In the general sense it simply means a gift. Specifically, until the practice was discouraged by the Church, it was the giving of young children to monasteries to be raised as monks or nuns. This word could also apply to gifts of the non-person type that people customarily gave to priests in return for performing marriages, funerals, and other services.
Related term(s): Monastery; Monk; Nun; Priest; Monasticism; Abbey
Category: Western Christianity
Contributor(s): Natalie Kohout
Source information: Hollister, C. Warren and Judith M. Bennett. Medieval History: A Short History. 9th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
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