The Medieval Church

What is the Church in the Middle Ages?

stained glass windowThe medieval Church is the name given to the Church from roughly the 5th century to the 15th century AD (400s to 1400s).

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476, Western Civilization went through major changes, and so did the Church. One major development was the eventual official split of the Eastern and Western Churches, which occurred in AD 1054. This is called the Great Schism. This meant that the Orthodox East and the Catholic West developed in different ways, which led to the current division that exists between Catholics and Orthodox. This is one unfortunate development that occurred in the medieval Church.

While some scholars classify the medieval period as the "Dark Ages," others understand that many positive things happened during this period, both within the Church and outside of it. The medieval Church inspired such great saints as Thomas Aquinas, Dominic, Francis of Assisi, and Bede. Also many liturgical developments, such as Eucharistic Adoration, developed during the medieval period.

The Renaissance ushered in the end of the medieval Church. During the Renaissance, which means "rebirth," many Churchmen and secular thinkers returned ad fontes, "to the sources." This led to a rediscovery of Greek and Roman arts, humanities, and science. Many of the Renaissance humanists viewed the medieval Church with disdain, believing it to be an inferior period of Church history.

Updated 9-13-2018