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What is a Christian priest? History of Religion

By |2017-08-23T09:57:31+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, Romans|

Priest blessing people who have the plague Very soon after the crucifixion of Jesus, by around 40 or 50 AD, the early Christians began to choose leaders from among themselves. The Christians called these leaders presbyters, or "elders" in Greek. That's where we get our word priest from. The congregation - the people who went to the [...]

What is Christian mass? Christianity – Religion

By |2017-08-22T14:16:43+00:00August 22nd, 2017|Religion|

Catholic priests celebrating Mass The central part of Christian life in antiquity and the Middle Ages was the Christian Mass. That was when you went to church and the priest went through a series of prayers to God. You would participate in some of the prayers. Sometimes you just said Amen at the end. Other times you called out answers - [...]

Gnostics – Early Christianity – Roman religion

By |2017-08-21T22:51:25+00:00August 21st, 2017|Religion, Romans|

Books of Roman Gnostic writings from Nag Hammadi in Egypt (300s AD) About the time of Jesus, about 100 BC-100 AD, people living in the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia were gradually beginning to think more about the afterlife than they had before. What happened to you after you died? Did you go to Heaven? How could you make [...]

What is Christian communion? History of religion

By |2017-08-21T18:22:28+00:00August 21st, 2017|Religion, Romans|

Maybe our earliest image of the Last Supper - from the Catacombs of Domitilla, 100s AD At the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples bread and wine. Then shortly after he was crucified, he appeared to Peter and again gave him bread and wine. Jesus told Peter that whenever he ate bread during the Mass, it would turn into the [...]

French Revolution – History of France

By |2017-08-05T15:03:13+00:00August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

French women revolutionaries march on the king's palace at Versailles All through the 1700s, Enlightenment philosophers in France had been figuring out new ways of thinking about the world. Little by little they rejected religion and inherited power. They invented the idea that people should use logic and reason to make choices, that people - both [...]

Saladin Tax – Medieval Europe

By |2018-04-24T08:11:08+00:00August 1st, 2017|Economy, Medieval|

Sherwood Forest, where Robin Hood lived In the Early Middle Ages, most people did not pay any money taxes to the king. Instead, they gave chickens, honey, or work days to their own lord. Then in turn their lord passed on services to the king - if the king could make him do it. But in order to [...]

Inside Reims cathedral – Nave and Transept

By |2017-07-31T09:49:52+00:00July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Elevation of the nave inside Reims cathedral One difference between Chartres cathedral and Reims cathedral was that at Reims they didn't build a deep gallery over the aisle. Instead, they just put in a shallow, fake gallery, that looked lighter. As at Chartres, this gallery is tiny compared to the big arches underneath. On the [...]

What is a misericorde? Middle Ages

By |2017-07-31T05:40:32+00:00July 31st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

A misericorde in a church In the Middle Ages, priests and monks sang in their church choirs just as people do today. Sometimes they had to sing for hours, standing up. Their legs would get very tired. But they weren't supposed to sit down. Misericorde from Walcourt, Belgium (1500s AD) So the monks built folding wooden [...]

Medieval cathedrals – Architecture

By |2018-10-12T08:26:05+00:00July 30th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Medieval cathedrals: Façade of Amiens cathedral in France What is a cathedral? A cathedral is any Christian church where a bishop has his headquarters. No matter how big a church is, if there's no bishop working in it, then it's not a cathedral. More about bishops Lots more Middle Ages articles For instance, the cathedral of Laon in [...]

Inside Amiens cathedral

By |2018-04-14T12:43:03+00:00July 29th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Elevation of Amiens cathedral (begun 1220 AD) Where Chartres cathedral had a full gallery above the side aisles, Amiens has only a thin false gallery like Reims, with windows behind it that let in more light. Amiens transept In each arm of the transept, there is a huge rose window, with more windows beneath it. At Chartres the [...]