Everyday life in mediaeval Finland was very different from the way of life of the Christian peoples of the Mediterranean. The climate rendered the agricultural yield considerably lower in northern than in southern Europe, and this had a significant effect on culture and society overall. But the involvement of the Church led in time to many common traditions within Western Christendom, resulting in the core of shared cultural values that we find in today’s Western Europe. A major contributory factor was the standardised education in Latin and the sacraments for the priesthood offered by the cathedral schools and universities in central and southern Europe.

  • A history of Finland by Hendirk Meinander

What does "sacraments for the priesthood" in this context? And how does a school "offer" such a sacrament?

Does "sacraments for the priesthood" mean the ceremony in which a man is turned into a priest by a bishop? Or something else?

And my other question is: What does it mean to "offer" such a sacrament? Were those schools offered a religious education and in the end they accepted their students into priesthood?

I'm aiming to translate this text into my own language and am not a christian. That is why I want to know detailed explanation for providing correct sentences.

  • the standardised education in [Latin] and [the sacraments for the priesthood] offered by... Commented Aug 17, 2022 at 8:27

2 Answers 2


"Sacraments for the priesthood" refers to a religious ceremony of induction in various denominations of Christianity.

As you correctly note, it is performed by a cleric with the rank of Bishop in the Catholic Church (which was pretty much the only Christian church at that time and place).

From a theological perspective, the passage is incorrect, as the Bishop, not the school "offered" induction.

However, from a practical/effective perspective, there are two additional factors to consider:

  1. Reforms from the Lateran Councils in 1119/1122 required various forms of religious and literacy education for those seeking to become priests.
  2. Most Bishops did not personally train the priests they consecrated or test them for such requirements, but delegated these responsibilities to cathedral schools and universities. So in the later sense, such educational facilities offered the education and certification to necessary to be come a priest in the period.

A sacrament is one of the seven holy acts that a (Catholic) Christian can undertake. They are Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. Each one is done with a priest.

In particular "Holy Orders" is the sacrament by which one priest (usually a bishop) blesses a man and makes him a priest.

The text says that the Cathedral schools offered training for would-be priests, and at the end of the training the applicant could be ordained as a priest by taking the sacrament of holy orders.

"Offer" is just the normal sense meaning "make available". Just as a grocery shop might offer sausages, and a modern university might offer a degree in maths, the cathedral schools offered training to become a priest.

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