Father Najeeb Michaeel is an Iraqi Christian priest who speaks Arabic, English, French, Aramaic and Syriac, not to mention being able to read Latin and Greek. A few years back, he was overlooking digitizing of early Christian manuscripts. Read on

Hwæt, ic swefna cyst secgan wylle,
hwæt mē gemætte to midre nihte,
syðþan reordberend reste wunedon.
*
Lo! I will tell of the best of dreams,
what I dreamed in the middle of the night, after the speech-bearers were in bed.

The Dream of the Rood - one of the earliest Christian poems in the corpus of Old English literature and an example of the genre of dream poetry. It is sometimes considered one of the oldest works of Old English literature.

Original work and translation

Saint Olga (of Kiev)
It is a strange historical twist that the first “Russian” woman to be canonized in the Orthodox Church was a Viking warrior princess who spent much of her life as a pagan.
Olga earned her sainthood by becoming the first member of the house of Riurik, the dynasty that ruled European Russia and parts of Ukraine and Belorus for more than seven centuries (860s – 1598), to convert to Christianity. But the role of this battle maid in the spread of Christendom to the eastern Slavs is only part of her remarkable contribution to the history of Eastern Europe.
You can read the rest of the story about her here.
image: Baptism of Princess Olga by Sergei Kirillov. HQ

Saint Olga (of Kiev)

It is a strange historical twist that the first “Russian” woman to be canonized in the Orthodox Church was a Viking warrior princess who spent much of her life as a pagan.

Olga earned her sainthood by becoming the first member of the house of Riurik, the dynasty that ruled European Russia and parts of Ukraine and Belorus for more than seven centuries (860s – 1598), to convert to Christianity. But the role of this battle maid in the spread of Christendom to the eastern Slavs is only part of her remarkable contribution to the history of Eastern Europe.

You can read the rest of the story about her here.

image: Baptism of Princess Olga by Sergei Kirillov. HQ

Anonymous asked:

What do you know about Europe almost immediately after the Fall of Rome? Like the 6th century, was life still Romanesque? Were there still Roman polytheists?

There were, of course. Christianisation was a gradual process. Even early Christians had various patron saints for different aspects of life (they still do). The thing is that first northern kingdoms were also polytheistic. Main “exporters” of Christianity were Italy and Spain. 

When stronger kingdoms started to form, one of the main means of “getting people together” was religion. 

But before that, things were pretty chaotic. Swords and force were the only rulers. People wanted to get as much land and power as they could. It’s the same story after every major political shift.

Halloween in the Middle Ages
Although the holiday’s roots can be traced back to pagan practices, the name ‘Halloween’ is purely a Christian tradition that began in the early Middle Ages.
In fact, permitting pagan traditions to survive was a stroke of genius by the early christian Church.
Halloween is a descendent of the Celtic festival of  Samhain (pronounced sah-een) or ‘summer’s end’ in the original Scots Gaelic.
The celebration held on November 1 marked the Celtic New Year when dead souls were believed to walk the earth. ‘Soul cakes’ were left out for good spirits and lanterns were customarily lit - the modern version of the Halloween pumpkin - to ward off stray evil spirits that also happened to pierce the thin veil of the underworld during this time of year. So deeply imbedded was the Samhain tradition in the human psyche that it survived for centuries.
In the eighth century, the church finally named November 1 All Hallows Day (or the day of the holy ones) in honor of the saints. However, two centuries later, the Church followed the Samhain festival more closely by naming November 2 All Souls Day in honor of the dead.
Owing to the medieval custom of beginning observances the night before, the collective holiday began on All Hallows Evening, or Halloween.

Halloween in the Middle Ages

Although the holiday’s roots can be traced back to pagan practices, the name ‘Halloween’ is purely a Christian tradition that began in the early Middle Ages.

In fact, permitting pagan traditions to survive was a stroke of genius by the early christian Church.

Halloween is a descendent of the Celtic festival of  Samhain (pronounced sah-een) or ‘summer’s end’ in the original Scots Gaelic.

The celebration held on November 1 marked the Celtic New Year when dead souls were believed to walk the earth. ‘Soul cakes’ were left out for good spirits and lanterns were customarily lit - the modern version of the Halloween pumpkin - to ward off stray evil spirits that also happened to pierce the thin veil of the underworld during this time of year. So deeply imbedded was the Samhain tradition in the human psyche that it survived for centuries.

