Christianity

Lyminge excavations shed light on the "Dark Ages"

After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes moved in, bringing their culture and architecture to the country. The recent discovery of what is believed to be an Anglo-Saxon royal feasting hall in the Kent, England village of Lyminge is shining a new light on the 7th century in England. Jason Urbanus of Archaeology has a feature story. (aerial photos)

Medieval guide to witch hunting

What do you know about witches? Most modern ideas of witchcraft may come from a manuscript, one of only four known copies, found in the library of the University of Alberta. Treatise against the Sect of Waldensians, written in the 15th century, created the framework for witch hunts. Paul Kennedy of CBCRadio hosts an hour-long podcast on the book.

Digitization of Vatican Library faces challenges

A year after the project's announcement, the firist digitized volumes of the Vatican Library are now available online. Experts began with the library's "most delicate" volumes, including "the Vatican’s 8,900 incunabula (books printed before 1501): the Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written a millennia ago, a 4th century manuscript of the Greek Bible and the De Europa of Pope Pius II, printed around 1491."

14th century Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie comes home

A 14th century, hand-written copy of the Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie has returned to its place of origin after surviving the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the 1530s. The parchment manuscript, which was created to help the nuns of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire study and understand the Bible, is now on display at the abbey thanks to the National Trust which purchased the document at auction. (photos)

Research article compares historical and mythical versions of Saint Patrick

According to an article by Laurel A. Rockefeller, "Saint" Bishop Patrick as we think of him is far more myth than history.

Adrian IV last English Pope

The Conclave is over and a new Pope chosen, but the English never stood a chance. There has not, in fact, been an English Pope since Adrian IV in 1155.

Book of Kells now online

The Trinity College Library in Dublib, Ireland has announced that the Book of Kells is now available to view, thanks to the library's Digital Resources and Imaging Services. An iPad app of the book is also available.

Wool fleece helps date Christian church

A tiny scrap of wool fleece, found in a grave, has helped to date an early Christian church in Maryport, Cumbria, England. The wool, which dated to the 3rd or 4th century CE, showed that a structure, accompanied by Christian burials, was probably a Christian church from the late Roman period.

St Oran's Cross to return to Iona

St Oran's Cross, one of the world's oldest celtic crosses, will be restored and returned to Scotland's island of Iona in time to see the celebration of the 1450th anniversary of the arrival of St Columba. The 8th century cross weighs over a ton and will stand nearly 15 feet tall. (photo)

Swiss farmer relieved of 14th century debt

In 1357, A Swiss land owner, Konrad Müller, killed another town resident. In restitution, Müller pledged to provide for a sanctuary lamp at the Catholic church of Näfels. Finally the debt, passed perpetually to his heirs, has been declared invalid.

Knights of Malta celebrate their 100th birthday at the Vatican

February 9, 2013, marked the 900th birthday of the founding of the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic religious order noted for its charitable works. The group celebrated its birthday with a parade around St. Peter's Square and a visit with Pope Benedict XVI, who is himself a member of the Knights.

Pope tweets

Ancient meets modern when Pope Benedict XVI tweeked his first message last month - in Latin. Since that time, the Pope has amassed 2.5 million followers.

New Year magic in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the period after Christmas was a time for looking ahead to the new year. Practices included superstitions and methods to predict weather for the coming year. The clergy accepted some of the age-old rituals, but were loathe to allow others. A recent article for Phys.org looks at Christmas Day fortune telling.

Manx Museum to display 14th century bishop's seal

In February 2012, metal detectorist Andy Falconer discovered a silver seal on te Isle of Man in England. The seal was identified by the Manx Museum as a 14th-century bishop's seal, and have now placed the important artifact on display. (photo)

British MP calls for state funeral for Richard III

Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth believes that a state funeral would be appropriate for the recently-discovered remains, believed to be those of King Richard III. "I think he should have a state funeral because he is the last English monarch to have died on a battlefield," said Ashworth.

Masculinity in the Middle Ages

Dr Pat Cullum and Dr Katherine Lewis of the University of Huddersfield are hoping to learn more about what it meant to be a man in the Middle Ages. To foster scholarship, the two professor have created a new network, called the Bishop's Eye.

Dwynwen's church to be restored

Santes Dwynwen, daughter of Welsh King Brychan Brycheiniog, who died in the 5th century, is considered the patron saint of Welsh lovers. Now a ruined church at Llanddwyn on Anglesey has been scheduled for restoration.

Early Irish monastery discovery "beyond wildest dreams"

Archaeologists are excited by the discovery of an early medieval monastery in Carrowmore, Co Donegal, Ireland. The site was previously known as an early Christian settlement, but the discovery of a circular boundary wall leads experts to believe that a monastery was located there.

Driving Russia's Golden Ring

Despite the aggrevation of Russia's roads,  a road trip around the country's Golden Ring, "a circuit of about 10 ancient towns northeast of Moscow, each with its own set of glittering onion-domed churches and medieval fortresses," can be rewarding. Freelance writer iand a former Moscow correspondent for The New York Times, Celestine Bohlen, discusses her recent trip.

Mesa parishioners undertake "scriptorium" project

A group of women from St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Mesa, Arizona, have created their own medieval scriptorium. Under the leadership of SCA member Lee Kitts, the women have completed the Book of Genesis, with plans to finish the other 65 books of the Old and New Testaments. Maria Polletta of Azcentral.com has the story. (slideshow)

St Donnan's grave found on Eigg

St Donnan, who brought Christianity to Scotland's West Highlands, was killed by Viking riaders in the early 7th century. Now archaeologists from the University of Birmingham are investing remains found at Kildonnan Graveyard to ascertain if the body is that of the saint.

Spanish Inquisition follows priest to the New World

According to trial records, Catholic priest Pedro Ruiz Calderón not only practiced Black Magic, but he was really good at it. The trial took place as part of the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico City in 1540.

Scottish walkers revive ancient pilgrimage

"Pilgrimage is about remembering 'our journey toward heaven,'" said Cardinal Keith O'Brien who recently led a group on the ancient pilgrimage from Edinburgh to St Andrews, Scotland.

Celibacy resisted in medieval Church

Celibacy for Christian clerics was not required until the 10th century, and new research reveals that resistance was widespread.

German cloister windows grace English church

A feature in Vidimus Magazine, a journal dedicated to medieval stained glass, showcases twelve 16th century demi-figures found in windows at Holy Trinity Church, Hatton, Warwickshire, England. The figures depict Old Testament kings and prophets. (photos)

"Fake" shroud one of many

“The Turin Shroud is only one of the many burial cloths which were circulating in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. There were at least 40,” said Antonio Lombatti of the Università Popolare in Parma, Italy. His paper on the subject is scheduled to appear in Studi Medievali.

Artifacts discovered in 13th century Bulgarian monastery

A team of archaeologists has found a number of structures and artifacts, dating to the 13th century, from an excavation of the St. Peter and St. Paul Monastery at Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Scholar discovers "missing link" in early Gregorian chant sources

Researchers have long believed that no manuscripts of early Italian Gregorian chant survived, but Holy Cross professor Daniel DiCenso believes he has found the Monza manuscript, a source dating to the mid 9th century.

Controversy continues over role of Hagia Sophia

Devout Muslims in Istanbul are calling for the re-opening of the historic 6th century Hagia Sofia as a mosque. The move would break a Turkish law prohibiting worship in the monument.

"Absolutely fantastic" digitization project by Oxford and Vatican libraries funded

A US$3.17 million , four-year project, funded by the Polonsky Foundation, will make available for the first time materials from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford.