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Middeleeuse klooster

Middeleeuse klooster

'N Middeleeuse klooster was 'n omheinde en soms afgeleë gemeenskap van monnike onder leiding van 'n abt wat wêreldse goedere vermy het om 'n eenvoudige lewe van gebed en toewyding te lei. Christelike kloosters het eers in die 4de eeu in Egipte en Sirië ontwikkel, en teen die 5de eeu het die idee na Wes -Europa versprei.

Sulke figure soos Sint Benedictus van Nursia (omstreeks 543), die stigter van die Benediktynse orde, het reëls bepaal waarvolgens die monnike moet lewe en dit is in verskillende eeue in verskillende eeue nageboots en gevolg, ook in die kloosters wat vandag oorleef. Alhoewel hul lede arm was, was die kloosters self ryk en kragtige instellings, wat rykdom versamel het uit grond en besittings wat aan hulle geskenk is. Kloosters was ook belangrike leersentrums wat die jongmense opgevoed het, en miskien die belangrikste vir die hedendaagse historici, moeisame boeke geproduseer en antieke tekste bewaar het, wat ons kennis van nie net die Middeleeuse wêreld nie, maar ook die klassieke oudheid baie verbeter het.

MONNE WORD VERWAG OM TE GAAN OOR HULLE BESIGHEID STAANLIK, DRA EENVOUDIGE ROERE KLERE EN VERGET ALLES, MAAR DIE MEES BASIESE ITEMS VAN PERSOONLIKE EIENDOM.

Oorsprong en ontwikkeling

Vanaf die 3de eeu nC het daar 'n neiging ontwikkel in Egipte en Sirië, waar sommige Christene besluit het om 'n eensame kluisenaar of asket te lewe. Hulle het dit gedoen omdat hulle gedink het dat hulle sonder enige materiële of wêreldse afleiding 'n groter begrip van en nabyheid aan God sou verkry. Daarbenewens, wanneer vroeë Christene vervolg is, is hulle soms noodsaaklik gedwing om in afgeleë berggebiede te woon waar die noodsaaklikhede van die lewe ontbreek. Namate hierdie individualiste in getal gegroei het, het sommige van hulle in gemeenskappe begin saamleef, maar het hulself afgesny van die res van die samelewing en hulself geheel en al toegewy aan gebed en die bestudering van die Skrif. Aanvanklik het lede van hierdie gemeenskappe saam gewoon op 'n plek wat bekend staan ​​as 'n lavra waar hulle hul eensame lewe voortgesit het en net saamgekom het vir godsdienstige dienste. Hulle leier, 'n abba (vandaar die latere 'abt') het hierdie individualiste gelei - hulle is genoem monachos in die Grieks om die rede, wat afgelei is van mono wat 'een' beteken, en wat die oorsprong van die woord 'monnik' is.

Een van die vroegste askete wat begin het met die organisering van kloosters waar monnike meer gemeenskaplik woon, was Pachomios (ongeveer 290-346), 'n Egiptiese en voormalige soldaat wat, miskien geïnspireer deur die doeltreffendheid van die Romeinse leërkampe, nege kloosters vir mans en twee vir vroue gestig het by Tabennisi in Egipte. Hierdie eerste gemeenskaplike (cenobitiese) kloosters is geadministreer volgens 'n lys reëls wat deur Pachomios opgestel is, en hierdie leefstyl (koinobion), waar monnike in 'n daaglikse roetine saam gewoon, gewerk en aanbid het, met al die eiendom wat gemeen is en 'n abt hulle bedien, het die algemene model geword in die Bisantynse tydperk.

Die volgende stap op die pad na die tipe klooster wat gedurende die Middeleeue standaard geword het, is in die 4de eeu deur Basil van Caesarea (oftewel Saint Basil of Basil the Great, c. 330-c. 379) gemaak. Basil het self die kloosters in Egipte en Sirië gesien, en hy wou dit in die Oos -Romeinse/Bisantynse Ryk weergee. Basil voeg 'n ekstra dimensie toe met sy oortuiging dat monnike nie net moet saamwerk vir gemeenskaplike doelwitte nie, maar ook moet bydra tot die breër gemeenskap. Bisantynse kloosters was onafhanklike organisasies met hul eie reëls en regulasies vir broermonnike.

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Die Benediktynse Orde

Vanaf die 5de eeu nC het die idee van kloosters versprei oor die Bisantynse Ryk en daarna na Wes-Europa, waar hulle hul eie praktyke aangeneem het op grond van die leerstellings van die Italiaanse abt Sint Benedictus van Nursia (ongeveer 480-543), beskou as die stigter van die Europese kloostermodel. Benedictus self stig 'n klooster in Monte Cassino in Italië. Die Benediktynse orde het sy lede aangemoedig om so eenvoudig as moontlik te leef met eenvoudige kos, basiese huisvesting en so min besittings as wat prakties was. Daar word van die monnike verwag om saam te woon in 'n gedeelde gemeenskap van wedersydse hulp en waaksaamheid, wat deelneem aan die fisiese arbeid wat nodig is om die klooster ekonomies selfversorgend te maak, sowel as om godsdiensstudies en gebed te onderneem. Daar was 'n stel regulasies - gesamentlik bekend as die kloosterreël (regula) - dat monnike moes volg, alhoewel die erns en praktiese toepassing daarvan grootliks te wyte was aan die individuele abde wat met absolute gesag in elke klooster regeer het. Vroue kon ook die kloosterlewe as nonne in abdye en nunnies leef.

Kloosters, wat baie gehelp is deur belastingverligting en skenkings, het gesofistikeerdheid en rykdom gegroei, sodat namate die middeleeue met fisieke arbeid minder geword het, dit vir monnike noodsaaklik was omdat hulle nou kon vertrou op die pogings van leke -broers, huurarbeiders van diensknegte (onvrye arbeiders) ). Gevolglik kon monnike in die hoë Middeleeue meer tyd bestee aan wetenskaplike strewes, veral om middeleeuse kloosterspesialiteite soos verligte manuskripte te produseer.

Die Cisterciënzer Orde

Vanaf die 11de eeu het nuwe orde begin verskyn, veral die Cisterciënzer orde (gevorm in 1098), grootliks omdat sommige monnike 'n nog strenger leefstyl vir hulself wou hê as wat die Benediktyne kon bied. Die Cisterciënzer orde het baie meer klem gelê op godsdiensstudies en die fisieke arbeidsmonnike wat na verwagting sou verrig, tot 'n minimum beperk. Arbeid soos om die landbougrond van die klooster te bewerk of brood te bak, is in plaas daarvan gedoen deur huurarbeid of leke broers wat nie vol monnike was nie. In ooreenstemming met hul ernstiger lewenstyl, was die Cisterciënzer kloosters ook op meer afgeleë plekke as die Benediktyners geleë, en het hulle eenvoudige geboue met 'n minimum gesnyde klipwerk, binneversierings en selfs gerief.

Vanaf die 13de eeu het daar 'n ander tak van die asketiese lewe ontwikkel, bestaande uit broeders wat alle materiële goedere verwerp het en nie in kloostergemeenskappe gewoon het nie, maar as individue wat heeltemal afhanklik was van die uitdeel van goedgesindes. Die heilige Franciscus van Assisi (ongeveer 1181-1260) het beroemd 'n mendikant (bedel-) orde ingestel, die Franciskane, wat daarna deur die Dominikane (ongeveer 1220) en daarna deur die Karmeliete (laat 12de eeu) en Augustiniërs (1244) nageboots is .

Daaglikse lewe

Kloosters het baie groot geword, met die kleineres wat net 'n dosyn monnike gehad het, en moontlik gelei deur 'n prior in plaas van 'n abt. Groter mense, soos Cluny Abbey in Frankryk (gestig ongeveer 910), spog met 460 monnike op sy hoogtepunt in die 12de eeu, maar dit lyk asof ongeveer 100 broers 'n tipiese getal vir die meeste kloosters was. Die abt is deur die senior monnike gekies en het lewenslank die taak gehad. Hy is bygestaan ​​deur 'n vorige en die monnike met spesifieke administratiewe pligte, die gehoorsaamheid, wat na verskeie aspekte van die klooster omgesien het, soos die kerk, godsdiensdienste, die biblioteek, inkomste uit boedels, die voedselwinkels of die wynkelder. Die abt verteenwoordig die klooster in die buitewêreld, byvoorbeeld by vergaderings van die orde of by vergaderings wat met die bestuur van die klooster se boedels verband hou.

