute for bibles and hymnals since each and every one of the windows tell a story people could understand and open their eyes to what the picture in the stained glass window meant. They could incorporate narratives drawn from the bible, literature or history, they may also represent saints or patrons or even use symbolic motifs. Each one was different, and each one represented a different sorry in the bible, like they might have Marry holding baby Jesus, or Jesus on the cross, they could have any story.

Describe some of the positive influences the medieval church had within its community.

It provided teaching to a lot of people, not just the clergy, monks, and nobility. The Church ran schools for those who had right families. This sometimes included merchants and tradesmen. Not only did The Church provide education, it provided secure transport along colonist routes.

It was a common pastime among noblewomen and nuns in convents to embroider altar cloths for churches as well, and making vessels for the altar kept goldsmiths busy, too.

Since the church was so much a part of everyday life, and so wealthy, it was able to give its patronage to many different types of artists. This, in turn, meant that for a very long time the art produced was primarily religious in nature.

As a side note, you might see religious paintings with other individuals included in the scene. These were normally portraits of royals or nobles who often paid for such paintings (usually on wood) to be put on diptychs or triptychs. Most of the time, these ‘portraits’ were very stylized, so it’s difficult to determine, after all this time, if they were true to life or not.


The Medieval Church and its Influence, by Gloria Chibs.


Medieval churches were mostly made of stone, with very little use of wood. The wood was mostly used for the ceilings, floors and doors. There are many different parts in the church, each part symbolizing a different/significant meaning. They were built using a Roman style and eventually in time Gothic becam the new church style trend. Many of the medieval churches still exist and are standing today. Here is a link to a site which will tell you about the many different parts of a church and their significance:


Peasants would give a tenth of their money, or produce; grains fruits vegetables and animals during taxation/tithing; usually because peasants were poor and hadn’t much money to spare. This money they’d use for helping the poor, and building more churches and hospitals. Peasants would work with the church for free, and usually not have much time for their own needs. The church would tell people that if they didn’t pay their tithes, their souls would go to hell when they passed on. People in medieval times believed that they could only go to heaven IF the church let them, they believed this and this only; because that was what the church had told them. Some Christians would go out and plunder and kill for riches, and claim it was in the name of God. But the church also did good things for/to the poeple. During the times of the Bubonic Plague, (or ‘black death’), the churches nuns and priests would tend to the sick. They looked after them and cared for them; feeding them and cleaning their wounds. Some Monks and Nuns in the church would help/work in the monastery growing fruits, vegetables and herbs. They also spent time praying for their people.


Because the peasants were uneducated and unable to read, they relied on what the church would tell them, they could not prove that what they were teaching them was incorrect. It is probable that the church would lie a lot to put themselves in a better light. The church could take advantage of the uneducated peasants and people, they would have been able to give false teachings and the people would without questioning, believe them.  The church became rich because of the peasants money and produce. But some of the church members would use it on themselves instead of providing for the community. The church also had no one to answer to, so they could pretty much do whatever they wanted, without being told it was wrong. Only the church had access to bibles, and mostly only they could read them because everyone else was uneducated. Without being to read and also without a bible they wouldn’t be able to tell wether what the church was saying was true or not. People only listened to the church about wether or not they could go to to heaven; or wether they would be going to hell. The church had alot of control over the people. It is safe to say that the medieval church is very different from our churches today.