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I am curious how did, especially in missionary places like Germany and Bohemia in the Dark Ages and later Poland in the middle ages where infrastructure did not exist, get around to confirm every year? Or did Western priests still confirm people themselves at this period?  Did bishops visit each parish "regularly" as in every couple of years or did decades pass between episcopal visits?

I was read James Mitchner's "Poland" and in the village he mentions that a priest came and everyone was celebrating because they only came a few times a year, most of the time the priests were traveling to other locations and happened to come upon the village - which made me wonder how did the bishops confirm candidates?

I remember reading that the early Church had more bishops than priests (who usually numbered 7 at were stationed at the Cathedral) for exactly this reason - that is it was more practical to have lots of bishops be missionaries rather than presbyters.
In the era after the fall of Rome, cities ended up with bishops basically by public acclaim.  A visiting priest might get held over by a town and declared a bishop, then held until he could get proper consecration by another bishop.  It was a fairly loose system.
"Dark" Ages -- I absolutely DESPISE that term.  It is the so-called "Enlightenment" Age that we live in that is truly the "Dark Age."

Perhpaps one day people will begin to see that the so-called "Dark Age" was truly the Age of Light.


...Sorry, Tobri - I didn't really answer your question - WRC did a good enough job at that.  I just felt like a little mini-rant.   :mad:
(07-23-2009, 03:10 PM)WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]In the era after the fall of Rome, cities ended up with bishops basically by public acclaim.  A visiting priest might get held over by a town and declared a bishop, then held until he could get proper consecration by another bishop.  It was a fairly loose system.
While the system was a bit "loose," as you say WRC, it was not quite as simple as holding a priest ransom as bishop.   :)  A man would be commisioned (sent) to become bishop of a town in much the same way that happens now.  However, the local population did have great influence on who exactly was commisioned to become bishop.  The people's acclamation did not make a man bishop, nor did their acclamation force another bishop to consecrate the "bishop-elect."

As for Tobri's initial question, it depends on what you define as the "Dark Ages."  I assume you mean the period roughly from 500-1000 AD.  If that is the case, then many of the bishops were essentially missionaries.  They may or may not have had a permanent see, and they travelled frequently regardless.  There also were suffragen and auxiliary bishops that would venture through dioceses and mission territories to celebrate the sacraments as needed.  Priests were sometimes granted the faculty to confer the sacrament of confirmation, though sometimes they were forbidden from doing so.  When dealing with such a diverse area as "Germany, Bohemia and Poland in the Dark Ages," it is very difficult to give a good and proper answer since there are so many variables involved.
Thanks everyone for the answers!

(07-23-2009, 04:23 PM)Miles_Dei Wrote: [ -> ]As for Tobri's initial question, it depends on what you define as the "Dark Ages."  I assume you mean the period roughly from 500-1000 AD.  If that is the case, then many of the bishops were essentially missionaries.  They may or may not have had a permanent see, and they travelled frequently regardless.  There also were suffragen and auxiliary bishops that would venture through dioceses and mission territories to celebrate the sacraments as needed.  Priests were sometimes granted the faculty to confer the sacrament of confirmation, though sometimes they were forbidden from doing so.  When dealing with such a diverse area as "Germany, Bohemia and Poland in the Dark Ages," it is very difficult to give a good and proper answer since there are so many variables involved.

Yup, specifically the time between the fall of the Western Empire and rise of the Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire. I agree with everyone that "Dark Ages" when applied to the middle ages (the "Age of Faith") is completely wrong, but after reading Gregory of Tours I like use "Dark Ages" for the time between the fall of the Western Empire and the Christianization of Germany (500 to circa 800 AD) because I think it realistically recalls the cultural atmosphere of the era outside of monasteries - that is collapse of Roman civilization, the vast local wars that followed and specifically collapse of infrastructure etc
(07-23-2009, 04:23 PM)Miles_Dei Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-23-2009, 03:10 PM)WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]In the era after the fall of Rome, cities ended up with bishops basically by public acclaim.  A visiting priest might get held over by a town and declared a bishop, then held until he could get proper consecration by another bishop.  It was a fairly loose system.
While the system was a bit "loose," as you say WRC, it was not quite as simple as holding a priest ransom as bishop.   :)  A man would be commisioned (sent) to become bishop of a town in much the same way that happens now.  However, the local population did have great influence on who exactly was commisioned to become bishop.  The people's acclamation did not make a man bishop, nor did their acclamation force another bishop to consecrate the "bishop-elect."