Gewone monnike het natuurlik eenvoudige lewens geleef. Aangesien monnike gewoonlik nie die klooster mag verlaat nie, is hulle dag bestee aan landbou -take en godsdiensstudies, insluitend die lees van vaste tekste, die kopiëring van boeke om nuwe verligte manuskripte te maak, die leer van oblates (jong mannetjies) of nuwelinge (leerlingmonnike) en om te sê gebede (wat amptelik geklassifiseer is as 'werk' of liewer 'God se werk'). Die dag, en selfs die nag, is gereeld deur godsdienstige dienste en die oggend -hoofstukbyeenkoms onder die loep geneem toe al die monnike vergader het om die aangeleenthede van die klooster te bespreek. Na verwagting gaan hulle meestal stil, hul gewone klere aantrek en alles behalwe die mees basiese items van persoonlike eiendom laat vaar, maar die voordele van die monnike was ordentlike kos en drank gedurende die jaar, elke dag een hoofmaaltyd (of twee) in die winter).

Die hart van die klooster was die klooster, 'n arcade rondom 'n oop vierkantige ruimte.

Die klooster se geboue

Kloosters wissel in grootte en daarom het hul behoefte aan sekere geboue verskil. Soms het aardrykskunde soms argitektuur voorgeskryf, soos met die afgeleë bergkloosters by Meteora in Griekeland of die Benediktynse abdij op die gety-eiland Mont-Saint-Michel in Frankryk. Baie het egter wesenlike argitektoniese kenmerke gedeel en die grondplanne in die hart van 'n Europese klooster was opmerklik konsekwent gedurende die Middeleeue. Kloosters het dikwels hoë ommuurde mure, maar of dit hoofsaaklik daarop gemik was om gewone mense weg te hou of die monnike binne, is 'n belangrike punt. Toegang van buite was deur die hoofhek.

Die hart van die klooster was die klooster: 'n arcade rondom 'n oop vierkantige ruimte. Toegang tot die klooster was gewoonlik beperk en niemand buite die kloostergemeenskap mag dit sonder toestemming binnegaan nie. Die klooster was een van die min gebiede waar die monnike vryelik kon praat en hier is die nuwelinge geleer en take gedoen, soos om 'n mes op die klipsteen te slyp of klere in groot klipbakke te was.

Aangrensend aan die klooster was die kerk met 'n kloktoring, belangrik om die monnike tot diens te roep. Daar was pakhuise, uitgebreide kelders vir voedsel- en wynberging, en miskien ook stalle. Daar was 'n hoofhuis vir die daaglikse algemene vergadering, 'n biblioteek en, na die suide vir die beste lig, 'n scriptorium waar die boeke deur die monnike gemaak is. Gemeenskaplike maaltye is in die sitkamer met sy lang houttafels geëet. Aangrensend aan die sitkamer was kombuise, 'n bakkery en 'n tuin waar groente en kruie verbou en vis in 'n dam gehou word. Langs die refterium was ook die calefectory, die enigste verhitte kamer in die klooster (behalwe die kombuise), waar monnike 'n kort rukkie in die winter kon gaan opwarm. Daar was afsonderlike slaapsale vir die monnike, die oblates en die nuwelinge.

Buite die klooster was aanvullende geboue wat afhang van die grootte van die klooster. Daar is moontlik 'n siekeboeg vir bejaardes en siekes met sy eie kombuise. Die lekebroeders het in hul eie woonstelgebou gewoon, gewoonlik in 'n buite -binnehof, wat gewoonlik 'n eie kombuis gehad het, aangesien daar kos kon word wat die monnike nie mag eet nie. Daar is moontlik 'n ekstra akkommodasiegebou vir reisigers en werkswinkels waar sekere geskoolde werkers soos kleermakers, goudsmede of glasers gewerk het. Daar kan ook net 'n begraafplaas vir die monnike wees en 'n ander begraafplaas vir belangrike plaaslike inwoners.

Die sanitasie van 'n redelike groot klooster was een van die beste wat oral in die Middeleeuse wêreld gevind kon word. Cluny het 'n latrineblok met 'n indrukwekkende 45 hokkies wat in 'n dreineringskanaal leegloop, waardeur water uit 'n nabygeleë stroom gelei het. Daar kan ook 'n badhuis in die groter kloosters wees, selfs al word gereeld bad as 'n onnodige luukse vir monnike beskou.

Kloostermag

'N Groot klooster was baie soos 'n middeleeuse kasteel of herenhuis, omdat dit 'n omliggende gebied beheer en in wese al die elemente bevat wat in 'n klein dorpie van die tydperk gevind sou word. In die herenstelsel van Europa is grond gewoonlik opgedeel in gebiede wat bekend staan ​​as landgoed - die kleinste landgoed wat 'n paar honderd hektaar groot was en dus 'n inkomste aan 'n heer en sy gesin kon lewer. 'N Klooster het landgoed deur skenkings bekom en kan dus baie uiteenlopende boedels bestuur met hul inkomste wat almal in die kas van die klooster vloei. Ander skenkings kan eiendomme in dorpe of selfs kerke insluit, en meer geld kom uit huurgeld en tiendes. Die rykes het sulke skenkings gemaak om hul plaaslike aansien te verhoog; dit is nie toevallig dat daar in Engeland en Wallis byvoorbeeld tussen die 11de-15de eeu 167 kastele en kloosters langs mekaar gebou is nie. Boonop kan die heer, deur te help met die oprigting van 'n klooster, wesenlik baat by die opbrengs daarvan en miskien sy siel in die volgende lewe beskerm, beide deur die aksie van sy skenking en die hoeveelheid gebede wat in sy naam as gevolg daarvan gesê word. Bykomend tot hul inkomste uit skenkings, grondhuur en die verkoop van goedere uit sulke grond, het baie kloosters geld ingesamel deur markte te hou en handwerkgoed te vervaardig, terwyl sommige selfs die reg gehad het om hul eie muntstukke te slaan.

Kloosters, as instellings vol opvoeders en geleerdes, was ook nuttig vir die staat. Monarge gebruik monnike gereeld, met hul vaardighede in Latyn en dokumentasie, in hul koninklike skryfkantore of 'n klooster self het die funksie vervul. Ons weet byvoorbeeld dat die Winchombe-klooster in Gloucestershire, Engeland en die abdij Saint-Wandrille naby Rouen in Frankryk, as 'n koninklike argief in die 9de eeu vir hul onderskeie koninkryke gebruik is. Boonop het groot kloosters die aristokrasie opgevoed en het hulle dikwels gespesialiseerde onderrigfasiliteite, soos by die Whitby Abbey in Noordoos-Engeland, wat 'n lang rits biskoppe opgevoed het en die heilige Johannes van Beverley († 721) onder sy alumni gereken het.

Gemeenskapsrol en nalatenskap

'N Klooster het die plaaslike gemeenskappe geestelike leiding gegee; die kerk was dikwels vir groter openbare gebruik, dit het werk gegee, en die monnike het opleiding gegee, heilige oorblyfsels bewaak, die pelgrims wat kom kuier het, na weeskinders, siekes en bejaardes gekyk en daagliks kos, drank gegee en aalmoese vir die armes. Monnike het tallose historiese dokumente van onskatbare waarde geproduseer en gekopieer, soos godsdiensverhandelinge, biografieë van heiliges en streekgeskiedenisse. Hulle verligte manuskripte het wêreldwye bekendheid verwerf en bevat oorlewende meesterstukke soos die Book of Kells en die Lindisfarne -evangelies.

Kloosters het die kunste geborg, veral die vervaardiging van fresco's en mosaïeke binne die klooster en die breë wêreld om die Christelike boodskap te versprei. Kloosters was ook noodsaaklike (indien nie altyd suksesvolle) beskermers van kuns en historiese dokumente nie, veral in tye van onrus soos oorlogvoering, Viking -aanvalle of ketterye soos ikonoklasma in die 8ste en 9de eeu nC toe godsdienstige kuns meedoënloos vernietig en as godslasterlik beskou is . As gevolg van hierdie pogings kan ons vandag tekste lees, nie net uit die Middeleeue nie, maar ook uit die oudheid danksy die arbeid van kopiistiese monnike en die kloosters wat die tekste bewaar het.

