Christianity

Determining the date of Christmas

For many centuries, western Christians have celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, while those of the Eastern Orthodox faiths have celebrated it a week later. How did experts determine the date? Andrew McGowan of Biblical Archaeology Review has some answers.

Pieta model found in moldy box?

Most people would not have given a second look to the junk in a moldy box in an antique shop, certainly not a small terracotta statue covered in paint and scotch tape. But an Italian art collector did look a second time and may have discovered the model for Michelangelo's Pieta. (photos)

Knights Templar in London subject of new book

The 13th century Temple in London, the headquarters of the Knights Templar in the city, is a round church, but it has also served as a bank and document storage facility. Christopher Howse of the Telegraph looks at a new book on the Templars, The Temple Church in London.

The Celtic tonsure

An article, written by Daniel McCarthy, of Trinity College, Dublin, entitled On the Shape of the Insular Tonsure, discusses variations in Christian clerical tonsures during the Middle Ages. The article is in PDF format.

Medieval religious building reflects modern conflict

In the 8th century, the caliphs of Cordoba, Spain constructed the magnificent great mosque. After their conquest, 13th century Christians rechristened the building a cathedral. Now the two cultures have begun to clash again over tourist signs.

Tudor labyrinth revealed by Luftwaffe photo

In 1944, a Luftwaffe cameraman photographed a ruined house in Northamptonshire, but what was revealed in the photo was much more important. The house was surrounded by an elaborate garden containing a Tudor labyrinth, a symbol of the owner's Catholic faith. (photo)

Child finds medieval gold in England

A 4-year old using a metal detector with his father has unearthed as 16th century gold pendant which depicts the Virgin Mary and other Christian symbols.

Middle Ages featured at the Cleveland Museum of Art

In addition to its famous medieval Armour Court and manuscript collections, the Cleveland Museum of Art will host Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe now through January 17, 2011.

Ognissanti Crucifix determined a genuine Giotto

For centuries, a 14th century, painted cross, housed at the Ognissanti church in Florence, was considered to have been produced in a workshop, but prolonged restoration efforts have proven that the five-metre-high cross is a genuine Giotto. (photo)

Want to see medieval relics? Try Niagara Falls.

Known for weddings and a monumental waterfall, Niagara, New York also boasts one of the largest collections of Catholic relics in the United States.

Advanced technologies planned to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls

Thanks to several major gifts, the Israel Antiquities Authority plans to digitize the entire Dead Sea Scrolls collection and "make the images freely available and accessible to anyone anywhere in the world on the internet."

"Vision" celebrates life of Hildegard von Bingen

Vision, a new film by German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta, tells the story of 12th-century Benedictine nun Hildegard von Bingen and her "her frequent skirmishes with the male-dominated Catholic hierarchy." V. A. Musetto of the New York Post has a review.

24 August 410: "the 9/11 of the ancient world"

On August 24, 410, Imperial Rome was sacked by an invading force of Visigoths from northern Europe, an event that has been compared with September 11, 2001 in the United States.

Dig hopes to uncover bones of 14th century Scottish bishop

A team of archaeologists is hoping to find the remains of Bernard of Kilwinning, the 14th century Scottish bishop who drafted the Declaration of Arbroath. The team is excavating a medieval monastery in the Ayrshire town of Kilwinning.

Guide for a True Knight

The Imperial Constantinian Military Order of Saint George, which follows principles dating back to the Emperor Constantin, seeks to bring their ideals into the 21st century. One way is through the "Quest," the Thirteen Rules of Chivalry.

Holy graffiti

Experts in Fife, Scotland believe a cross carved into the wall of a farm could be "holy graffiti" created by a 13th century pilgrim on his way to the tomb of Saint Margaret. The stone was later used to build the farmer's wall.

Faddan More Psalter most important Irish discovery since 19th century

The fragments of a vellum manuscript of a book of psalms dating to the 8th century has excited the archaeological community in Ireland who have called it the “most important day in the history of the museum since 1868 when the Ardagh Chalice came in."

"Significant" Roman find in Caistor, England

Archaeologists excavating a derelict pub in Caistor, England say they have a "significant" find with the discovery of a 4th century Roman cemetery containing over forty bodies. Orientation and lack of grave goods leads experts to believe the burials were Christian.

Medieval marital relations flowchart

Life was tough for married - and non-married -- couples in the Middle Ages, with rules for all manner of conduct. A flowchart created by James Brundage for his book Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe helps moderns understand. [PG-13]

Skellig Michael fort may have pre-dated monastery

The precariously-perched UNESCO world heritage site Skellig Michael, in Kerry, Ireland, is known for housing monks from the 6th through 8th centuries, but new discoveries may prove that an earlier fort existed on the site.

Gregorian chant: "ancient, unchanging and timeless"

The cloistered sisters of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation near Avignon, France have a record deal. Their album, Voices – Chant from Avignon, will be release in November 2010.

Tudor history course offered online by University of Exeter

The University of Exeter (England) will offer a non-credit, distance learning course entitled The Tudors: History, Culture and Religion for fall 2010. Deadline to register is September 15, 2010.

"Convivencia" explored in Second Life

In 2007, Rita J. King and Joshua Fouts collaborated to create Al-Andalus, a virtual Alhambra, on Second Life, in order to explore the concept of Convivencia, the "Spanish term for the harmonious 'living together' of Muslims, Christians and Jews in the southern Iberian Peninsula during the Islamic caliphat." (photos)

Medieval rosaries

SCA member Christian de Holacombe (Chris Laning), a medieval scholar from Davis, California, has created a blog entitle Paternoster Row to share some of her research on rosaries and prayer beads.

Oldest illuminated Bible found in Ethiopia

Researchers have dated the Garima Gospels to between 350 and 650 CE, making it the oldest known illuminated Christian Bible.

No proof Jesus killed on cross, says Christian scholar

The word translated from New Testament Greek as "crucifixion" may more accurately mean something like "suspension," says Gunnar Samuelsson, a Swedish theologian and researcher who describes himself as a "boring pastor."

Mystery of the Berlin Mummies

Unlike the famous mummies of Egypt, the preserved corpses lying in the crypt of a Berlin church are almost unknown. Although they are nearer to us in space, time and philosophy, no one is quite sure why hundreds of 18th-century German nobles were mummified.

Murals and icons from St. Nikita's Monastery online

Professor Michael J. Fuller has created a website featuring murals and iconography from Saint Nikita's Monastery, an 11th century Macedonian church rebuilt in the 13th century by the Serbian King Milutin.

Spanish pilgrim shrine blesses the Holy and the Digital

Don't have time to visit the shrine of Santiago de Compostela? Log in instead. "Armchair pilgrims" who cannot make the journey themselves now have the opportunity to light an electronic candle -- for a fee -- through a third-party website.

Vatican treasures at Missouri History Museum

Over two hundred rare works of art and historical artifacts are on display May 15-September 12, 2010 at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.