In the eighth century, the church finally named November 1 All Hallows Day (or the day of the holy ones) in honor of the saints. However, two centuries later, the Church followed the Samhain festival more closely by naming November 2 All Souls Day in honor of the dead.

Owing to the medieval custom of beginning observances the night before, the collective holiday began on All Hallows Evening, or Halloween.

The 1241 Treaty* between Livonian Order, Bishopric of Ösel**-Wiek and Oeselians

*The treaty granted the Oeselians several distinctive rights regarding the ownership and inheritance of land, the social order, and the practice of religion.

**The last Estonian county to hold out against the invaders, whose war fleets had continued to raid Denmark and Sweden during the years of fighting against the German crusaders.

Christina the Astonishing (1150–1224), also known as Christina Mirabilis, was a Christian holy-woman born in Brustem (near Sint-Truiden, Belgium) in 1150. She was considered a saint in contemporary times. Christina receives attention today for the strange descriptions of her miracles as much as for her faith. 
Her memorial day is 24 July.
image source

Christina the Astonishing (1150–1224), also known as Christina Mirabilis, was a Christian holy-woman born in Brustem (near Sint-TruidenBelgium) in 1150. She was considered a saint in contemporary times. Christina receives attention today for the strange descriptions of her miracles as much as for her faith.

Her memorial day is 24 July.

image source

Before being flooded by the new Lake Nasser in 1964, the site of Faras was excavated by a Polish expedition; the remains of spectacular buildings were discovered, including cathedrals.
This sandstone block comes from the first cathedral, forming part of a decorative frieze in the apse of the sanctuary chamber. Between the pillars stands a dove or eagle, wings outstretched, beneath a Coptic-type cross. Both birds were important symbols in Egyptian and Nubian Christianity - representing paradise.

Before being flooded by the new Lake Nasser in 1964, the site of Faras was excavated by a Polish expedition; the remains of spectacular buildings were discovered, including cathedrals.

This sandstone block comes from the first cathedral, forming part of a decorative frieze in the apse of the sanctuary chamber. Between the pillars stands a dove or eagle, wings outstretched, beneath a Coptic-type cross. Both birds were important symbols in Egyptian and Nubian Christianity - representing paradise.

Halloween in the Middle Ages
Although the holiday’s roots can be traced back to pagan practices, the name ‘Halloween’ is purely a Christian tradition that began in the early Middle Ages.
In fact, permitting pagan traditions to survive was a stroke of genius by the early christian Church.
Halloween is a descendent of the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sah-een) or ‘summer’s end’ in the original Scots Gaelic.
The celebration held on November 1 marked the Celtic New Year when dead souls were believed to walk the earth. ‘Soul cakes’ were left out for good spirits and lanterns were customarily lit - the modern version of the Halloween pumpkin - to ward off stray evil spirits that also happened to pierce the thin veil of the underworld during this time of year. So deeply imbedded was the Samhain tradition in the human psyche that it survived for centuries.
In the eighth century, the church finally named November 1 All Hallows Day (or the day of the holy ones) in honor of the saints. However, two centuries later, the Church followed the Samhain festival more closely by naming November 2 All Souls Day in honor of the dead.
Owing to the medieval custom of beginning observances the night before, the collective holiday began on All Hallows Evening, or Halloween.

Halloween in the Middle Ages

Although the holiday’s roots can be traced back to pagan practices, the name ‘Halloween’ is purely a Christian tradition that began in the early Middle Ages.

In fact, permitting pagan traditions to survive was a stroke of genius by the early christian Church.

Halloween is a descendent of the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sah-een) or ‘summer’s end’ in the original Scots Gaelic.

The celebration held on November 1 marked the Celtic New Year when dead souls were believed to walk the earth. ‘Soul cakes’ were left out for good spirits and lanterns were customarily lit - the modern version of the Halloween pumpkin - to ward off stray evil spirits that also happened to pierce the thin veil of the underworld during this time of year. So deeply imbedded was the Samhain tradition in the human psyche that it survived for centuries.

In the eighth century, the church finally named November 1 All Hallows Day (or the day of the holy ones) in honor of the saints. However, two centuries later, the Church followed the Samhain festival more closely by naming November 2 All Souls Day in honor of the dead.