Kloosters was so bloeiende en stabiele gemeenskappe dat baie van hulle 'n periferie van huishoudelike en funksionele geboue verkry het waar mense permanent woon en gewerk het om die monnike te voorsien van wat hulle nodig het. Gevolglik is baie dorpe vandag geleë waar hulle is, omdat daar vroeër 'n klooster was. Laastens is daar nog baie middeleeuse kloosters wat funksioneer, soos die op Meteora of die berg Athos in Griekeland, wat self 'n lewende verbinding met die verlede is en steeds hulp verleen aan die behoeftiges van die samelewing.


Middeleeuse klooster

Middeleeuse klooster
Die Middeleeuse klooster is gedurende die Middeleeue gestig. Die eerste tipe Middeleeuse klooster het voldoen aan die Benediktynse reël, wat in 529 nC deur die Sint Benedictus gestig is. Verskillende ordes van monnike is ook gedurende die Middeleeue gevestig. Die belangrikste orde van die Middeleeuse monnike was die Benediktyne, die Cisterciensers en die Kartusiërs. Hierdie kloosterordes verskil hoofsaaklik in die besonderhede van hul godsdienstige waarneming en hoe streng hulle reëls toegepas is. In die twaalfde eeu is vier honderd en agtien kloosters in die volgende eeu in Engeland gestig, slegs ongeveer 'n derde soveel. In die veertiende is slegs drie en twintig kloosters in Engeland gestig.


Middeleeuse kloosters

Danksy die toewyding van die Middeleeuse mense was kloosters in die Middeleeuse Engeland selfs ryker as konings en het hulle die bestuur van die kerk oorgeneem.

Een van die redes waarom kloosters so ryk was, was die gratis arbeid wat die plaaslike bevolking aan hulle gebied het, wat op die kerkgrond sou werk omdat hulle oortuig was dat dit hulle sou help om die hel te vermy en na die dood die hemel in te gaan.

Daarbenewens sou middeleeuse mense die kerk betaal vir doop, huwelik en begrafnisse, en sou hulle ook 'n tiende gee - 'n tiende van hul gesin se jaarlikse inkomste. As gevolg van hierdie gereelde betalings van 'n groot aantal mense, was die kerk ongelooflik ryk en het hy 'n groot hoeveelheid grond gekry waarop kloosters gebou kon word.

Fountains Abbey Monastery

Soos met die kerk, is die kloostergrond gratis deur die plaaslike bevolking bewerk. Geskiedkundiges glo dat die kloosters daarvan bewus was dat hulle voordeel trek uit mense se oortuigings deur dit vir hul voordeel te bewerkstellig, maar daar word vermoed dat die monnike wat in die kloosters woon en werk, werklik glo dat hierdie arbeid die enigste redding vir die plaaslike bevolking is.

Baie kloosters het egter 'n aantal pligte vir hul gemeenskappe gelewer, waaronder monnike om hul gesondheidsorg in hul eie hospitaal te lewer. 'N Aantal kloosters het ook opleidingsentrums verskaf, soos Lindisfarne, wat bekend geword het vir die gekweekte en eerbiedige monnike wat daar woon. Trouens, dit was slegs die gesogte universiteite in Oxford en Cambridge wat gedurende hierdie tyd groter opleiding verskaf het.


Kaart van 'n Middeleeuse klooster

Let wel: nie alle gelyste plekke is op hierdie plan sigbaar nie.

1 Abt of Prior se huis
2 Almonry - waar aalmoese in die vorm van voedsel of geld aan die behoeftiges deur die almoner uitgedeel is
3 Bakhuis
4 Brew House
5 Buttery Die woord het niks te doen met & quotbutter & quot nie, maar kom van ou Franse & quotboterie & quot en die Latynse & quotbotaria & quot, wat & quotcask of bottel & quot beteken. Die botter was 'n stoorplek vir bier en wyn.
6 Calefactory - 'n opwarmingskamer
7 Cellarium - 'n stoorkamer, dikwels ondergronds
8 Begraafplaas
9 Kapelle
10 Chapter House - die vergaderruimtes vir die administratiewe liggaam van die klooster. In Engeland was die hoofstuk gewoonlik veelhoekvormig, met 'n skerp spitse dak.
11 Kerk - gewoonlik word die eerste deel van die kloostertop in klip voltooi.
12 Klooster - 'n oop gebied, dikwels met gras, soms met 'n fontein in die middel.
13 Mieliemolen
14 Slaapkamer - dikwels genoem & quotdorter & quot uit die Franse & quotdortoir & quot, die slaapplek van die monnike.
15 Plaas
16 Visdamme
17 Fraterhouse - Soms genoem & quotfrater & quot of & quotrefectory & quot - die eetarea.
18 Tuin
19 Garderobes - latrines.
20 Gastehuise
21 Infirmary - die siekekamer van die klooster, dikwels met sy eie kapel en kombuise.
22 Kombuis - die kombuis was oor die algemeen in 'n aparte gebou weens brandgevaar.
23 Lekbroers koshuis - die lekebroer was nie 'n volwaardige monnik nie. Hy het godsdienstige geloftes afgelê, maar het hom toegespits op 'n lewe van handewerk, sodat die monnike meer tyd kon bestee aan geleerdheid en nadenke.
24 Biblioteek - die kosbare boeke en manuskripte van die klooster was dikwels aan lessenaars vasgeketting, so waardevol was dit.
25 Locutory - 'n ruimte vir gesprekke, ook 'n plek waar monnike mense van buite kan ontmoet.
26 Nagtrappe - toegelate gang van die dortoir na die kerk vir nagdienste.
27 Varkie
28 Gevangenisselle - 'n monnik of 'n lekbroer is moontlik in 'n sel opgesluit vir ernstige oortredings.
29 Steengroef
30 Reredorter - Klein vertrekke aan die agterkant van die houthuis (slaapsaal) met sitplekke en lopende water.
31 Smithy - Dit is weg van die hoofgeboue geleë weens die risiko van brand.
32 Stalle
33 Werkswinkels


Middeleeuse monastisisme as bewaarder van die Westerse beskawing

Die term "donker eeue" is eens verkeerdelik toegepas op die hele millennium wat die laat oudheid van die Italiaanse Renaissance skei (500-1500 nC). Vandag se geleerdes weet van beter. Daar is 'n wydverspreide erkenning onder hulle (sien David Knowles se Die evolusie van Middeleeuse denke, Londen: Longman, 1988) dat die 14de eeu, dit wil sê die eeu van Dante en Petrarca se humanisme, nie net deel was van die donker eeue nie, maar ook die belangrikste voorloper van die Italiaanse Renaissance was. Dit was die eeu toe antieke Griekse en Latynse manuskripte wat in kloosters bewaar is, weer ontdek en gelees en bespreek is, en sodoende die weg gebaan het vir die Renaissance, die wedergeboorte van die oudheid, wat in sintese met die Christendom 'n unieke nuwe beskawing veroorsaak.

Geleerdes het ook bewus geword dat die hoë Middeleeue (die eerste drie eeue van die tweede millennium) ver van donker en intellektueel retrograde was. Dit was die eeue van die katedrale wat nog steeds daar staan ​​as monumente vir 'n ongelooflik komplekse en verligte beskawing, ondanks die benaming van 'goties' as 'n afbrekende term, gelykstaande aan retrograde en onbeskaafde, deur Voltaire. Soos die stigter van die Europese Unie, Robert Schuman, gesê het: 'Ek voel nooit so Europees soos wanneer ek 'n katedraal binnegaan nie.' Hierdie stelling is onthullend en werp lig op die feit dat daardie eeue moontlik die identiteit van die moderne Wes -Europese beskawing gevorm het. Ons ignoreer hulle met die risiko om ons kulturele identiteit vir ewig te verloor, wat selfs vir baie Amerikaners in Wes -Europa gewortel is.

