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 WHAT IS THE CLERGY ?

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Merzhin
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Join date : 2008-12-19
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Location : State College PA (USA)

PostSubject: WHAT IS THE CLERGY ?   Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:07 pm

This term refers to the different ecclesiastic institutions of a religion. Thus, there is not ‘one’ clergy, but many. The word comes from the Latin clericatus, meaning ‘man of church’, the Latin coming from the Greek kleros, meaning ‘a lot’ but metaphorically understood as ‘heritage’, in the sense of 'heritage of knowledge'. It used to refer to the gathering of all the monks, priests, bishops, etc, of a given religion, in a given country.

All these characters were following a specific hierarchy; a hierarchy inpired from that of the Angels, from the farthest from God to the closest. Taking the example of Medieval Catholicism only, the commonly known hierarchical order was the following: Monk, Prior, Abbot, Deacon, Canon, Priest, Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, and of course … The Pope.

During the Dark Ages, a given country was often separated into 3 states: The Nobility, the Clergy and a third one, so unimportant that it did not even have a name: the Third State. The Clergy, though claiming poverty, was in the end much richer than the Nobility, and much more feared and respected.

Indeed, the Clergy was responsible of many important things such as given birth or granting passage to Heaven when dying. They were the link between God and men. They also were the doctors of the time, the healers, and most importantly, the teachers…

The Clergy was responsible of everyone’s scholarship and intellectual formation, in tune with their doctrine, of course. They were the crafters of ideas, the shapers of minds...
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