Owing to the medieval custom of beginning observances the night before, the collective holiday began on All Hallows Evening, or Halloween.

The Dominican friars quickly spread, including to England, where they appeared in Oxford in 1221. In the 13th century the order reached all classes of Christian society, fought heresy, schism, and paganism by word and book, and by its missions to the north of Europe, to Africa, and Asia passed beyond the frontiers of Christendom. Its schools spread throughout the entire Church; its doctors wrote monumental works in all branches of knowledge, including the extremely important Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. Its members included popes, cardinals, bishops, legates, inquisitors, confessors of princes, ambassadors, and paciarii (enforcers of the peace decreed by popes or councils). The order was appointed by Pope Gregory IX to carry out the Inquisition, and from 1252 its use of torture was sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV.
image: Doctor Angelicus, St. Thomas Aquinas, considered by the Catholic Church to be its greatest medieval theologian, is girded by angels with a mystical belt of purity after his proof of chastity.

The Dominican friars quickly spread, including to England, where they appeared in Oxford in 1221. In the 13th century the order reached all classes of Christian society, fought heresyschism, and paganism by word and book, and by its missions to the north of Europe, to Africa, and Asia passed beyond the frontiers of Christendom. Its schools spread throughout the entire Church; its doctors wrote monumental works in all branches of knowledge, including the extremely important Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. Its members included popes, cardinals, bishops, legates, inquisitors, confessors of princes, ambassadors, and paciarii (enforcers of the peace decreed by popes or councils). The order was appointed by Pope Gregory IX to carry out the Inquisition, and from 1252 its use of torture was sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV.

image: Doctor Angelicus, St. Thomas Aquinas, considered by the Catholic Church to be its greatest medieval theologian, is girded by angels with a mystical belt of purity after his proof of chastity.

A cross within, or extending beyond, a halo is used to represent the persons of the Holy Trinity, especially Jesus, and especially in medieval art. In Byzantine and Orthodox images, inside each of the bars of the cross in Christ’s halo is one of the Greek letters ώ Ό Ν making up I AM—literally, “the Existing One” — indicating the divinity of Jesus. At least in later Orthodox images, each bar of this cross is composed of three lines, symbolising the dogmas of the Trinity, the oneness of God and the two natures of Christ.
image: Nativity and Transfiguration of Christ, with cross haloes; the apostles, angels and prophets have plain ones. Work by Kölner Meister eines Evangelienbuches.  c. 1025-1050

A cross within, or extending beyond, a halo is used to represent the persons of the Holy Trinity, especially Jesus, and especially in medieval art. In Byzantine and Orthodox images, inside each of the bars of the cross in Christ’s halo is one of the Greek letters ώ Ό Ν making up I AM—literally, “the Existing One” — indicating the divinity of Jesus. At least in later Orthodox images, each bar of this cross is composed of three lines, symbolising the dogmas of the Trinity, the oneness of God and the two natures of Christ.

image: Nativity and Transfiguration of Christ, with cross haloes; the apostlesangels and prophets have plain ones. Work by Kölner Meister eines Evangelienbuches.  c. 1025-1050

The Battle of Svolder (Svold, Swold) was a naval battle fought in September 999 or 1000 in the western Baltic Sea between King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway and an alliance of his enemies. The backdrop of the battle was the unification of Norway into a single state, long-standing Danish efforts to gain control of the country, and the spread of Christianity in Scandinavia.
image: The Jomsvikings (small ship) are joining the Battle of Svolder. (Scanned from the german histrory magazine Der Spiegel Geschichte (6/2010): Die Wikinger - Krieger mit Kultur: Das Leben der Nordmänner.)

The Battle of Svolder (SvoldSwold) was a naval battle fought in September 999 or 1000 in the western Baltic Sea between King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway and an alliance of his enemies. The backdrop of the battle was the unification of Norway into a single state, long-standing Danish efforts to gain control of the country, and the spread of Christianity in Scandinavia.

image: The Jomsvikings (small ship) are joining the Battle of Svolder. (Scanned from the german histrory magazine Der Spiegel Geschichte (6/2010): Die Wikinger - Krieger mit Kultur: Das Leben der Nordmänner.)