Maar daar is meer geleerdes wat steeds die benaming “Donker eeue” terugskuif en het nou die agt, negende en tiende eeu (die era van die sogenaamde Karolingiese Renaissance, van 700 tot 1000 nC) daarvan uitgesluit. Die twyfelagtige onderskeid tussen die donker eeue behoort dus, behoorlik gesproke, tot die sesde en sewende eeu (500 tot 700 nC), wat inderdaad eeue van skraal vrugte was in die onderwys, literêre produksie en ander kulturele aanwysers. Dit was die eeue van kulturele terugtrekking, die eeue van die Barbaarse invalle in Italië en elders wat die Romeinse beskawing soos ons dit ken effektief verwoes het. Daardie invalle het stede, kloosters, biblioteke, skole, instellings soos die reg, die regering, noem maar op, vernietig. Dit was eintlik die Kerk wat in die vakuum getree het en 'n mate van orde in 'n verbrokkelde beskawing gehandhaaf het. Soos Christopher Dawson treffend skryf: “Die kerk moes die taak onderneem om die wet van die Evangelie en die etiek van die Bergrede in te voer onder mense wat moord as die eerbaarste beroep en wraak as sinoniem met geregtigheid beskou het.”

Hoe is dit bereik? Deur die vestiging van die Westerse klooster deur die Sint Benedictus van Nursia in Montecassino Italië (ongeveer vyftig kilometer suid van Rome) in 529 nC. St. Benedictus se onmiddellike bedoeling was nie om groot dade vir die Europese beskawing te doen nie, maar dit was die gevolg. Op sy hoogtepunt spog die Benediktynse orde met 37.000 kloosters in Europa. Geen wonder dat St. Benedicts tot beskermheilige van Europa verklaar is nie en die huidige pous het sy naam aangeneem by sy verheffing tot die pousdom.

Behalwe om te bid en hul saligheid uit te werk en die evangelie te verkondig, wat het monnike nog in daardie kloosters nagestreef? Die praktiese kunste, landbou was twee van hul belangrikste ondernemings. Hulle het letterlik die landbou in Europa gered. Hulle het die mense geleer hoe om die land te bewerk, veral in Duitsland, waar hulle die wildernis in 'n bewerkte land omskep het. Handearbeid was 'n integrale deel van hul heerskappy wat "ora et labora" (bid en werk) uitgeroep het. In Engeland het hulle 'n vyfde van al sy bewerkbare grond besit. Die monnike sou gewasse, nywerhede en produksiemetodes bekendstel waarmee die mense nog nie vertroud was nie: die grootmaak en teel van beeste, perde, die brou van bier, die opvoering van bye en vrugte. Die koringhandel in Swede is deur die monnike gevestig, in Parma was dit kaasmaak, in Ierland salmvissery en op baie plekke wingerde.

Vanaf die kloosters Saint Laurent en Saint Martin het die monnike die waters van St. Gervais en Belleville na Parys herlei. Hulle het mense besproeiing geleer op die vlaktes van Lombardy, wat nog altyd van die rykste en produktiefste in Europa was. Hulle het tegnologies gesofistikeerde wateraangedrewe stelsels gebou by kloosters wat honderde kilometer van mekaar af geleë was. Die kloosters self was die ekonomies doeltreffendste eenhede wat ooit in Europa bestaan ​​het. Waterkrag is gebruik om koring, meel te sif, lap te maak en te looi. Selfs nie eers die Romeinse wêreld het meganisasie vir industriële gebruik in so 'n mate aangeneem nie.

Die monnike was ook bekend vir hul vaardighede in metallurgie. In die 13de eeu het hulle die voorste ysterprodusente in die Champagne -streek van Frankryk geword. Hulle steen marmer, maak glaswerk, smee metaalplate, ontgin sout. Hulle was vaardige klokmakers. Een so 'n horlosie wat omstreeks 996 nC in Magdeburg geïnstalleer is, is die eerste ooit. 'N Ander een is in 'n uitstekende toestand in die Londense wetenskapmuseum. Hulle het ook astronomiese horlosies gemaak. Een daarvan was in die Benediktynse abdij van Saint Alban, dit is ontwerp deur abt Richard van Wallingford. Kortom, kloosterkennis deurdring Europa en voorkom sodoende 'n volledige terugkeer na barbaarsheid.

Maar daar was een beroep van die monnike wat, miskien meer as enige ander, bygedra het tot die behoud van die Westerse beskawing: die kopiëring van antieke manuskripte. Dit begin in die sesde eeu toe 'n afgetrede Romeinse senator met die naam Cassiodorus 'n klooster in Vivarium in die suide van Italië vestig en dit 'n uitstekende biblioteek gee, waarin die kopiëring van manuskripte die belangrikste plek was. Daarna was die meeste kloosters toegerus met sogenaamde scriptoria as deel van hul biblioteke: dit was kamers waar antieke literatuur deur monnike getranskribeer is as deel van hul handewerk.

Die ander plek waar die oorlewing van manuskripte voorrang geniet, was die skole wat verband hou met die Middeleeuse katedrale. Dit was die skole van die Middeleeue wat die grondslag gelê het vir die eerste universiteit wat in die elfde eeu in Bologna, Italië, gestig is. Die Kerk het reeds uitstekende oorspronklike bydraes gelewer op die gebied van filosofie en teologie (die verskillende kerkvaders onder wie Plautinus, St. Augustinus, St. Anselmus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Don Scotus), maar sy het ook boeke en dokumente gestoor wat was later onontbeerlik vir die behoud van die Westerse beskawing.
Die beste kennis van die geleerdes van die donker eeue was Alcuin, 'n poliglot-teoloog wat nou saam met Karel die Grote gewerk het om studie en geleerdheid in die hele Wes-Sentraal-Europa te herstel. In die beskrywing van die besit van sy biblioteek in York noem hy werke van Aristoteles, Cicero, Lucan, Plinius, Statius, Trogus Pompeius, Vergilius. In sy korrespondensie noem hy Horace, Ovidius, Terence. En hy was nie alleen nie. Die abt van Ferrieres (ongeveer 805-862) Lupus haal Cicero, Horace, Martial, Seutonius en Virgil aan. Die abt van Fleury (ongeveer 950-1104) het vertroudheid getoon met Horace, Sallust, Terence, Virgil.

Die grootste abt na Benedictus, Desiderius, wat uiteindelik in 1086 pous Victor III geword het, het persoonlik toesig gehou oor die transkripsie van Horace en Seneca, Cicero's De Natura Deorum en Ovidius Fasti. Sy vriend Aartsbiskop Alfano (ook 'n voormalige monnik in Montecassino) was bekend met die werke van antieke skrywers wat uit Apuleius, Aristoteles, Cicero, Plato, Varro, Virgil aangehaal het. Hy het self poësie geskryf wat Ovidius en Horace naboots. Saint Anselm, as abt van Bec, het Virgil en ander klassieke skrywers aan sy studente geprys.

Die ander groot geleerde van die sogenaamde Donker Eeue was Gerbert van Aurillac wat later pous Sylvester II geword het. Hy het logika geleer, maar ook antieke letterkunde: Horace, Juvenal, Lucan, Persius, Terence, Statius, Virgil. Dan is daar die heilige Hildebert wat Horace feitlik uit sy kop geken het. Dus dit is 'n groot dwaling om te beweer dat die Kerk die vernietiging van die antieke heidense kultuur aangemoedig het. Inteendeel, sy het gehelp om die kultuur wat andersins verlore gegaan het, te bewaar.

Daar was boonop kloosters wat spesialiseer in ander kennisgebiede behalwe letterkunde. Die monnike van St. Benignus in Dijon, in die skildery en gravure in Saint Gall, in Griekse, Hebreeuse, Arabiese in sekere Duitse kloosters, het mediese lesings aangebied. Sommige monnike, nadat hulle alles in hul eie klooster geleer het, sou dan na ander kloosterskole reis wat tydens die Karolingiese Renaissance gestig is. Abt Fleury studeer byvoorbeeld filosofie en sterrekunde in Parys en Rheims.

