Medieval Church Hierarchy

The Medieval time or era is a period in history which was categorized by the falling down of the popular Roman Empire. This period started around the 5th century but there is no accurate date bracket within which one can define this period.

During the medieval times, the religious system was under the power and supervision of the churches.  It was the Church which looked after the spiritual welfare of the society and most people followed its lead.  But within the Church, there was a certain hierarchy system which was followed.

This means that within a church, there were many individuals who were placed according to ranks. To know more about the same, you can go through the following given Medieval church hierarchy.

Medieval Church HierarchyThe Pope

The Pope, just like the modern times, held the supreme most important position in the Medieval Church hierarchy.  He occupied the position of respect, power and importance.  He was the head in Western Europe and was someone who most people preached during these times.  He supervised all the religious activities during this time and made all the important decisions.


Next in the line of the hierarchy of the church during the medieval times came the Archbishops. The Archbishops were the ones who worked as per the instructions of the Pope and tried to implement the rules made by him.  They performed tasks according to the guidelines of the head of the church.

Major orders

Major orders were basically a group which was made up of three subgroups of important persons who held high positions in the church during the medieval times.  These groups worked on the commands and instructions of the Archbishops. The following were the following three major orders:

Minor Orders

Under the major orders or groups came the minor orders that held the bottommost position in the church hierarchy during the medieval times.  The minor orders were composed of or divided into 4 subgroups and they are given as follows:

  • Lectors
  • Acolytes
  • Doorkeepers
  • Men studying at the church schools

Every person in the church was required to have their hair of head shorn in the Roman Tonsure. This process was not done casually but in a proper, religious manner. The head’s crown was totally shaved off and only a small ring was left around the head. The nuns were required to get their hair cut very short as well.