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The Medievil church.

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THE MEDIEVIL CHURCH The word 'Church' means 'belonging to the Lord'. In the Middle Ages, the word had more than one meaning. In the broadest sense, it meant the body of all good Christians. It included those already in purgatory and heaven, together with those on earth who would one day be saved. The word 'church' also stood for the clergy. These were people , such as priests, monks, nuns and friars, who had promised to spend their lives in the service of God. People who did not belong to the clergy were called the 'laity'. The church was the centre of village life. It was the place where everyone gathered at least one a week, on Sunday, to worship God and swap news. ...read more.


Tithes The maintenance of the church was paid for by a tax called a tithe, or tenth. All the villagers had to pay a tenth of their income. Usually this meant a tenth of the crops they grew in the fields. If people did not pay, the Church had the power to arrest and punish them. They could also be arrested for other offences, including heresy, witchcraft, eating meat on a Friday, or failing to go to church. Punishments included beating, fines, imprisonment and excommunication. The Priest Only men could be priests. Apart from leading the services, a priest was meant to explain Christian beliefs to the ordinary people. He taught them how to say prayers and, if he was a good priest, preached to them about the life of Christ. ...read more.


St Benedict's aim was to teach the monks to be humble, to realize how unimportant they were compared with God. This was why they spent so many hours each day praising him. Being obedient, working in the fields and having no possessions of their own, helped the monks to be humble. For the same reason, the monks all dressed alike in simple black robes called habits. Nuns Women could also choose to live apart from the everyday world, by becoming nuns. However, there were far fewer nuns than monks, for they mostly came from rich families. Nuns had paid servants to work in the fields for them and their rules were less hard. Nuns were often widows, or daughters for whom husbands could not be found. Several English queens became nuns. Monks and nuns lived the religious life for its own sake. Even so, people believed that their services helped everyone in the battle against the devil. ...read more.

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