Montecassino, die moederklooster, het in die elfde eeu 'n herlewing ondergaan, wat geleerdes nou beskou as "die mees dramatiese enkele gebeurtenis in die geskiedenis van Latynse wetenskap in die 11de eeu" (sien Skrifgeleerdes en geleerdes deur L. D. Reynolds en N.G. Wilson, 1991). As gevolg van hierdie herlewing het manuskripte wat vir ewig verlore gegaan het, behoue ​​gebly: Die annale en geskiedenis van Tacitus, Die Golden Ass van Apuleius, Die dialoë van Seneca, Varro's De Lingua Latina, Frontius De Aquis en dertig vreemde reëls van Juvenal se satire wat in geen ander manuskrip ter wêreld voorkom nie.

Die toewyding aan boeke van die monnike was so buitengewoon dat hulle ver en wyd sou reis in soek of skaars manuskripte. St. Benedict Biscop, abt van die Wearmouth -klooster in Engeland, het wyd op vyf seereise gereis. Lupus het 'n mede -abt toestemming gevra om Suetonius se Lewe van die keisers en 'n ander vriend gevra om vir hom die verslae van Sallust oor die Catilinarian en Jugurthan Wars, die Verrines van Cicero en De Republica. Hy leen Cicero's De Rhetorica en aan die pous geskryf vir 'n afskrif van Cicero's De Oratore, Quintillian's Instellings, en ander tekste. Gerbert het 'n ander abt gehelp om onvolledige afskrifte van Cicero's en die filosoof Demosthenes te voltooi. 'N Monnik van Muri het alles gesê:' Sonder studie en sonder boeke is die lewe van 'n monnik niks. ' Ons sou dus nie ver van die punt af wees om dit onomwonde te beweer nie Die bewondering van die Westerse beskawing vir die geskrewe woord en die klassieke antieke tye het tot ons gekom via die Katolieke Kerk wat hulle deur die barbaarse invalle bewaar het.

Alhoewel onderwys nie universeel was nie, is baie van die adel na kloosterskole gestuur om opgevoed te word. Een soos Thomas Aquinas wat deur die monnike van Montecassino opgevoed is voordat hy by die Dominikaanse orde aangesluit het. St Benedictus self het die seuns van Romeinse edeles opdrag gegee. St. Boniface het 'n skool gestig in elke klooster wat hy in Duitsland gestig het, dieselfde is gedoen deur Sint Augustinus en sy monnike in Engeland en St. Patrick in Ierland. Ierse kloosters het ontwikkel as 'n groot sentrum vir leer en transkripsie van manuskripte.

Dit was die monnik se toewyding aan lees, skryf en opvoeding wat die voortbestaan ​​van die Westerse beskawing verseker het na die val van die Romeinse Ryk en die invalle van die Barbarians. Hulle het die grondslag gelê vir Europese universiteite en het die brug geword tussen oudheid en moderniteit. Dit is weliswaar 'n blote opsomming van 'n groot onderwerp, maar hopelik lewer dit die idee op.

'N Laaste voetnoot, vir alles wat dit werd is. The monastery of Montecassino was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The last time it was destroyed it was not by the barbarians of old but by super-civilized, super-enlightened modern man fighting a destructive war. It was raised to the ground by American bombers in 1944 under orders from an English general. The declared strategic objective was to dislodge the Germans who were thought to have taken refuge in the monastery (which turned out not to be the case). The result was that the Germans found the ruins of the monastery a more ideal place from which to continue the conflict. It would be safe to assume that neither the English general nor the bombers had read Virgil or Seneca and were aware of the cultural heritage they were about to destroy. One is left to wonder if Vico’s description of the “barbarism of the intellect,” which he considered more sinister than physical material barbarism of old, is indeed an appropriate designation for such a sad event. Be that as it may, the monastery, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, has since been rebuilt as a replica and it stands there on the hill beckoning the busy traveler on the autostrada del sole to come and rest in an oasis of peace and reason, beauty and truth.


Glendalough

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Founded in the early 7th century – re-organised substantially in the 11th/12th centuries
Founded by St Kevin (Cóemgen)
Also known as Gleann-Dá-Locha (the valley of the two lakes)

The Place

Glendalough, an extensive monastic complex, is located in a glacial valley consisting of two lakes (the Upper and Lower Lakes) which explains the Irish place name Gleann dá Locha ‘the valley of the two lakes’. This is an archaeologically and architecturally rich landscape that is matched by a wealth of historical documents. Evidence for human activity in the valley possibly goes as far back as the Neolithic Period. Recent excavations have uncovered industrial activity that may be contemporary with St Kevin’s reputed foundation of a ‘monastery’ around 600AD. Glendalough is one of the most important medieval ecclesiastical landscapes in Ireland and since the nineteenth century one of Ireland’s premier tourist attractions.

St Kevin (d. 618/622AD) is reputed to have founded Glendalough in the late 6 th or early 7 th century as a place of retreat from the world. His name Cóemgen ‘fair birth’ and those of his close relatives, all of whom include cóem ‘fair’ in their names, suggest that the life of the real St Kevin was enhanced by adding mythology to history, as was often the case with early Irish saints. Historically, St Kevin and Glendalough belonged to the royal dynasty of Dál Messin Corb who held lands from the Wicklow Mountains to the coast. Many churches with saints of the Dál Messin Corb in the region maintained links with Glendalough to the 12 th century. The medieval lives of St Kevin portray him as a hermit and a miracle-worker. A tradition of anchorites retreating from the world, possibly to the Upper Lake, was maintained in Glendalough during this early period. St Kevin’s miracles often portray him as close to nature, a characteristic described by the Anglo-Norman Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) in his description of Ireland written in the 1180s.

Glendalough was one of the main pilgrimage attractions of medieval Ireland. According to the life of St Kevin, to be buried in Glendalough was as good as being buried in Rome. Such a claim attracted the pious and the powerful and historical death notices and inscribed grave slabs record the deaths of kings, queens and ecclesiastics in Glendalough. As a centre of learning, its scholars produced manuscripts in Irish and Latin, including medieval astronomical and mathematical texts and chronicles. Pilgrims routes crossed the mountains, often marked by crosses or more elaborate markers such as the Hollywood Stone found in West Wicklow and now on display in the Glendalough Visitor Centre.

Glendalough reached its most powerful period between 1000 and 1150AD during the reigns of the Irish kings Muirchertach Ua Briain (of Munster), Diarmait mac Murchada (of Leinster) and Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair (of Connacht), all of whom had ambitions to be kings of Ireland. The most famous abbot of Glendalough Lorcán Ua Tuathail (Laurence O’Toole) became first archbishop of Dublin and died in Eu, France in 1180. All of these individuals were involved somehow in re-organizing the ecclesiastical settlement and in constructing the stone buildings that survive to the present day. Glendalough competed with Dublin and Kildare to become the most important church in Leinster and once it lost that position and was subsumed in 1215 into the Dublin diocese, it not only lost a privileged status but also its lands to new foundations such as the Augustinian foundation of Holy Trinity in Dublin.

Why visit here?

Glendalough has attracted pilgrims and visitors over many centuries for its hallowed surroundings, its traditions and its stunning scenery. A remarkable collection of ruined medieval churches is spread out over 3km along the valley. As a relatively unaltered group of up to nine Romanesque or earlier churches, it is unique in Ireland and Britain. It graveyard reflects the close ties between the church and the local community with families buried there for many generations.

Glendalough is located within the Wicklow National Park, a beautiful, largely untouched mountainous landscape of 20,000 hectares. There are a variety of hikes that you can do, ranging from a stroll around the lake to more strenuous 11km hikes. A trail guide is available from the Visitor Centre for a small charge and walking tours are run by local operators.

A 3D tour of the landscape

Click the image to explore Glendalough – a 3D Icon

What happened here?

Late 6th/Early 7th Century: The first monastery was founded at this site by St Kevin. A hermitage was located near the Upper Lake.

618 or 622: The reputed dates of St Kevin’s death.

7th to 12th centuries: The Irish annals record long lists of abbots, bishops, men of learning and other officials of Glendalough. Many of them belonged to families from the wider locality who maintained their noble status by holding onto monastic positions.

11 th century: Glendalough was attacked and burned on numerous occasions. While the surviving buildings at Glendalough are stone, early churches in Ireland were generally built of perishable materials such as timber, post-and-wattle or clay until the tenth century so that while fire would have been very destructive re-building would have been relatively easy.

