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The Religious Life During the Middle Ages: The Ups and Downs of Religion

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DOI: 10.25236/icfmhss.2022.043


Benny Zhang

Corresponding Author

Benny Zhang


With the establishment of the church, which was dominant throughout this period, the Middle Ages saw a lot of religious conflicts. At the beginning of the Renaissance, this gradually led to the church's decline. This paper seeks to take a deep dive into the three periods of the Middle Age -- the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages. Each period characterises by its own features in the religious context. The main role, however, is played by the Catholic Church. It was a dominant force in the Early to High Middle Ages before its decline in the Late Middle Ages. People's daily lives in the Middle Ages revolved heavily around the church. In the High Middle Ages, the church was well-established. This period also saw the rise of the cult of the Virgin Mary, which was an embodiment of the ideal woman. While the church-maintained control over the people in the early years of the late Middle Ages, the masses gradually began to revolt. Peasants continued to practise their traditional practices and were taught prayers in languages they did not understand. Naturally, they felt compelled to adhere to their old beliefs, which Christianity did not recognise. Several reformers, like Wycliffe and Luther, prepared the stage for the scepticism of the church to finally take root. The Black Death pandemic increased the church's difficulties and ultimately contributed to its demise. Luther is regarded as the forerunner of the Protestant movement that led to the reformation. His criticism of the church as the intermediary between people and God posed a significant challenge.


Church, Paganism, Religion, The Middle Ages