Christianity’s Contributions: Charity increased (Part 4)

As we finish this month’s blog series on the increase of charitable giving due to the influence of Christianity,  let’s detail the developments through time.

Orphanages were started by the Christian Church.  At first, Christians rescued abandoned children and raised them in their own homes.  After the legalization of Christianity by the Roman Empire (313 AD), children were then raised in orphanages started by believers.

In a similar way, homes for the aged developed in response to the need to provide assistance for the elderly.  Shockingly, the average adult life span was only 30 years!  There was due to the following factors: little medicine and medical knowledge, a high infant mortality rate, poor nutrition, rampant disease, and famines that devastated many.

During Emperor Justinian’s reign (483-565 AD), churches started these homes for the aged. Some would survive beyond the average of 30 years and eventually wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves anymore.  If these elderly were neglected by their family, the Church established centers to care for these people.

Eventually, volunteer organizations were made to aid for the sick, poor, starving, and abandoned.  While some worked in these establishments, others volunteered their time to help those in need.  Likewise, charitable groups like fraternal benefit groups, service clubs, the Salvation Army, the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), and the YWCA (Younf Women’s Christian Association) were started by Christians to help people.

 

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