Why is it that one's concept of the medieval church has a direct bearing on one's attitude toward ecumenism? What were the methods and strategies used to evangelize Europe as Christianity moved out of its Mediterranean birthplace? This book address these questions and many more that demonstrate the pervasive influence of the past on modern piety, practice, and beliefs. For many years, this period of church history has been ignored or denigrated as being the 'dark ages', an attitude fostered by Englightenment assumptions. Yet not only does this millennium provide a bridge to the early church, it created modern Europe, its nations, institutions, and the concept of Christendom as well. This book, written in an easily accessible style, introduces the reader to the fascinating interplay of authority and dissent, the birth and development of doctrinal beliefs, the spirituality of the common person, and the enduring allure of Christian mysticism.