The Book Of Kells: The Celtic Church

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During the era of the Book of Kells, the Celtic Church was an expanding institution that successfully dealt with many conflicts. The Books construction saw the Celtic Church spread through a decentralized and traditional missionary based adoption. The successful independent spread of Celtic Catholicism will be demonstrated by depicting the organizational structure of the church, common practices of the day, differences from Roman Catholicism, political affiliations, and Viking invasions. In the time of the creation of the Book of Kells, the Christian Celtic Church had a unique organizational system. Christianity was brought to the Celtic region of Ireland and Scotland in the late 6th century by holy British missionary saints such as Patrick…show more content…
First and foremost, the Celts promoted education and literacy to a high degree. The leaders of the church during the era of the Book of Kells thought that it was very important to study manuscripts; to do so the clergy and local population had to be educated. The clergy had to be able to read and write Latin in order to understand the texts of Christianity and create the sought after illustrated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells or the Lindisfarne Gospels. These manuscripts used detailed geometric patterns and hidden meanings to shed light of the teachings of Christ. Such detailed manuscripts were the crowning jewel of the Celtic Church during a long drought of European cultural triumphs. To this day the Book of Kells is one of the few masterpieces preserved from the Dark Ages. In addition, Ivar Gualt mentions that over time women were allowed to attend these educational religious centers in order to become nuns (Iona and Lindisfarne). The Celtic Church was the progressive educational center of many Celtic communities in the years following the fall of the Roman Empire. In addition to education the Celtic Church clergy had many traditions and practices that led to its adoption. Monks commonly shaved their heads and fasting and meditation were common (The Development of Christian Society). These traditions upheld the early forms of Christianity that…show more content…
The pagan Norse Vikings invaded Celtic Scotland and Ireland in force seeking plunder often at the cost of the local Celtic population. Since the monastery was the focal point of Celtic society, and consequently held the majority of the community’s wealth, the Vikings first attacked the religious centers. The first major raid saw the Norsemen take the monastery of Lindisfarne in 793 CE and robbed its treasures; the famous Lindisfarne Gospel illustrated manuscript miraculously escaped detection. Celtics saw this raid as a biblical redemption by God for the violent way that Charlemagne of France conquered its continental European neighbors and forcefully spread French Catholicism (Gualt, Iona and Lindisfarne). This again reinforces the independence of Celtic Christianity and its promotion of decentralized growth. Soon after the Lindisfarne invasion, Iona was sacked and set fire to for the first time. Two consequent invasions decimated the prestige and influence of the monastery of Iona. The Vikings killed 86 monks in 806 CE on the beaches outside the church; today this event is referred to as the “bay of martyrs”. Sometime during these Viking raids, the monks of Iona moved their treasured Book of Kells to central Ireland and the monastery at Kells for safekeeping. These brutal raids greatly weakened the aforementioned Dal Riada and Pictish empires; consequently leading to their

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