TheSpread of Christianity in Early Medieval Europe From 37 A.D to 68 A.D, Emperor Nero constantlyblamed Christians on anything that went wrong with Europe. Roughly 313 freedomsof religion throughout the Roman Empire were allowed, thus hostility ofChristians would end. In early Medieval Europe, Christianity was spread throughMissionaries promising peace, wealth and prosperity. In order for Christians tofeel closer to God, they often chose to close the distance by engaging physicaltravel to a spiritual goal.
Christianity started off by spreading out into themiddle east along the Mediterranean Sea. Christianity spread throughout Europein the Medieval ages starting with Armenia, Constantine The First, Arianism,The Rise of Papacy, Ireland, Anglo-Saxon England, Central Europe, theCarolingian Wars against Saxons, Scandinavia, Ireland, Bulgaria Poland, KievanRus, Hungary and Lithuania. These factors had the biggest effect onChristianity spreading throughout Early Medieval Ages in Europe. Christianitycaused many local kings and queens to convert to Christianity as otherwise theywould be considered Pagan. The conversion of many great political heads causedmasses of people to convert to Christianity. Christianity became dominant in Europe when the Roman Empire started todecline. Catholicism was the most popular religion where Res Publica Christianacame about over several centuries. Res Publica Christiana is a phrase thathelps describe the overall community and its well-being.
Although monks andmissionaries were largely the reason Christianity spread throughout Europe,Missionaries focused their attention on Noblemen. The belief was that if aleader converted, their people would follow. Moreover, attention was also directed towardsNoblewomen. Several Christian queens converted their Pagan king husbands. WhenChristianity first came about, many early Christians were skeptical andcontinued to still worship their old Pagan God. Christian education was very asimportant as missionaries and monks encouraged fellow Christians to geteducated on the faith, they also sent their kids to schools run by priests andbishops.
Churches were very influential for political matters but were also asource for knowledge and expertise of the Christian faith. Overall, theChristian faith only saw a day of faithful light when the Roman empire startedto crumble, allowing hundreds of thousands, even millions to practice thereligion freely as they chose. Christianity was able to spread through Europe,in the early stages monks and missionaries were able to convey the message ofChristianity and were able to convert masses of people to being Christian.Pilgrimages were able to deepen the faith for Christians as many people saw itas a beneficial opportunity to ask for forgiveness, ask for something deepentheir faith or just attend simply because of good will. Pilgrimages gave thechange to go to the holy land, where Jesus was said to reside most of his life.Christian education was important to the lives of many Christians as they wouldgo to churches to learn about Christianity, pray and be baptized.
Churches wereopened up across Europe as Christianity spread, allowing masses of people toattend for education, religious purpose and etc. With the help of missionaries,pilgrimages and Christian education, the faith of Christianity was spreadthroughout Europe in the early medieval ages. Missionaries and monks were one thebiggest factors contributing to Christianity’s spread throughout Europe.Missionaries played a huge role into spreading Christianity in Early Europe.Many missionaries travelled thousands of miles to convey the message ofChristianity.
The goal of the missionary was to convert as many people as he orshe can, often times missionaries targeted tribe leaders and local leaders toconvey and interpret the message of Christianity. It was hoped as a result Pagan leaders willtry to convert his members of the following to convert to Christianity as well.Many missionaries were established by the Pope, but there were many individualsthat were not sent by the pope to spread Christianity, such as Saint Patrick.Monks were heavily relied upon to convey the message of Christianity as well.Monks resided in a Monastery, which were built all over Europe in the earlymiddle ages.
During this time of the Middle Ages, the Jesuits became a powerfulforce in missionary work. The Jesuits were members of a Catholic group calledthe Society of Jesus. They were a male group devoted to pleasing Jesus Christthrough demonstrations of chastity, piety, a denial of excess, and humbleservitude. Missionaries and Monks served as the pivotal reason why Christianityspread upon Europe.
Missionary activity was favored in early Christianity days.A lot of Christians dedicated their lives to study, live and work inmonasteries. Uifilas, a famous missionary, was one of the first missionariesthat spread Christian gospel, he alone spent more than 30 years spreadingChristianity to Visigoth tribes. Many Monks and Missionaries dedicated theirlives in the name of Christianity even if it meant death from a barbarian whorefused to convert and to do good spreading the faith of Jesus Christ.Missionaries and monks were one of the biggest, if not of the sole reasonChristianity prospered within Europe while the Roman Empire was at its all-timelows. The church became dominant in Europe following the fall of the RomanEmpire1.
The only religion recognized in Middle Ages Europe was Christianity, specificallyCatholicism. Christianity in the middle ages dominated the lives of bothpeasants and the noble. Missionary activity was abundant in the early days ofChristianity in the medieval era. Many who sought to dedicate their lives tothe Church went to study, live and work in the monasteries. The monks werezealous about their faith and spread it with equal enthusiasm. Hence, monks andmissionaries laid the foundation for the establishment of Christianity.
In the early Middle Ages, theChurch encouraged people to make pilgrimages to special holy places calledshrines. Pilgrimages encouraged many like-minded Christians to attend yearlypilgrimages to deepen their faith, excuse them of any sin they have committedor simply because of good will. Pilgrimages definitely played a pivotal role inthe spread of Christianity by playing the idea to people that there issomething to gain if they attended pilgrimages, whether that be anything to acloser connection to God, more riches or protection from evil and sin. ManyChristians wanted to attend a pilgrimage by going to the holy land, Jerusalem,but that was deemed unlikely and dangerous as it was conquered by the Muslimsconstantly. Christians believed that they were able to reduce the distancebetween themselves and God by engaging in physical travel. Many times, Pilgrimages were not done for anyspecific reasons, rather a variety of reasons depending on who attended. Manyattended Pilgrimages to fulfil a vow, to expiate a crime, or to seek amiraculous cure.