I conceed that I am not a church historian, but from what I've read about St. Augustine, it was very common for a traveling priest to be "captured" by a city and held until he could get consecrated.  I'm sure there was some room for objection by a consecrating bishop, but I've read that it was basic acclamation that chose the bishops.
St. Gregory of Tours would probably describe his own time period as a dark age. Certainly, the period of 800 to 1400 saw a great deal of advancement and enlightenment. This is his preface to the History of the Franks:

History of the Franks, Preface Wrote:With liberal culture on the wane, or rather perishing in the Gallic cities there were many deeds being done both good and evil: the heathen were raging fiercely; kings were growing more cruel; the church. attacked by heretics, was defended by Catholics; while the Christian faith was in general devoutly cherished, among some it was growing cold; the churches also were enriched by the faithful or plundered by traitors-and no grammarian skilled in the dialectic art could be found to describe these matters either in prose or verse; and many were lamenting and saying: "Woe to our day, since the pursuit of letters has perished from among us and no one can be found among the people who can set forth the deeds of the present on the written page." Hearing continually these complaints and others like them I [have undertaken] to commemorate the past, order that it may come to the knowledge of the future; and although my speech is rude, I have been unable to be silent as to the struggles between the wicked and the upright; and I have been especially ­ encouraged because, to my surprise, it has often been said by men of our day, that few understand the learned words of the rhetorician but many the rude language of the common people. I have decided also that for the reckoning of the years the first book shall begin with the very beginning of the world, and I have given its chapters below.
(07-23-2009, 03:07 PM)Tobri Wrote: [ -> ]I am curious how did, especially in missionary places like Germany and Bohemia in the Dark Ages and later Poland in the middle ages where infrastructure did not exist, get around to confirm every year? Or did Western priests still confirm people themselves at this period?  Did bishops visit each parish "regularly" as in every couple of years or did decades pass between episcopal visits?

I was read James Mitchner's "Poland" and in the village he mentions that a priest came and everyone was celebrating because they only came a few times a year, most of the time the priests were traveling to other locations and happened to come upon the village - which made me wonder how did the bishops confirm candidates?

I remember reading that the early Church had more bishops than priests (who usually numbered 7 at were stationed at the Cathedral) for exactly this reason - that is it was more practical to have lots of bishops be missionaries rather than presbyters.

What did you think of "Poland"? I have it, but have not started it. I started "The Source" and just couldn't get into it. Mitchner seems to be one of those authors that everybody loves, but haven't read.
(07-24-2009, 01:00 AM)Mac_Giolla_Bhrighde Wrote: [ -> ]What did you think of "Poland"? I have it, but have not started it. I started "The Source" and just couldn't get into it. Mitchner seems to be one of those authors that everybody loves, but haven't read.

You doidn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway. 'The Source' is one of my all time favourites by Michener, followed closelu by 'Hawaii'. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Poland' but it was not one of his best books. He slacked off toward the end, 'Chesapeake' and 'Space' being other examples of good, but not great, historical novels.
(07-24-2009, 03:45 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-24-2009, 01:00 AM)Mac_Giolla_Bhrighde Wrote: [ -> ]What did you think of "Poland"? I have it, but have not started it. I started "The Source" and just couldn't get into it. Mitchner seems to be one of those authors that everybody loves, but haven't read.

You doidn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway. 'The Source' is one of my all time favourites by Michener, followed closelu by 'Hawaii'. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Poland' but it was not one of his best books. He slacked off toward the end, 'Chesapeake' and 'Space' being other examples of good, but not great, historical novels.

Did you find "The Source" had to get into at the beginning? I'm just wandering if I should just push through. I'm bad about dropping a book if I can't get through the first chapter or two and never pick it back up.
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