Christianity

Site of "national importance" trumps carpark in Donegal

“I am hugely excited by the discovery. We have definitely put it up there to be possibly on a par with Clonmacnoise or Inishmurray,” said archaeologist Mick Drumm of Wolfhound Archaeology about the recent discovery of a 7th century monastery at Drumholm, near Ballintra, Co Donegal, Ireland. (photo)

Illumination meets graffiti to celebrate the Lindisfarne Gospels

Dutch graffiti artist Niels Meulman, AKA Shoe, is no stranger to medieval manuscripts, having been inspired by such works as the Irish Gaelic poem Pangur Bán, so it isn't surprising that he has been chosen to help celebrate the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the north of England as part of an exhibition.

Medieval handbell re-created

Archaeologists know what early medieval handbells looked like from the "rusty shadows in the museum case" that still exist, but not what these bells sounded like. Now a team of experts from the National Museum of Scotland has re-created such a bell, "used by Scottish monks more than 1,000 years ago." (photo)

Luther pamphlets stolen from museum in Eisenach

Officials at the Lutherhaus museum in Eisenach, Germany were shocked to learn that three original 16th century printed pamphlets by Martin Luther had been stolen from the museum July 12, 2013. The pamphlets included hand-written notes by contemporaries of Luther.

A mendicant friar at Pennsic

Most people spend Pennsic fighting, going to classes, dancing, or just hanging out around the campfire. Not the case for Ercc Glaison, who chose to spend his War in the persona of a wandering friar. (photos)

9th century pumpkin patch revealed in Rome

Experts from the Vatican are excited by a pumpkin patch - one that was part of a Benedictine monastery surrounding the Basilica of St Paul’s outside the Walls.

Social media may help choose patron saint of England

There are two camps in England when it comes to who would be the best patron saint, St Edmund or St George, and both are being promoted in a surprising way: Facebook. While George has been the preferred saint since Richard the Lionheart, Edmund is gaining support.

Stone priory seal restoration complete

In 2011, English metal detector enthusiast Tont Burke found a treasure in a Survey field with the discovery of a copper 12th Century seal matrix of Stone Priory, bearing the image of the Virgin and Child. Now, fully restored, the seal is returning to St Michael and St Wulfad's church in Stone. (photo)

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.