Ecclesiastical life in the 17th century

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Ecclesiastical life in the 17th century

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    04-16-2010, 06:32 PM
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Ecclesiastical life in the 17th century

Found an old handout given to us back in some of my upper secondary school religious education lessons. Ecclesiastical rules from the 17th century. I think it'd be hilarious to share... No matter what you did, it seems that you always got a fine.



Ecclesiastical rules from Finland in the 17th century:

1. If a (wo)man arrives at a church drunk and then misbehaves there, verbal or physical way, but doesn't still manage to stop the service, he must pay a fine 2 silver coins.

2. If a (wo)man having a weepy child won't take him out and thus prevent others from hearing the sermon, she must pay a fine 3 silver öres.

3. If there are misbehaving parishioners in a church and the bellringer won't take them out, he must pay a fine 1 silver marks.

4. If a (wo)man reads a book during the sermon, he must pay a fine 1 silver marks.

5. If a (wo)man chats with others during the sermon, he must pay a fine 1 silver marks.

6. If a (wo)man lets his dog to escape, run into a church and bark there and thus prevent the service, he must pay a fine 4 silver öres.

7. If a (wo)man chats with others during the service, he must pay a fine 2 silver marks.

8. If a (wo)man, having a place at a balcony, spits or throws something down toward the parishioners under the balcony, he must pay a fine 1 silver coins.

10. If a (wo)man is working during the service; plows, sows, mows, fishes, hunts, fences or does something else secular, he must pay a fine 1 silver coins.

11. If a (wo)man doesn't sing for the praise of God at a church even he is capable enough, he must pay a fine 2 silver marks.

12. If a (wo)man tries to prevent parishioners from having an Eucharist, tries to trip them or does something else like that, he must be caught. If he's major, he must pay a fine 1 silver coins. If he's minor, his parents must spank him.

13. If a (wo)man offers booze to guests in a wedding or other party before singing a hymn, he must pay a fine 2 silver marks.

14. If the bellringer has gotten drunk and can't do his job when needed, he must pay a fine 2 silver marks, to church.

15. If the bellringer doesn't clean a church two times within a year and keep it and the fence clean, he must pay a fine 1 silver marks. Also if there's impurity in the church or the fence; human bones, rotten planks etc.

16. Also, if there's a hole in the fence, the bellringer must pay a fine 1 silver marks. That's when it happens, if the fence and the entry are otherwise fine.

18. If a (wo)man curses someone as a servant of the Devil, wishes him to become a victim of the Devil or become hanged or otherwise curses him badly, he must pay a fine 3 silver coins.

19. If a (wo)man starts to argue about his seat or something else at a church or takes a wrong seat without a legal permission, he must be scolded by the bellringer and sixmen [stewards of the parish]. He must also be asked to come in front of the minister and sixmen after the service. If he refuses to do that, he must be expelled from Eucharist until he agrees to do that. Besides that he must pay a fine 1 silver coins.

20. If a (wo)man runs a tavern and sells beer, booze or cigarettes before the service or during it, sixmen must seize his beer and booze and give it to the underclass. If a (wo)man buys and drinks before the service or during it, he must pay a fine 1 silver coin and take a place at a door of the church.


Besides that there was a excommunication for very stubborn cases who weren't that willing to follow the rules, despite of punishments:
The minister calls him from the public pulpit so he will leave his seat and won't participate the sacrament. The minister says to worshippers: "Brothers and sisters in Christ, as God has mercy, we can see and as you know that we have that disobedient lost lamb in our herd, the lamb who has decided to stand against us all. So for the church *name* will be asked out of his seat and expelled from the Eucharist now. May God will guard everyone against stubbornness like that and give great mood and mind enough to do right choices.


It was also pretty common that there were helpers for one thing at churches. Those helpers had long sticks with which they stang sleeping parishners who had fallen asleep during the service, trying to wake them up.
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    04-19-2010, 01:28 PM
LOL, I love the ones about the bellringer!

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