THE TENTH CENTURY
The 10th century Catholic Church was characterized by weak Popes and
bishops who were controlled by secular heads of states and clergymen
who were illiterate in spiritual matters and unfaithful to their
vows, and by religious orders that abandoned their original spirit
and had become worldly and corrupt.
Amidst such a dismal picture that would repeat
itself all through the centuries, monasticism would always rise up
to the challenge and renew the church. Thus, in the 10th
century, two monks, Methodius and Cyril guaranteed God's presence in
the church by an unbelievably successful missionary work among
Khazars and Slavic people of Eastern Europe.
The reform was further pushed by the
Benedictine monastery of Cluny, where monks spent all their time
praying and observed absolute silence. By their austere way of
life, they helped renew other orders and monasteries. Cluny
produced many holy monks who later on were chosen to be bishops. The
great Popes Gregory II, Urban II and Paschal II were originally
monks of the Cluniac monasteries.