Christianity in Europe Was a Religion Of, For, and By the Elite.

(Christianity = Marxism-Postmodernism)

“All roads lead to Rome.

Christianity in Europe was a religion of, for, and by the elite. For example Catholic Mass was given in Latin until 1963. Did peasants speak, read or understand Latin? Not 12th century french peasants that is for damn sure. The elite nature of the church goes back to the original legitimacy of kings. When the Roman Empire collapsed there was a huge power vacuum in the conquered territories. The very small and very young Catholic Church held onto its dominance in Europe by holding onto the power of the ancient Pontiff Maximus. Kindling the ancient legitimacy and glory of Rome the Pope was the origin of authority in Christendom.

Here we have to interject a distinction between the Eastern and western Roman empires. In the Orthodox and Eastern Church the High Priest did not trump the authority of the Kings/Emperors. But, in the West the Pontiff (Pope) did trump the authority of kings. This traditional distinction between the two could go back to Caesar being Pontiff Maximus before being Emperor. And later Constantine being King who appointed priests.

Remember when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor? This was to signify that he stands over the authority of the pope. First off what we know today as France was not completely unified during the Middle Ages. It was actually a diverse place with a Normans, Franks, Goths, Anglo-Germanic peoples, and who could forget the Swiss.

If we start with the two hundred years between Charlemagne and the Norman invasion of Great Britain (East Anglia) in 1066 as a measure we can be assured that peasants in Europe were still very pagan. Charlemagne (crowned by the Pope) spread the authority of the Holy Roman Empire with a sword. Charlemagne is basically the ultimate Christian warrior king for Christ. If you do some digging you will find much of his kingship was spent on horseback spreading the word by spilling blood. He traveled collected taxes and asserted his and the Churches legitimate authority.

In Early Christian France alone there is a very very diverse group of peoples living together. So basically the average peasant would only know what they are told by the Church i.e. the divine nature of the king, the dominance of the Christ, the meaning of the divine birth, and the meaning of Christ’s death. What is interesting is the degree of which the early church in Europe actually adapted the rituals and practices of the people in Europe.

For exapmle we even today still celebrate, May first (Beltaine), Christmas (Saturnalia), Easter(Roman New Year), and Holloween (Samhaine). Have you ever played around a May Pole? Have you ever kissed under Holly? What about drinking at the modern New Year? All of these holidays (Holy Days) were originally pagan holy days. Is it not interesting how we still celebrate them? Did you know the puritan colony of Massachusetts had laws prohibiting all of the aforementioned Holy Days on the grounds that they were in fact Pagan!

So basically the early church appealed to the native religions of Europe by adapting their practices. Because remember, Europeans were the first conquest of the cross they had to be slowly integrated because there were far to many pagans to kill.

So in a TLDR answer to your question a peasant in early christian France would most likely still know about the ancient religion of their forefathers. They would be practicing Christians but the practices of villages across France would be markedly different. If you ever visit France you will notice village saints or church relics across the country. The peasants would know relatively know nothing outside of their small worlds. Being illiterate and with feudal system laws in place tying people to the land there was little opportunity for people to learn much about the world out side of what the local authority figures said. Those saints were once either pagan gods or heroes now forgotten and adapted by the Church. Those relics therein were once pagan relics. This was the only way the early church was able to survive in the Pagan stronghold of Europe. Through a conquest of integration built off of the once Omnipotent authority of the Roman Empire.

Remember Beowulf was written down in the 11th century the line between pagan and christian was still fairly thin well into the renascence. There are some, like Colin, who have even theorized that the Druids, and Pagan Kings went underground joining the church in an attempt to keep their ancient traditions alive.”

Edit: sources:

Viola, Frank and Greg Barna: Pagan Chritianity (2008)

González, Justo L. (1984). The Story of Christianity: Vol. 1: The Early Church to the Reformation. San Francisco: Harper.

Grabar, André (1968). Christian iconography, a study of its origins. Princeton University Press.

Morris, Colin (1989). The papal monarchy : the western church from 1050 to 1250. Oxford: Clarendon.

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