The Celtic Church


Course description

This course does not deal with modern Celtic spirituality, but with the history of the early church in Ireland and Scotland. Much of it will surprise you.

In this course, you will learn about the origins of Celtic Christianity and the first bishops sent to minister to peoples outside the Roman Empire. Monasteries served as centres for Christian teaching and prayer as well as cathedral cities for the bishops. You will see that the architecture of Celtic monasteries is very different from monasteries inspired by Roman buildings.

The new Christians didn't always behave in brotherly ways, and in the eighth century battles between hundreds of monks were recorded. The church reacted with the production of more gospel books, psalters and high crosses to better teach the precepts of Christianity. The ascetic order known as the Culdees was established to set an example to the more worldly among the clerics.

You will also learn the extent to which the paganism of the Celts survived conversion to Christianity and even influenced it, and you will hear about how the church dealt with the Vikings.

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