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White Eagle, Black MadonnaOne Thousand Years of the Polish Catholic Tradition$
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Robert E. Alvis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271702

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271702.001.0001

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Baptized into Christendom (966–1138)

Baptized into Christendom (966–1138)

(p.1) 1 Baptized into Christendom (966–1138)
White Eagle, Black Madonna

Robert E. Alvis

Fordham University Press

Poland’s tenth-century initiation into Christianity helped transform it into an integral component of the western European order. It opened a channel for the cultural resources of Christendom, which were transmitted primarily by a stream of intrepid monks. They carried with them the gifts of literacy, numeracy, tested bureaucratic structures, and moral injunctions conducive to stability. Early Piast leaders demonstrated their appreciation by their enthusiastic adoption of Christianity and the patronage they showered on Christian institutions. The early phase of Poland’s Christianization was largely a top-down process, imposed by political elites who sometimes resorted to brutal methods. Their subjects were expected to abandon their gods and the myths and rituals that imbued their lives with meaning.

Keywords:   Benedictine Order, Bolesław I Chrobry, Gniezno, Mieszko I, Emperor Otto III, Saint Stanisław of Kraków, Saint Vojtěch

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