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date: 29 November 2020


The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
F. L. CrossF. L. Cross, E. A. LivingstoneE. A. Livingstone

During and after the Middle Ages, fraternities of many kinds were founded in the Church to meet the religious and social needs of clergy and laity. Their primary purpose was to secure for their members mutual support in death through Masses, prayers, and alms, as well as intercessions in sickness and other religious benefits. They also provided in financial and material ways for such contingencies as death, sickness, and natural disasters, and by social gatherings such as corporate meals they promoted fellowship and recreation. They aspired to foster peace and concord among their members by providing a forum for the resolving of disputes. Through their almsgiving they made a considerable contribution to the relief of poverty. Their distant origins lay in the ... ...

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