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Class Groups for Unit on Christian Traditions. MONASTIC AND Medieval Christianity. Rels 120 4 March 2014. Historical Overview: major developments in Christianity. Approx. 3 BCE to 30 CE  Lifetime of Jesus 30 CE to 120 CE  Apostolic age New Testament times

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historical overview major developments in christianity
120 - applebyHistorical Overview:major developments in Christianity

Approx. 3 BCE to 30 CE  Lifetime of Jesus

30 CE to 120 CE  Apostolic age

  • New Testament times

120 CE to 451 CE  Early Church

451 CE to 1517 CE  Medieval Christianity

  • Churches, Monasteries

1517 – 1600 CE  Protestant Reformation

17th to 20th centuries  Modernity

Postcolonialism Postmodernity

  • 20th to 21st centuries
two main centres of christianity
120 - applebyTwo main centres of Christianity


  • Centre of Byzantine Empire
  • Used Greek as its language

Bishop of Constantinople

St. Basil the Great

(329 to 379 CE)


  • Centre of the Roman Empire
  • Used Latin as its language

Bishop of Rome

St. Augustine of Hippo

(354 to 430 CE)

what is the relationship between the christian church and the state
120 - applebyWhat is the relationship between theChristian church and the state?
  • Constantinianmodel
  • Model officially proclaimed in 381 – Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire

The emperor Theodosius ruled over both church and state

  • Augustinian (354-430 CE) model
  • There are 2 “cities”

Human city, guided by selfish love; endless cycle of progress and decline

City of God, guided by selfless love; journey with God towards resurrection and eternal life

middle ages and the role of monasticism
120 - applebyMiddle Ages and the role of monasticism
  • 500s to the 1300s
  • Feudalism was prominent:
    • Landowners – nobility, warriors and the church
    • Vassals – subordinates who ran the estates
    • Serfs – workers and slaves
  • Many Christians were wealthy; the Church was wealthy
  • Monks protested against this worldly success and became hermits and ascetics
monks in the desert
Monks in the Desert

St. Paul the hermit, 229 to 342 CE

Fed by a raven who brought him ½ a loaf of bread each day

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st anthony s monastery in egypt 356 ce
St. Anthony's Monastery in Egypt – 356 CE

The oldest still active monastery in the world

Wall paintings within the monastery

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251 to 356 CE. St. Anthony became known as the

‘Father of Monasticism’.

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"If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21). Anthony gave his possessions to the poor, placed his sister in a house for virgins, and sought to live a solitary life with God.

medieval monks
120 - applebyMedieval monks

Saint Benedict of Nursia – dedicated to work and prayer

    • Self-supporting communities
    • Centres of technological innovation and learning
    • Died 550CE

Saint Scholastica – twin sister of Benedict

    • Died 543CE
  • Both established monastic communities, nearby each other
statue of st benedict in italy born 486 ce established monastic communities of work and prayer
Statue of St. Benedict in Italy – born 486 CE – established monastic communities of work and prayer

Holy cave of St. Benedict

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St. Benedict

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St. Benedict – left his wealthy home to devote his life to God; gave up his life of privilege to follow the gospel of Jesus; was an educated man.

What are the instruments of Good Works?

  • To fulfill God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
  • To love chastity.
  • To hate no one.
  • Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
  • Not to love contention.
  • To beware of haughtiness.
  • And to respect the seniors.
  • To love the juniors.
  • To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
  • To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
  • And never to despair of God's mercy.
hierarchy in the medieval church
120 - applebyHierarchy in the Medieval Church
  • Bishop of Rome = Pope (but not with modern papal powers)
      • Based on St. Peter, Jesus’ disciple, being identified as the founder of the Christian church
  • Bishops in other geographical locations
  • 5 bishops highest in rank, called Patriarchs - bishops of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem
  • Priests, monks, nuns
  • Lay people
leaders of the church were channels of god s grace for the people
120 - applebyLeaders of the Church were channels of God’s grace for the people

God’s grace was channeled through the 7 sacraments:

  • Baptism – submersion in water
  • Confirmation – acceptance of adult responsibility for faith by adolescent
  • Holy Eucharist – based on the Passover meal celebrated by Jesus and his disciples
  • Marriage – husband and wife represent union of Christ and the church
  • Ordination – to priesthood (celibacy not required until 1100CE)
  • Confession – of sins, forgiven by priest, do penance
  • Extreme unction / last rites – anointing with oil for healing
cycles of religious festivals
120 - applebyCycles of religious festivals

Rituals of celebration and retelling of the stories of the Christian faith:

  • Advent – preparation for the Second Coming of Christ – became preparation for Christmas
  • Christmas and Epiphany– celebrates the stories of the birth of Jesus and the visit from the wise men
  • Lent– period of preparation for Easter – time of confession and penance
  • Easter– celebrates the stories of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection
  • Pentecost – celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers
centralization of papal power
120 - applebyCentralization of Papal power

Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085 CE)

  • Forced European and British kings to submit to his rule
  • Undertook to purify the Church from rebels and heretics in the Inquisition
  • Many Christians tortured and martyred
christian mysticism
120 - applebyChristian mysticism

Mysticism of love and union (like a divine/human marriage):

  • Theresa of Avila
  • John of the Cross
  • Hildegard of Bingen
  • Catherine of Siena
  • Julian of Norwich
  • Teresa of Avila

Mysticism of identity (actual union with God):

  • Meister Eckhart
julian of norwich
120 - applebyJulian of Norwich

She was born in 1342 during the time of the Black Death.

  • Bad social conditions; oppression and poverty
  • Social unrest
  • 1381 Peasants Revolt
  • Conflict between Church leaders; monasteries seeking alternative lives of simplicity
  • Early Protestant reformers were being tortured and martyred
  • Catholic Church trying to centralize and impose authority
julian s mystical experience
120 - applebyJulian’s mystical experience

In her 30th year she became sick to the point of death. The priest came and prepared her for death and gave her the last rites.

A few days later on the Third Sunday after Easter, having again been visited by her priest, the pain suddenly left her and a series of 'Revelations' or 'Showings' began.

During the next 12 or so hours she received 15 revelations of God's love centering on the cross of Jesus; then a 16th early on the Monday morning.

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“Our spirit is made by God, but it is made of nothing that is created.

“This is how it is: when God made our body, he took the dirt of the earth, which is substance mixed with all sorts of earthly things, and from this he created our body.

“But when God went to create our spirit, he took nothing; he simply created it.”

jesus our mother
120 - applebyJesus our Mother

“For as surely as God is Father, so surely is God also Mother, and he shows this in all, but particularly in these sweet words:

I am the strength and goodness of the father,

I am the wisdom of the mother,

I am light, grace, and lovely love,

I am Trinity and unity;

I am the innate goodness of every creature,

I draw you towards love,

I endow you with longing;

I am the endless completion of all desiring.”

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  • Mother BenedictaRiepp (1825-1862)
  • founder of Benedictine life for women in the Untied States
  • came to the U.S. in 1852 with two other sisters
  • established the first monastery for Benedictine women in the United States.
a contemporary benedictine monastery
120 - applebyA Contemporary Benedictine Monastery

Sustainable Systems

  • Biodiversity
  • Daylighting
  • Lumber
  • Passive Solar Design
  • Solar Electricity
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Structures & Finishes
  • Watersheds
  • Wetlands

Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert (in New Mexico, USA)

contemporary monasticism
120 - applebyContemporary Monasticism

Cistercian Monks

  • [7:28]
  • View these 2 video clips from PBS on 2 monastic communities

Sister Maureen Fiedler, Sisters of Loretto

  • [5:04]