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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years

I: Western Europe on the Eve of the Crusades,   pp. [2]-29 PDF (10.8 MB)

Page 23

and reclaiming forest, marsh, and waste, and the knights were developing
and extending feudal institutions, the churchmen were making similar progress.
The local administration of the church was clarified and strengthened and
an effective central government was created. At the same time missionaries
converted the Scan dinavian lands and labored among the Slays. Christian
Europe was both strengthened and extended. One of the most interesting de
velopments in local church organization was the development of cathedral
chapters. The bishops had always had officers and clergy who aided them in
serving their cathedrals. In the eleventh cen tury the more important members
of the cathedral clergy began to form corporations. Of great assistance to
this movement was the inclination of lay lords to endow seats or canonries
in the cathedral that could be used as refuges for unwarlike sons. The chapter
was composed of the episcopal officials such as the chancellor, treasurer,
sacristan, and archdeacon and a number of priests or canons. The chapter
had an elected head called a dean. The chapter soon became the body that
formally elected the nominee of the lord when an episcopal vacancy was to
be filled. In the eleventh cen tury also the itinerant agents of the bishop
called archpriests settled down as parish priests with supervisory powers
over their fellows. 
 During the ninth and tenth centuries the church had become deeply involved
in secular affairs. The extensive lands of the bishops and abbots were held
of lay lords by feudal services, and the prelates had to perform the functions
of vassals either per sonally or by deputy. Some doughty bishops led their
troops. in battle wielding a mace, which they insisted did not violate canon
law as it drew no blood, but most had secular agents called ad vocates to
head their levies. But the prelates were appointed by the secular lords and
invested by them with the insignia of their holy office. They served the
lords as counselors and administrators. As we have seen, the Capetian monarchy
owed what little power it had to the prelates it controlled and the German
empire was based on an episcopacy devoted to the emperor. This situation
was harmful to the spiritual functions of the church. A bishop should be
primarily devoted to his episcopal duties rather than to the service of a
lay prince, and an abbot who was essentially a baron was unlikely to be an
effective father to his monks. 
 As early as the tenth century this situation had alarmed. many devout men.
In the hope of improving the monastic system duke William of Aquitaine had
in 911 founded the abbey of Cluny. Cluny was forbidden to hold lands by feudal
service. A donor to 

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