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The Formation of Christendom. San Francisco, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 532

Essay

Germanic and Latin Traditions

By the mid-eighth century, the medieval civilization of Western Europe was a blend of late Roman culture, Germanic and Latin traditions, and Christianity. The first Christian Roman Catholic Church unofficially started around 312 A.D, with the “controversial conversion” of Roman emperor Constantine(Dawson, 2008). Though he still worshipped the sun god Sol,hebegan blending his pagan traditions with Christian religion. Before Constantine’s conversion, Christians were persecuted for their refusal to participate in pagan rituals and to worship pagan gods. After Constantine’s conversion, Christendom began expanding throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. The rapid spread of Christianity occurred mainly because old traditions and customs were assimilated into the new Christian religion. Three of these modified Germanic and Latin traditions include, saints replacing pagan deities, Christian holidays replacing pagan festivals, and Mary, mother of Jesus, replaced the mother of paganism.

Saints replacing pagan gods was one way Christianity allowed new converts to continue their worship and devotion. Saints are people who after death are recognized as having special abilities and an extraordinary degree of holiness. One example of a saint whose name started off as a roman god is the Greek god Nike, who later became St. Nicholas. Another example is the roman god Mars, who later became St. Martin. Two final examples of this substituting of gods for saints is seen in Bacchus, god of wine becoming St. Bacchus and god Dionysius becoming St. Dionysius (Dawson, 2008).

Christian holidays replaced pagan celebrations in the new Christendom. An example of this is seen in Christmas. Now Christians celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, romans originally celebrated December 25th as the birth of their sun god, Sol. Another instance of reinventing pagan holidays by Christians is Mayday, a widespread Christian holiday, originally starting as the Saxon festival, Walpurgis Night and the Celtic festival, Beltane (Taylor, 2011).

Before Christianity, pagans worshipped the mother of paganism. After the pagans became Christians they still wanted to be devout to the mother of their religion. So they began to look upon Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, as a goddess. Many Christians today, pray to Mary and worship her just as much as her son, Jesus (Taylor, 2011).

Germanic kingdoms united

Even though Christianity was rapidly emerging as the dominant religion throughout Europe, many kingdoms were still at war with each other. This changed under the rule of Charlemagne. He was able to unite kingdoms through religion in two ways. First, he invaded and conquered new territories like France, Germany, and Spain. The outcome of this was the proliferation of Christianity to new parts of the world.  The next step Charlemagne took was to build monasteries in the rural areas to serve both as schools and to spread Christianity (Hughes, 2012).

Conclusion

Christianity is the most recognized and influential religion in the span of history. Today, it reaches people in areas all over the world with over 2 billion people following it. Christianity wasn’t always accepted and many were persecuted for practicing it. Expansion into new territories and teachings from monks and nuns, has made Christianity what it is today.

References

Dawson, C. (2008). The Formation ofChristendom. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Hughes, D. (2012). Germanic Kingdoms. New Orleans: Garrett Press.

Taylor, I. (2011). Christian Festivals. Retrieved from http://www.creationmoments.com/content/christian-festivals

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