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What distinguishes Western culture from other world civilizations is its missionary character—its transmission from one people to another in a continuous series of spiritual movements. This independence of cultural leadership from political power was a main factor that produced the freedom and dynamic activity of Western culture. One of the most remarkable features of medieval guild life was the way it combined secular and religious activities in the same social complex. It was in the life of the Church and the extension of the liturgy into common life by art and pageantry that the community-life of the medieval city found its fullest expression.