A View Of The Medieval Christian Church — страница 3

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and a continuing love for worshipping goddesses,exist in many texts written inthis period. Yet, this does not mean that every village had a sorceress intheir midst, but literature usually reflects the society within which it emerges. At the time of TheCanterbury Tales, many of apeople who were Christians officially, politically, and in most cases atheart, saw that there were elementsof paganism and sorcery which is tolerated and respected. The society inwhich Chaucer writes thesestories is Christian as well, politically and spiritually–could it be thatthey tolerated and respectedpaganism and magic? Perhaps the separation of the two is not necessary andwas not complete at thispoint in time. Not only was magic a pagan tradition that persisted throughout theMiddle Ages..another

tradition,changing at the time, reflected the transition from worshipping the unseenforces in the world as manygods, to one, omnipotent God. Although the people were Christians, they tookthe separation of spiritualpowers far beyond the creation the Trinity. The specific powers or emphasisgiven to each saintcarries on even into today’s Catholic tradition. The medieval period mayhave had some of this(although many of the saints were not even born yet…) but in theirliterature, many immortal andpowerful creatures are found. This form of Paganism existed in Britain ofthe Middle ages, full ofspiritual beings, full of magic, alive with heavenly power existing onEarth. It has been the nature of theChristian men in power through the ages to, for fear, deny their people theknowledge of

the un-Christianrichness in their ancestry, and so the traditions that were not masked asChristian are lost to studentsof Christian history and literature. But it seems this period had not seensuch extensive discrimination. The two ways of the world were not quite so separate then, and matters ofthe occult were not yetlabeled as evil. This again implies that perhaps the two forms of religiousthought do not have to becompletely separate. There are strong similarities for them to coincide andcomplement eachother, and for an entire people trying to make the Christian transition,maybe this complementing wasnecessary. However, the age of forceful patriarchy and witch-burning wouldnot come about for severalhundred years. Each new way of leading a “holy life” was thought to be

progressivelymore acceptable to Godby its proponents than the ones that had gone before. Such ‘new ways’ werenormally inspired by adesire to break away from the corruption and worldliness which was percievedin the older or moreestablished forms of Godly living. These new ways often became corruptthemselves and over timebreakaways from them were hailed as a newer and more perfect way offollowing God. Thisroller-coaster ride of corruption and reform is basically the story ofpopular medieval religion as manbattled to define and discover what it really meant to be a Christian. In an effort to escape persecution, but to also flee the evil, prevalent inthe world and to seek Godfree from many ‘ worldly ‘ distractions, monks began to assemble ascommunities of Christians .

Thesecommunities, although they had little organization, were regarded aspossessing the best Christian lifeby having a solitary, ascetic, celibate existence where the ‘ world ‘ hadbeen totally renounced and hadbeen entirely replaced with heavenly contemplation. These ‘ new ‘ martyrswere usually just calledmonks: theirs was a life of daily martyrdom as they constantly died to selfand lived totally for God. The monks paid particular veneration to the physical remains of the martyrs(relics) and were thereforeconnected to the martyrs who they replaced. The rise of ascetic monasticismand relic worship howeverwas quite controversial — Both the worship of relics and asceticmonasticism however becamemainstays of this Medieval religion, and the idea that monks were a new formof

martyr persistedover time. Both monks as well as martyrs were looked upon as holy men. In relating this solitary world to readers, there is also a monk inChaucer’s work — He is someonewho combined godliness and worldliness into a profitable and comfortableliving. He was theoutrider or the person in charge of the outlying property….which lead himto enjoy hunting, fine foods,and owning several horses. Monks renounced all their worldly belongings andby taking vows of poverty,chastity and obedience, joined a community of monks. Their lives were spentin communal worship,devotional reading, prayer and manual labour all under the authority of theabbot of the monastic house. Particular monks often had particular jobs- the cellarer or the infirmarerfor example, and these like every