During the Early middle ages in Europe, times were rough andmany people hoped a pilgrimage would solve problems in life. The vast majorityof the population, peasants, found this to be an attractive option. Soon afterConstantine took the throne in the 320 AD and 330 AD, he converted toChristianity as he claimed he saw “Jesus” during a great war. Constantinelifted the long-time hatred towards Christians and built Christian churches andbuildings. These buildings became popular for local pilgrimages as opposed tothe dangerous holy land conquered by Muslims. By the fourth century AD,pilgrimages became a recognized expression of Christian devotion.
The earliestpilgrimages were thought to be where Jesus Christ resided most of his life, inJerusalem. The reason why the Muslims held Jerusalem dearly to them as theybelieved Mohammed, the great prophet of Allah, slept there on a rock. Romelater became an ultimate pilgrimage attraction, as it was Constantine’scontrol.
Rome later became an ultimate pilgrimage attractions as it was under aChristian conquerors control, Constantine I. As Christianity became morerecognized and popular, it was later set that it was looked down upon to notattend a pilgrimage at least once in a Christian lifetime. Wealthierindividuals paid private soldiers to escort them safely to a pilgrimage and provideprotection from outlaws and barbarians. Christianity as a whole was able to seea boost in popularity as more people were convinced that attending pilgrimswould be beneficial. As a result, a lot of pagans that were not Christians wereattracted to the religion.
There were many superstitions that were interestingto many Christians such as the shrine of Thomas Becket at the CanterburyCathedral in England. This shrine was rumored to have the blood of Becket; Thisblood was believed to cure blindness, illness or any other state of mentalhealth. Christian Pilgrimages were able to deepen the faith for Christians asmany people saw it as a beneficial opportunity to ask for forgiveness, ask forsomething deepen their faith, cure any illness them or a loved one is sufferingfrom or just attend simply because of good will. The increased number ofpilgrimages undertaken allowed the growth of Christianity as a religion. Education during the medieval agein Europe was considered a sign of good fortune, where many saw it as a way todeepen their faith in Christianity and succeed in life in general.
In manyterms, Bishops and monks started to educate pupils of the upper class whileeducation for serfs and their kids was a rare occurrence. This was due to thefeudalistic structure which required peasants and serfs to work hard to earn aliving and a right to protection under the freedom of their local Lords. Oftentimes, serfs and peasants had a hard time enduring the costs of school that wererequired by the church. But devoted parents of the lower class did anything fortheir children to maintain a stable education, while other parents understoodthe fact that their kids may not be able to sustain the fees of school and thisunderstanding often resulted in kids working for their parents for rest oftheir lives. Christian educationoutlined many important lessons that kids must learn. These lessons includedreading, writing and practicing the influence of the church.
The curriculum consisted of classes such asLatin, grammar, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, astrology, music and mathematics.Scholars, monks and bishops used ancient writings from Roman and Greekresources to teach. Students often learned more when in contact with trappers,hunters, poachers and serfs as these individuals offered practical knowledge. Duringthe 5th to 8th century, Monastic schools were no moresignificant than schools that were founded by bishops.
Monastic schools wereoften looked upon as successors of the grammar schools from the Roman empire.Clergy was first introduced by Monastic schooling. Overall, education in theearly middle ages in Europe helped spread the faith of Christianity as youngermen and few women became well informed about Christianity, allowing them tospread it to people they know. Thesubjugation by barbarian invaders during the 5th century broke theeducation system that the Roman Empire had established. Pupils read, reread andcommented on the classical authors of early Christianity.
Christians still senttheir kids to secular schooling after Constantine I converted to Christianity.Christians established catechetical schools for religious instructions foradults wished to be baptized. Under thefeudal system of The Middle Ages, women had little or no chance of attainingeducation. Education was rare for serfs and peasants however it was veryunlikely for a girl or woman from a peasant background to learn reading andwriting. Evidently, education played abig role by informing the elderly and young about Christianity.
Even though,not everyone was able to attain general education due to high fees, serfs andpeasants still managed to learn about Christianity through community churchesand Christian activities. Education about Christianity itself helped many learnabout it and eventually contributed to the overall spread. With the help of Missionaries andMonks, pilgrimages and education, the Christian faith saw exponential growth duringthe early ages of Medieval Europe. These elements help spread the Christianfaith to corners of Europe until it was considered barbarian to the face ofEurope. After the early ages of the medieval era, the church served as thecentral control. Missionaries help spread the word on foot about Christianityas these individuals contacted local kings, local tribe leaders and powerfulfigures to help convert masses of people to Christianity. Christians werepromised a prolonged life with peace, wealth and prosperity by Missionaries.
Christians believed that pilgrimages wouldhelp them in their life by enforcing their relationship with God. Educationhelped the elderly and young Christians to better understand and deepen theirfaith in Christianity. Preaching at churches helped the people that were lessfortunate gain knowledge. Although missionaries, pilgrimages and Christianeducation are some of the main reasons that helped spread the faith ofChristianity there are also contributing factors such as Constantine declaring Christianitylegal. Like many religions, the spread of Christianity can be attributed to theactivity of people. 1 http://www.thefinertimes.com/Middle-Ages/christianity-in-the-middle-ages.html