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The Papal Church and Universal Religious Orders: Western Christendom as a Highly Organized Religious Community

The Papal Church and Universal Religious Orders: Western Christendom as a Highly Organized Religious Community

Chapter:
(p.144) Five The Papal Church and Universal Religious Orders: Western Christendom as a Highly Organized Religious Community
Source:
Why Europe
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226532387.003.0005

This chapter discusses the papal church as a shaping force in European society and culture. The intensive transregional organization of the papal church and universal religious orders created excellent conditions in Western Christendom for social and cultural expansion and integration. The geographical range of the medieval papal church was much greater than the area encompassed by the European agrarian revolution. This was mainly true of its southern expansion. But in eastern Europe, the new agrarian system at no point jumped the border between the Eastern and Western Churches, and in fact hardly ever got that far. The feudal system developed when it joined up with the agrarian and the manorial systems. The scope of the medieval papal church went beyond “feudal Europe.” If the chain of specific and mutually conditioning features of Europe's unique path is pursued, then we find that the lands occupied by the imperial and territorial Estates were the first to overlap geographically with the papal church.

Keywords:   papal church, European society, European culture, Western Christendom, universal religious orders

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