The monasteries, numbering into the hundreds and sometimes thousands, were organized into national groups of Latins, Greeks, Syrians, and Egyptians, and then into choirs. Legend has it that around AD, a Theban Legion under the command of Maurice de Valois was sent to suppress a rebellion by Gauls in the north of the empire. On their way to Gaul, the Coptic Christians were encamped at Agaunum present-day Switzerland where they were ordered to sacrifice to Roman gods and to the Emperor in petition for victory.
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Maurice and his Theban Legion refused. When Maurice and his men continued their refusal, a second decimation was ordered, followed by another and another.
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The entire seven thousand Egyptian Christians were eventually martyred. Although the veracity of the story has been called into question, the legend of the martyrs at Agaunum spread far and wide. Between — AD, Sigismund, King of Burgundy, lavishly endowed the monastery established at the site of the martyrdom to ensure its success. In AD, the abbot at St.
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Choirs of monks would sing in rotation, with one choir relieving the previous choir, continuing day and night. This practice went on until around AD, impacting monasteries all over France and Switzerland. The Mappa Mundi, the most celebrated of all medieval maps, contains reference to a place on the edge of the known world: Bangor, Ireland. Why was this small, out of the way place, now a dormant coastal town fifteen miles from Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, so important in medieval times? Monasticism in Britain and Ireland developed along similar lines to those of the Desert Fathers of the East.
Antony, the father of monasticism. It is no surprise that the same type of asceticism which accompanied the monastic lifestyle in Egypt was also found in Ireland.
On a wing and a prayer
Patrick returned to Ireland having been enslaved on the island previously with a view to preaching the Christian message to the Irish. He was followed by a number of other ascetics—Finnian, Brigid, and Ciaran, all of whom established monastic centers throughout the island. While Christianity in much of the empire had been founded upon bishops overseeing cities and urban centers, Ireland had never been conquered and had no urban centers. The fall of the empire therefore had little impact on it, making it relatively easy for monasteries to become the center of influence in Irish society. According to the twelfth century Anglo-Norman Monk Jocelin, Patrick came to rest in a valley on the shores of the Belfast Lough on one of his many journeys.
Here, he and his comrades beheld a vision of heaven. Originally a soldier, he soon took monastic vows and was educated for his new life. He is next seen in the Irish annals as a hermit on Lough Erne. However, his rule was so severe that seven of his fellow monks died and he was persuaded to leave and establish a house at Bangor or Beannchar, from the Irish Horned Curve, probably in reference to the bay in the famed Vale of the Angels.
At Bangor, Comgall instituted a rigid monastic rule of incessant prayer and fasting. Far from turning people away, this ascetic rule attracted thousands. When Comgall died in , the annals report that three thousand monks looked to him for guidance.
Throughout the sixth century, Bangor became famous for its choral psalmody. The ascetic life of prayer and fasting was the attraction of Bangor. However, as time progressed, Bangor also became a famed seat of learning and education. There was a saying in Europe at the time that if a man knew Greek he was bound to be an Irishman, largely due to the influence of Bangor. The monastery further became a missions-sending community. Even to this day, missionary societies are based in the town.
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Bangor monks appear throughout medieval literature as a force for good. In Burgundy he established a severe monastic rule at Luxeil which mirrored that of Bangor. From there he went to Bobbio in Italy and established the house which became one of the largest and finest monasteries in Europe. Colombanus died in , but by AD, one hundred additional monasteries had been planted throughout France, Germany, and Switzerland. Other famed missionary monks who went out from Bangor include Molua, Findchua, and Luanus.
The greatness of Bangor came to a close in with raids from the marauding Vikings; in one raid alone, monks were slaughtered. Although the twelfth century saw a resurrection of the fire of Comgall initiated by Malachy a close friend of Bernard of Clairvaux, who wrote The Life of St. Malachy , it unfortunately never had the same impact as the early Celtic firebrands who held back the tide of darkness and societal collapse by bringing God to a broken generation. In the ninth and tenth centuries, Viking raiders and settlers were forging a violent new way of life in Europe.
Feudalism was taking root and the monastic way of life was shaken—not only by the physical attacks that Bangor experienced, but by the consequences of the raids, when many houses were subject to the whims of local chieftains. In reaction to this movement, reform came about in several ways, one arguably being the most crucial reforming movement in the Western Church: the Cluniac order. In , William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine, founded the monastery at Cluny under the auspices of Abbot Berno, instituting a stricter form of the Benedictine rule.
William endowed the abbey with resources from his entire domain, but more importantly gave the abbey freedom in two regards. Its autonomy from secular leadership was also important as the abbey was directly accountable to the church in Rome. The second abbot, Odo, took over in According to C. The number of monastic houses which looked to Cluny as their motherhouse increased greatly during this period, and the influence of the house spread all over Europe.
Cluny reached the zenith of its power and influence in the twelfth century; it commanded monasteries all over Europe, second only to Rome in terms of importance in the Christian world. It became a seat of learning, training no less than four popes. The fast-growing community at Cluny necessitated a great need for buildings. In , the abbey at Cluny began construction under Hugh, the sixth abbot.
It was finished by and was considered to be one of the wonders of the Middle Ages. More than feet in length, it was the largest building in Europe until St. Consisting of five naves, a narthex ante-church , several towers, and the conventual buildings, it covered an area of twenty-five acres. The Reformation of the sixteenth century saw much-needed reform enter the European church, which also caused the closing of many monasteries that had become spiritually dead. Zinzendorf was born in to an aristocratic but pious family. His father died when he was only six weeks old.
The above two astronomical measures can be obtained accurately from The Star Almanac, or can be calculated approximately. The following algorithm from U. Naval Observatory computes the Sun's angular coordinates to an accuracy of about 1 arcminute within two centuries of To calculate the prayer times for a given location, we need to know the latitude L and the longitude Lng of the location, along with the local Time Zone for that location.
We also obtain the equation of time EqT and the declination of the Sun D for a given date using the algorithm mentioned in the previous section. The above formula indeed calculates the midday time, when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky. A slight margin is usually considered for Dhuhr as explained in this note.
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However, due to the refraction of light by terrestrial atmosphere, actual sunrise appears slightly before astronomical sunrise and actual sunset occurs after astronomical sunset. Actual sunrise and sunset can be computed using the following formulas:. If the observer's location is higher than the surrounding terrain, we can consider this elevation into consideration by increasing the above constant 0.
There are differing opinions on what angle to be used for calculating Fajr and Isha. The following table shows several conventions currently in use in various countries more information is available at this page. There are two main opinions on how to calculate Asr time. The majority of schools including Shafi'i, Maliki, Ja'fari, and Hanbali say it is at the time when the length of any object's shadow equals the length of the object itself plus the length of that object's shadow at noon.
The dominant opinion in the Hanafi school says that Asr begins when the length of any object's shadow is twice the length of the object plus the length of that object's shadow at noon. The following formula computes the time difference between the mid-day and the time at which the object's shadow equals t times the length of the object itself plus the length of that object's shadow at noon:. In the Shia's view, however, the dominant opinion is that as long as the redness in the eastern sky appearing after sunset has not passed overhead, Maghrib prayer should not be performed.
Midnight is generally calculated as the mean time from Sunset to Sunrise, i. In Shia point of view, the juridical midnight the ending time for performing Isha prayer is the mean time from Sunset to Fajr, i. In locations at higher latitude, twilight may persist throughout the night during some months of the year. In these abnormal periods, the determination of Fajr and Isha is not possible using the usual formulas mentioned in the previous section. To overcome this problem, several solutions have been proposed, three of which are described below.
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