1085: Gilla na Náem, bishop of Glendalough died, having become a Benedictine monk in Germany and later head of the monks at Wurzburg.

1111: At the Synod of Ráth Breasail, Glendalough was named as one of the five bishoprics of Leinster.

1128: Gilla Pátraic, coarb of Coemgen (‘successor of St Kevin’) was murdered

1152: Dublin was chosen one of the four archbishoprics of Ireland at the Synod of Kells, depriving Glendalough and Kildare of their privileged status in Leinster.

1162: O’Toole was named successor to Gilla na Náem but refused the honour. He was elected archbishop of Dublin in 1162. He died in Eu in Normandy in 1180 and was canonised in 1225.

1213: King John I of England made a grant of all the bishopric of Glendalough to the archbishop of Dublin. It was confirmed by Pope Innocent III in 1216, resulting in Glendalough becoming an archdeaconry in the diocese of Dublin and no longer a bishopric.

1398: Glendalough was burnt by the English.

15th century: As the English colony around the Pale lost territory in and around the Wicklow Mountains, attempts were made to revive the bishopric of Glendalough. A Dominican named Denis White held the title of Bishop of Glendalough from 1481 until 1497 when he made a formal renunciation of his rights in Dublin.

17th century: All the churches were in ruin and roofless when visited after the Dissolution.

Up to 19th century: Glendalough was still in use for its Pattern Day(patron saint’s day) celebrations and pilgrimages on 3rd June, St Kevin’s feast day. In 1862, this practice was ended by Cardinal Cullen, archbishop of Dublin (d. 1878) due to the superstitious practices of the pilgrims and the disreputable secular elements.

“The Patron (The Festival of Saint Kevin at the Seven Churches, Glendalough)” by Joseph Peacock (c.1783–1837), Ulster Museum (Image credit: National Museums Northern Ireland)

An account of the Pattern Day at Glendalough in 1779 by Gabriel Beranger paints quite a scene!

People “often spent a large portion of the night walking among the ruins, where an immense crowd usually had bivouaced [camped] … throughout the space of the sacred enclosure. As soon as daylight dawned, the tumbling torrent over the rocks and stones of the Glendasan river to the north of the churches became crowded with penitents wading, walking, and kneeling up St. Kevin’s Keeve, many of them holding little children in their arms … The guides arranged the penitential routes, or conducted tourists round the ruins …

Dancing, drinking, thimble-rigging, prick-o’-the-loop, and other amusements, even while the bare-headed venerable pilgrims, and bare-kneed voteens were going their prescribed rounds, continued…

Towards evening the fun became fast and furious the pilgrimages ceased, the dancing was arrested, the pipers and fiddlers escaped to places of security, the keepers of tents and booths looked to their gear, the crowd thickened, the brandishing of sticks, the ” hoshings” and ” wheelings,” and “hieings” for their respective parties showed that the faction fight was about to commence among the tombstones and monuments, and that all religious observances, and even refreshments were at an end…”

Van die Memoir of Gabriel Beranger, and His Labours in the Cause of Irish Art, Literature, and Antiquities from 1760 to 1780, edited by William Wilde (1873)


Medieval Monasteries

Medieval monastic houses -whether for monks or nuns- needed to be endowed with land. Large abbeys often sent out groups of monks to establish a new monastic foundation rather like a strawberry plant sending out a runner to create lots more strawberry plants.

Groups of monks might be sent to look after land that was some distance from the mother house. These groups of monks, or nuns, were called selle (not to be confused with a small room where an individual monk or nun might sleep). Eventually if they became large enough they would be described as a priory. They might even grow to abbey sized proportions. On other occasions groups of monks or nuns might be sent with the specific purpose of building a new abbey if there was a sufficient endowment of land for that purpose. Abbeys might also found priories for nuns. These nuns would be dependent upon the mother-house for spiritual direction and for the way in which the rules were administered.

Whilst the monks in the cell, priory or even abbey looked to the original mother-house for spiritual guidance they would be referred to as a daughter house. Some mother houses even had granddaughter houses. Martin Heale has researched the extent to which daughter houses were expected to send some of their income back to the mother house. Interestingly, Heale also comments that the mother house did not expect to support the daughter house. They were required to be financially independent.

Sometimes a monastic house couple begin life belonging to one order but for one reason or another the abbey might be refounded by another order. Reading Abbey was founded as a Cluniac Abbey but was refounded at a later date as a Benedictine Abbey.

This page is an on-going project. I intend to list all abbeys in England and Wales that I come across as I continue my reading.

Click on the image for each order to open a new page containing the a list of monastic houses in alphabetical order with some additional information.

Benedictines

The so-called ‘Black Monks’ because of their habits were the first Roman order of monks to arrive in England.


What was medieval monasticism and what spiritual benefits did it offer to the medieval world?

Monasticism in Western Europe reached its zenith during the High Middle Ages of the late eleventh century and early twelfth century. Coming out of the ascetic tradition of the Desert Fathers at the end of the third century, monasticism grew to become a highly influential movement with centres of worship and learning throughout medieval Europe. In this paper I will describe the development of medieval monasticism and consider the spiritual benefits that it offered to men and women both inside and outside monastic communities. I will not provide a comprehensive analysis of the benefits. Instead I will look at examples from the spiritual disciplines of prayer, study and manual work. I will conclude with a reflection on what spiritual benefit monasticism might offer the life of the church today.

Medieval monasticism

Christian monasticism originated in the ascetic practices of hermits and anchorites who withdrew from the world to live a life of solitude and prayer in the deserts of Egypt, Syria and Palestine during the third century.[1] The word monk is derived from the Greek word μόνος (mónos) meaning ‘alone.’[2] Jerome (c.347–420) stated that the first Christian anchorites were fleeing persecution under the Roman emperors.[3] He described those who lived this austere life as white martyrs, in contrast to the red martyrdom of those who died in the persecution.[4] Other commentators argue that asceticism was a way to prove their dedication to Christ when persecution had largely been replaced by tolerance following the conversion of Constantine.[5] The quest for spiritual perfection by withdrawing from the world came from the example of Christ.[6] Two strands of ascetical life developed during the fourth century which would later inspire and reinvigorate medieval monastic organisation.[7] Firstly, the eremitical life, as followed by the desert hermits under the inspiration of Antony (c.251–356) and secondly the cenobitical life within a community, originated by Pachomius (c.292–346).[8] Pachomius organised men’s and women’s monasteries in upper Egypt with colonies of several hundred monks and nuns under him as their abbot and living according to a rule.[9]

B. The spread of monasticism

Monasticism spread in the Eastern provinces during the fourth century and by the beginning of the fifth century accounts of the lives of the Desert Fathers and Mothers became available to Christians in Western Europe, including the Life of St. Antony by Athanasius (c.296–373) and the Conferences of Scythian monk John Cassian (c.360–435).[10] Leaving his Bethlehem monastery in about 385, Cassian travelled across Egypt visiting communities and learning from the anchorite abbots.[11] He later settled in Gaul where he founded monasteries for men and women based on these communities and wrote the Conferences, a collection of the reflections and experiences of the Egyptian abbots, and also the Institutes, which was the first teaching on cenobitic life in Western Europe.[12] Cassian thought the eremitic life was a higher calling and viewed the cenobitic life as for beginners. Although he acknowledged that communal living guarded the monk from the dangers of vanity and it ensured self-will was eradicated because he had to be subject to the abbot (Conference XIX).[13] Cassian thus established that communal life was an end in itself as a means of perfection.[14] Cassian’s writings became required reading for monks and shaped much of Western monasticism into the Middle Ages.[15] During the fifth century, monasticism became firmly established in Gaul and Italy and it began to be integrated into the institutional church under the patronage and protection of bishops.[16] By 600 there were at least 220 monasteries and convents in Gaul and around 100 in Italy.[17]

