Religion in the Middle Ages


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The Catholic Church was the only church in Europe in the Middle Ages. It had its own laws and a lot of money.

Bishops were often very wealthy and came from noble families. They sometimes sat on the king's council . Priests , on the other side, came from the lower classes . They looked after the poor and sick people and sometimes they taught Latin and the Bible to the children of the village .

Monks were called Benedictines because St. Benedict showed them how to live. They had to do work but were not allowed to have any land or leave the monastery . They did everything in silence . Monks went to the monastery church about eight times a day to pray . Between these masses they often read or wrote books on science and religion and sometimes they sang religious songs. They were the most well - educated people of the Middle Ages. Women monks were called nuns . They lived in places called convents .

Pilgrimages were a very important part of life in the Middle Ages. Many people went on journeys to holy places like Canterbury Cathedral in England. Sometimes they had to travel for many months and they often slept in monasteries , where they were safe. They told each other stories on their long trip.





Cathedrals were an important buildings of the Middle Ages. People went to mass and thought they could get a place in heaven when they attended . But cathedrals also had other functions . Crowning s were held there. People got married in cathedrals and funerals also took place there . Some kings and queens were even buried in cathedrals.

The body of a cathedral is the nave . It is the long, centr al part of the church. Sometimes the cathedral had a curved end called the apse . Between the rows of seats there were big passageways to walk - called aisles . One part of a church was built in another direction - to make the form of a cross. This was called the transept .

Cathedrals were mostly made of stone. Building such a big church often took hundreds of years. It was the bishop , who was the religious head of a country. He gave the order to build a cathedral. Medieval churches were at first built in Romanesque style. They had many round arches and thick pillars . Sometimes the churches formed a half-circle. From the 12th century on, cathedrals were built in Gothic style. These churches were very pointed and tall. Some of them had 3 big doors.




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  • aisle = a long passage between the rows of seats in a church
  • apse = the curved end of a church
  • arch = a building with a curved top
  • attend = to go to
  • bishop = the highest priest in the church of a country
  • century = a hundred years
  • convent = place where nuns live
  • council = a group of people that helps the king
  • crowning = to make a person king or queen
  • funeral = to bury someone who has died
  • Gothic = building style that was common between the 12th and 16h centuries—with pointed arches and tall windows
  • head = boss
  • heaven = place where good people go to after death
  • journey = trip
  • law = rules
  • mass = a church ceremony , mostly on Sundays
  • medieval = everything that is about the Middle Ages
  • monastery = a place where monks live
  • monk = a man who lives with others together in a monastery
  • nave = the long central part of a church
  • noble = if you come from the family of a lord or king
  • passageway = small paths to walk
  • pilgrimage = a trip to a holy place
  • pillar =a tall round post used to support a structure or building
  • pray = to say words to God
  • priest = a man who does religious work in church
  • Romanesque = popular building style of the 11th and 12th centuries
  • science =knowledge about the world and nature , based on facts that you prove
  • sick = ill
  • silence = if it is very quiet
  • transept = one of the two parts of the church that are built to make a cross
  • wealthy = rich
  • well-educated = a person who could read and write and knew a lot of things