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Preaching

church directed additionally christian

Preaching is oral teaching and exhortation, delivered to a group. Following Jewish customs of directed scriptural reading and interpretation in   *synagogue services, the early Christian church relied heavily upon preaching to gain converts and to inspire and instruct believers. Jesus directed the *apostles to preach and himself spoke frequently to both large and small audiences . The importance of preaching was emphasized by numerous early Christian theologians, a number of whom were famed as excellent speakers (e.g., Saints *Ambrose, *Augustine, *Basil, and *John Chrysostom) and whose sermons were written down, either by audience members or in self-authored collections. During the Middle Ages, sermons were delivered in churches and monasteries, additionally recorded in manuscripts, and became important aspects of the cathedral school and university curriculum. Widespread preaching to popular (nonclerical or university) audiences was given great impetus especially with the founding of the mendicant orders (Franciscans and Dominicans) in the thirteenth century. Preachers are represented in art standing before a group of seated or standing listeners, within a church, cloister, or public square. Additionally, Saint *Francis is often shown preaching to the birds and Saint *Anthony of Padua to fish.
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