The life of a monk or nun was governed by the heers that was observed in his or her monastery. Initially these were based on the strict asceticism of the cenobitic communities in Egypt, such as those of Pachomius. Benedict of Nursia[18] (c.480–550) developed a less harsh rule, which he adapted from the Regula Magistri (Rule of the Master), following his experiences as abbot at monasteries in Subiaco and Monte Cassino.[19] Die Regula Magistri was written by an unknown abbot, referred to as the Master, probably in a monastery near Rome in about 500.[20] Gregory the Great (c.540–604) wrote an account on the life of Benedict which helped to popularise Benedict and his Rule.[21] Gregory described Benedict as ‘a man whose life was worthy of veneration … and blessed by grace.’[22] He relates how Benedict was a hermit in a cave in Subiaco for three years when a group of monks pleaded for him to become their abbot.[23] A reluctant Benedict relented and introduced a rule which the errant monks found too strict and as a result tried to poison him.[24] He returned to his cave and later founded twelve monasteries in the region each of twelve monks.[25] In 530 Benedict moved to Monte Cassino and founded a large monastery and it was here that he wrote the Rule.[26] It was both a practical guide to the governance of a cenobitic community and an instruction for the spiritual life of a monk.[27] The Rule ordered the day with regular times for prayer, manual work and study, though not as harsh or burdensome as the Eastern ascetic practices.[28] The most important task was the communal prayer Benedict called opus dei (work of God) that took place eight times a day between 2 a.m. and sunset.[29] Monks studied the Bible and books by and about the Church Fathers, including the works of Cassian, by lectio divina (divine reading).[30] Benedict wanted to create a ‘scola,’ more like a military academy than a school or retreat centre, where monks could prepare for spiritual warfare.[31] In addition to the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Benedict added a fourth vow of stability in order to encourage monks to stay within their community.[32] At the time of Benedict’s death his Rule was only observed at Monte Cassino and it was not until later that it spread to other monasteries in Europe, in part due to the role played by Gregory.[33]

D. The growth of monasticism

Other forms of monasticism had developed elsewhere in Europe. In Britain and Ireland Celtic monasticism took root inspired by missionaries in the fifth and sixth centuries.[34] Drawing on the eremitical tradition the Celtic monasteries spread in northern Britain often in isolated areas under the strict Rule of Columbanus. [35] In the seventh century, many monasteries in Gaul and Spain followed the ‘mixed rule’ of Benedict and Columbanus.[36] Double monasteries also developed in Gaul with separate communities of men and women living in the same establishment.[37] Often this would be under an abbess with the monks providing the priests and helping with manual tasks.[38] During this period monastic schools were established, replacing the ancient systems of education following the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.[39] Under the patronage of kings and emperors, monasticism continued to flourish throughout Europe in the eighth and ninth centuries with the Benedictine Rule becoming dominant.[40]

With growth came wealth and influence as monasteries accumulated land and endowments from benefactors.[41] Consequently the social composition of monasteries began to change and by the ninth century most monks in the larger communities came from noble birth.[42] The characteristics of monastic life also changed in some communities with opus manuum (manual work) being carried out by servants and tenants and more elaborate prayer performed by increasingly clerical monks.[43] Sometimes observance of the rule became lax and political instability in parts of Europe saw monasteries under attack by Viking, Magyar and Saracen invaders.[44] Many attempts were made to reform monasticism and revive a stricter observance of the Rule. In 909 Duke William of Aquitaine (875–918) founded a monastery at Cluny in Burgundy.[45] The Cluniac Order became the most influential force in the reform of monasticism for the following two centuries, building many new monasteries and reforming older communities based on the Benedictine Rule and answerable only to the Pope.[46] Cluny inspired other Benedictine revivals in the tenth century centred on Glastonbury and Abingdon in England and Gorze in Germany.[47]

By the eleventh century the elaborate Benedictine tradition that was practiced at Cluny was viewed as having departed too far from the desert asceticism of the early church and there was a desire to return to the vita apostolica (apostolic life).[48] The Carthusian order, named after the Chartreuse Mountains in south-eastern France, were an eremitical movement formed in 1084 that were characterised by their solitude and silence.[49] The monks lived in their own cells within the community in order to emulate the desert hermitages.[50] The Cistercians, named after the French village of Cîteaux, were formed in 1098 as an attempt to return to the observance of the original Benedictine Rule.[51] Other reform movements seeking the vita apostolica in the eleventh and twelfth centuries included the Canons Regular, who followed the Augustinian Rule based on a letter by Augustine of Hippo (354–430) written in 423, the Victorines (1113) from the Paris Abbey of St Victor and the Premonstratensians (1121).[52] In the thirteenth century the Franciscan Order, founded by Francis of Assisi (c.1181–1226), and the Order of Preachers, founded by Dominic de Guzman (1170–1221), were established as a reaction to the increased urbanisation in medieval society and outbreaks of heresy that arose at the time.[53] Medieval monasticism had reached its height and from the thirteenth century, in part due to falling revenue but also due to a reduction in monks joining, the movement fell into decline.[54]

The spiritual benefits of monasticism

Having looked at the story of medieval monasticism I now turn to the perceived spiritual benefits that the movement offered to men and women, inside and outside the monastery.

Jeffrey Bingham believes the main task of the monk, opus dei, was valued by those outside the monastery because, ‘The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective’ (Jas 5:16).[55] He states that people found ‘confidence and peace’ as a result of the monks’ prayer support.[56] The prayer was pure, brief, frequent and based on Scripture, since according to Benedict prayers are not heard due to many words but because ‘the heart is pure and the spirit penitent.’[57] Benedictine patterns of worship influenced the liturgy of the Western Church and the structure of both Catholic and Protestant forms of service can find their roots in monasticism.[58]

Monks could spend up to three hours a day in lectio.[59] Scripture was the main source of study for the monk with the Psalms a particular favourite to the extent that sometimes the entire Psalter was committed to memory.[60] The first phase was the lectio (reading), followed by meditatio (meditation) leading to oratio (prayer) as a response.[61] In the monastic schools, child oblates were taught basic literacy and in some communities children from outside of the monastery were also taught.[62] The presence of learning in monastic scola would ultimately develop into scholasticism and the foundation of European universities.

George Ovitt argues that the opus manuum of early monasticism ‘influenced the course of Western economic, social and technological development.’[63] Monks believed their manual work was a personal act of worship but they accomplished major land improvements through the organisation and efficiency of communities working together.[64] Both the example they set and the projects they achieved provided a social legacy to the economic organisation of Europe.[65]

The spiritual benefit monasticism offers the life of the church today

One characteristic of monasticism that I believe would benefit both the church and society in general is that of silence. In an ever increasingly busy, noisy world that is full of information, new forms of media and entertainment the opportunity to pause and reflect is often lacking. The relatively recent reintroduction of communal one or two minutes silence at events to mark national tragedies shows, I believe, a fundamental human desire to have this space. Communal silence is an eremitic act in that the individual withdraws into the solitude of one’s own thoughts and yet it is practiced in a cenobitical way.

Medieval monasticism traces its origins to the white martyrdom of the desert ascetics who desired to lead a life of spiritual devotion by withdrawing from the world in order to reach perfection. Two forms of asceticism developed the eremitical life of the hermit, regarded as the highest calling, and the cenobitical life within community. The writings of Cassian and others led to the establishment of monasticism in Western Europe. The Benedictine Rule with instructions for spiritual life and community governance became dominant, although other rules were adopted and occasionally monasteries followed a mixed rule. Monasticism flourished but some felt at the cost of its ascetic roots and so there were many attempts to reform and revive the movement and return to the vita apostolica. Examples of the spiritual benefits of monasticism include the value of the prayer support that monks gave to those outside the community, the development of education and the organisation and efficiency of manual work which led to social transformation. Many forms of medieval monasticism have lasted until the present day and it has a significant legacy in the history of the church.

Bibliografie

Benedict of Nursia. The Rule of St Benedict. Translated by Anthony C. Meisel and M. L. del Mastro. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1975.

Bingham, D. Jeffrey. “The Practice of Prayer in Early and Medieval Monasticism.” Bibliotheca Sacra 158(2001): 104-115.

Brown, Peter. The Rise of Western Christendom. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

Cassian, John. Conferences of John Cassian. n.d. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/cassian/conferences.html> (12 December 2015).

Hamilton, Bernard. Religion in the Medieval West. London: Edward Arnold, 2003.

