Ohio 7th Grade World History/Religion
Creation of Christianity
Catholicism was the major religion during the Middle Ages. It was a sect based off the teachings of Jesus Christ and spread like rapid fire throughout Europe. Jesus Christ was a man that was said to be performing miracles and healings. Many said the healings that took place could only be performed by the Lord. People from all over came to see if they could receive a miraculous healing for themselves or their loved ones. Christianity and the good news that followed started to grow, and more people were becoming supportive of all that Jesus taught. John 4:4-42, John 4:28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him." The Roman Empire felt threatened by this new influence. They outlawed Christianity throughout their empire. Anybody who was found practicing Christianity was persecuted. Cruel punishments were used to enforce the strict restrictions on religion. Jesus was crucified, nailed to a cross, and died. People continued to follow Jesus. Thinking of him as the messiah, they were confident that he would rise again. Jesus’ followers formed the Christian Church. Catholicism is a branch of Christianity.
Formation of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church
Before there were popes, there were two bishops that lead the Catholic Church. There was the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Constantinople. The Bishop of Rome wanted power, and he proclaimed that he would become the leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope. The Bishop of Constantinople didn’t agree with this. He thought that the Church was being run how it should. He wanted to keep the church the same, and keep himself at the top position in the church. The new proclaimed pope excommunicated the bishop. The bishop of Constantinople formed a new church, it was called the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Bishop of Constantinople became the pope of his new church. These were the only two branches of Christianity that existed during the Middle Ages.
The Catholic Church
Catholicism soon became the major religion in all of Rome, which was most of the known world. The ruler of the Catholic Church was called the Pope. The Pope was decided by Catholic Church members and officials. Since almost everyone in Eastern Europe was Catholic, the Pope had a lot of responsibility. The Pope had so much power that he and various kings started to have conflicts over power. At this point in time, everybody’s goal in life was to get into heaven. All empires, kingdoms, and villages focused on religion. The Pope had the power to decide if you were going to go to heaven, or if you were going to Hell. Kingdoms started to have more faith in the Popes word, then in their rulers word. Kings started to worry that they were losing the respect, and the clutch over their kingdoms. As the Popes power grew to the extreme, sometimes he would abuse his abilities. This could be anything from asking for to much money, or excommunicating people for miniscule reasons. To be excommunicated means to be cast out of the Church and sentenced to Hell. There were many rules that went along with being a member of the Catholic Church. You had to give money, crops, and dedication to the Pope and Catholic law. There were also sales that raised money to go to the Catholic Church. People were often pressured into participating in these sales. An example of this is the sale of indulgences. During this “sale,” people would by passes that lessened their time in purgatory. Purgatory is the place where Catholics believe people go to work of their sins before being admitted into heaven.
Tithe and the 1/10 Rule
The 1/10 also known as tithe was a big thing in the middle ages. The 1/10 rule took place in the 1200s. Christians mostly used it. Farmers would have to give 1/10 of their harvest. Average people would give 1/10 of their food and land. Foods like milk, eggs, meats, wood, and wine. These were types of items people gave. All these things were given to the church. They were also given to the class above you. This created inequality. The lowest class never got any of the 1/10 given; they only have to the higher classes keeping them poor. The rich kept getting richer because the poor supplied them. All items were stored in special barns. Priests were the people who collected the goods. All social classed gave to the church except the pope. The practice of tithe is linked to the giving of a tenth of Abraham's possessions to The Prince of Salem and the high priest of god according to the bible. Because of the 1/10 rule, the church gained a lot of power and was very important in the middle ages.
Religious Tensions during the Middle Ages
The Catholic Church had so much power, that you can imagine that they had many conflicts with other religions. The tensions were rising between the Jews, Muslims, and Christians. They all had the same holy land. This place is called Jerusalem. To the Christians, Jerusalem is where Jesus lived and preached. To the Jews, Jerusalem holds a main temple. It is also considered the holy land, the land of milk and honey, by the Jewish faith. To the Muslims, Jerusalem is one of the two holy cities where Muhammad, their profit, preached. The other city that is considered holy by the Muslims is Mecca. The Muslims had control of Jerusalem at this time, and the Christians were determined to take it. The Pope let out the word that the Catholic Church needed an army to take their holy land. Anybody who joined the army was promised that they would go to heaven. This was the start of one of the biggest series of wars in history. It would be mostly the Muslims verse the Christians in a clash of swords, cultures, and life styles. On the way to war Jews were killed by the Catholics because the Catholics were determined to kill for their religion. These were the crusades.