Video: Why Christians Walled People Alive
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
In the Middle Ages, many medieval women and men voluntarily preferred to be walled up alive, which today raises many questions and bewilderment, but at that time it was commonplace. What was the main reason for this decision and why the hermits were walled up alive of their own free will - further in the article.
The life of hermits dates back to the early Christian East. Hermits and hermits were men or women who decided to leave the secular world in order to lead an ascetic life dedicated to prayer and the Eucharist. They lived as hermits and vowed to stay in one place, often living in a cell attached to the church.
The word monk comes from the ancient Greek ἀναχωρητής, derived from ἀναχωρεῖν, meaning to shoot. The hermit lifestyle is one of the earliest forms of monasticism in the Christian tradition.
The first reports of the experience came from Christian communities in ancient Egypt. Around 300 A. D. e. several people left their lives, villages and families to live as hermits in the desert. Anthony the Great was the most famous representative of the Desert Fathers, the early Christian communities in the Middle East.
He made a significant contribution to the spread of monasticism in both the Middle East and Western Europe. Just as Christ asked his disciples to leave everything behind in order to follow him, the hermits did the same, devoting their lives to prayer. Christianity encouraged them to follow the scriptures. Asceticism (a modest lifestyle), poverty and chastity were highly prized. As this lifestyle attracted an increasing number of believers, communities of anchorites were created and they built cells that isolated their inhabitants.
This early form of Eastern Christian monasticism spread to the Western world in the second half of the 4th century. Western monasticism reached its peak in the Middle Ages. Countless monasteries and abbeys have been built in cities and more in secluded places. Several religious orders were also born in the Middle Ages, such as the Benedictine, Cartesian and Cistercian order. These orders tried to incorporate hermits into their communities by absorbing them in the form of Kenobite monasticism. Since then, only a few people have continued to practice their faith, living as hermits, instead of joining a religious community.
The cities expanded and a new division of powers was created. During this social upheaval, many people were left behind, too poor to fit in. The reclusive life attracted many of these lost souls. The church was not against the hermits, but they knew they needed to be watched over.
Hermits were more prone to excess and heresy than monks who lived in communities. Therefore, along with the creation of religious communities, the Church encouraged the settledness of hermits by creating solitary confinement cells in which prisoners were kept. Thus, medieval women and men were cared for instead of leading a hermitic life in the woods or on the roads.
Hermits and, more often than not, hermits chose this way of life, and some were not only locked up in the monastery - they were walled up alive. The act of the ascension of the hermit symbolized his death to the whole world. The texts described the hermits as belonging to the "Order of the Dead". Their commitment was irreversible. The only way forward was to Heaven.
However, the anchorites were not left to die in their cells. They could still communicate with the outside world through a small hole in the wall with bars and curtains. The hermits needed the help of priests and devotees to bring them food and medicine and remove their waste. They were completely dependent on public charity. If the population forgot about them, they died.
In the 6th century, Gregory of Tours, bishop and renowned historian, reported several stories of hermits in his History of the Franks. One of them, young Anatole, walled up alive at the age of twelve, lived in a cell so small that a person could hardly stand inside. Eight years later, Anatol lost his mind and was taken to the grave of Saint Martin in Tours in the hope of a miracle.
Anchorites were an integral part of society throughout the Middle Ages, but they began to disappear at the end of the 15th century, during the Renaissance. Times of Troubles and wars undoubtedly contributed to the destruction of several cells. The Church has always viewed the life of hermits as potentially dangerous, temptation and heretical abuse were risky. However, these were probably not the only reasons for their gradual disappearance. At the end of the 15th century, seclusion became a form of punishment. The Inquisition imprisoned heretics for life. One of the last hermits of the cemetery of the Innocent Saints in Paris was locked in a cell because she had killed her husband.
Many fairy tales and legends tell about the stories of medieval women and men who decided to spend the rest of their lives walled up in small cells for their faith. As strange as it may seem, anchorites were indeed an integral part of medieval society.
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