Lawrence, C. H. Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. 2nd ed. London New York, NY: Longman, 1994.

Leclercq, Jean. The Love of Learning and Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. Translated by Catharine Misrahi. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2007.

Ovitt, Jr., George. “Manual Labor and Early Medieval Monasticism.” Viator 17(1986): 1-18.

St Augustine. The Rule of St. Augustine. 14 January 1996. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/ruleaug.html> (12 December 2015).

Stewart, Columba. Prayer and Community: The Benedictine Tradition. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1998.

White, Carolinne, ed. Early Christian Lives. London: Penguin, 1998.

[1] C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages (2nd ed. London New York, NY: Longman, 1994), 1.

[2] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 1.

[3] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 1 Anchorite from the Greek ἀναχωρέω (anachōréō) to withdraw.

[4] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 18.

[5] Carolinne White, ed., Early Christian Lives (London: Penguin, 1998), xiii.

[6] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 2.

[7] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 4.

[8] Eremitical means ‘desert’ from the Greek word ἔρημος (eremos) Cenobitical means ‘common’ from the Greek word κοινός (koinos) Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 4.

[9] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 8 Abbot (Abbas) is from the Aramaic abba meaning my father.

[10] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 11-12 Scythia Minor is now in modern day Romania.

[11] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 12.

[12] Gaul is mostly the region that is modern day France Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 13.

[13] Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of St Benedict (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1975), 24.

[14] Benedict, The Rule of St Benedict, 24.

[15] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 13.

[16] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 17.

[17] Peter Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom (2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 221.

[18] Nursia is now known as Norcia, a town north east of Rome.

[19] Bernard Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West (London: Edward Arnold, 2003), 42.

[20] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 24.

[21] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 20.

[22] White, Early Christian Lives, 165.

[23] White, Early Christian Lives, 166,169 Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 25.

[24] White, Early Christian Lives, 170.

[25] White, Early Christian Lives, 172.

[26] Columba Stewart, Prayer and Community: The Benedictine Tradition (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1998), 25.

[27] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 23.

[28] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 31.

[29] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 32.

[30] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 35-36 Stewart, Prayer and Community, 38.

[31] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 31.

[32] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 42.

[33] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 42.

[34] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 44.

[35] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 45.

[36] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 53.

[37] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 51.

[38] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 52.

[39] Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture (New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2007), 12, 20.

[40] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 76.

[41] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 44.

[42] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 44.

[43] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 44 Jr., George Ovitt, “Manual Labor and Early Medieval Monasticism,” Viator 17 (1986), 1.

[44] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 44 Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 83.

[45] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 45.

[46] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 45 Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 86.

[47] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 103,106.

[48] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 150-151.

[49] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 160.

[50] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 161.

[51] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 174.

[52] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 165, 169.

[53] Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 47.

[54] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 274.

[55] D. Jeffrey Bingham, “The Practice of Prayer in Early and Medieval Monasticism,” Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (2001), 105.

[56] Bingham, “The Practice of Prayer in Early and Medieval Monasticism,” 105.

[57] Bingham, “The Practice of Prayer in Early and Medieval Monasticism,” 106.

[58] Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism, 32.

[59] Stewart, Prayer and Community, 36.

[60] Bingham, “The Practice of Prayer in Early and Medieval Monasticism,” 111-112.

[61] Bingham, “The Practice of Prayer in Early and Medieval Monasticism,” 112-113.

[62] Stewart, Prayer and Community, 42.

[63] Ovitt, “Manual Labor and Early Medieval Monasticism,” 1.

[64] Ovitt, “Manual Labor and Early Medieval Monasticism,” 7.

[65] Ovitt, “Manual Labor and Early Medieval Monasticism,” 17-18.

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COLOUR YOUR OWN medieval monastery

Download this colouring sheet to create your own version of our medieval monastery history timeline poster! Read through the introduction to life in a monastery, then get creative with coloured pencils, pens or paints.

DESIGN YOUR OWN ILLUMINATED INITIALS

Find out what an illumination is, and how the beautiful letters that feature in the manuscripts created by medieval monks and nuns were created. Then, follow our instructions to design your own illuminated initials!

PLAY A GAME OF SNAKES AND ABBOTS

Can you make it to the top of the board? Find out if you've got what it takes to get the top job with this historical version of Snakes & Ladders! If you land on a ladder, follow it up to the space above. But if you land on a snake, follow it down. Download a game board, spinner and 3D players to play.

More things to make and do

Browse our best ideas and get hands-on and crafty with history. From model historical homes to costumes and coats of arms, there&rsquos plenty to be inspired by. Simply download our easy-to-use templates and instructions, and get making!


Medieval Monastic Orders- part I

During the later Anglo-Saxon period all monasteries were Benedictine. Benedictine monks follow the rules written by St Benedict in the early sixth century (535-540) for his monastic foundation at Monte Cassino. The rule covers what monks are and aren’t allowed to do as well as regulating their days and nights with regard to Divine worship, study, manual labour and prayer. However, as the medieval period went on many monks, such as the Benedictine in the manuscript image to the left of this paragraph developed a reputation for behaving in a decidedly unmonastic manner.

By the eleventh century, Cluny Abbey, which followed the rules of St Benedict, as indeed did every monastic order that followed, chose to reinterpret the rules. The order applied itself to the liturgy rather than educational and intellectual work expanded. In England, William Warenne founded the Cluniac abbey at Lewes just after the conquest. William the Conqueror requested more Cluniac monks to come from their mother abbey in Cluny to England but was unsuccssessful in the first instance. Gradually though more Cluniacs did arrive. William Rufus, not known for his piety, encouraged the Cluniacs to come to England as did his brother King Henry I who funded Reading Abbey which interestingly was inhabited initially by Cluniac monks but did not go on to become a Cluniac establishment. The royal family continued to support the Cluniac order. King Stephen founded the Cluniac priory at Faversham which became notable as the burial place for his family. In Yorkshire Pontefract was a Cluniac establishment. Despite this early popularity the Cluniacs did not prosper as an order in England as the centuries progressed not least because all Cluniac houses were daughter houses following the rule and direction of the mother-house in Cluny and thus aliens. Whilst the Plantagenets held a huge European empire it wasn’t a problem but as English monarchs found the size of their continental domains dwindling they didn’t want monks who looked to Europe for direction and preferred to sponsor home-grown talent.

The Cistericans, pictured left, were founded in 1098 by the monks of Citeaux who believed in austerity and hard work – again a reinterpretation of the rule of St Benedict and reforms designed to counter perceived laxity in other monastic houses. Their habit was made from unbleached wool. These were the so-called ‘White monks.’ They arrived in the south of England in 1128. In 1132 Walter Espec gave the white monks land at Rievaulx – the rest as they say, is history. Fountains Abbey is also a Cistercian foundation. Unlike the standard Benedictine monks they refused gifts and rights of patronage – in short anything that would have made them easily wealthy. Instead they cultivated the wilderness. An emphasis was placed upon labour. The great Yorkshire abbeys acquired land and farms over the next two hundred years extending south into Derbyshire and north into Cumberland. In 1147 Furness Abbey was founded. At that time Furness was in Lancashire rather than Cumbria as it is in present times.

The next influx of monastic types were the Charterhouse monks or Carthusians as they should be more properly named. Hierdie order was developed by the monks of Chartreuse. The first monastic foundations for this order were in Somerset at the turn of the twelfth century. They lived in isolation. Each monk had a cell and a cloistered garden. They did not see one another, even for Divine service as each stall was screened – together but alone. They arrived during the reign of King Henry II as part of the monarch’s penance for the death of Thomas Becket. The Carthusians restricted the numbers of monks in each priory to 13 monks composed of a prior and twelve monks and eighteen lay brothers. There was a vow of silence and they were vegetarians. The order did not really take off until the fourteenth century by which time monasticism was suffering on account of the Black Death: changing economy and social structures. In Yorkshire the Carthusians established Mount Grace Priory in 1398. Today its ruins remain the best preserved Carthusian monastery in England. The seated Carthusian on the right is an early eighteenth century portrayal and can be found in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Of these orders only the Carthusians do not have nuns as well as monks.

So ver so goed. Part two of Medieval Monastic orders will cover the canons and part three will cover friars.


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