World History

The Monastery of Middle Ages

What was a Monastery?

A monastery was a building or group of buildings where people lived, prayed, and gave their entire lives to God. Monks were the title given to the residents of the monastery. Everything the monks required was provided by the monastery community because it was self-sufficient. They produced their own food and created their own clothing. They didn’t require access to the outside world. They would be able to concentrate on God and enjoy some solitude as a result. In the Middle Ages, monasteries could be found all over Europe.

Why did they matter?

Some of the only people in the Middle Ages who could read and write were the monks in the monasteries. They gave the rest of the world access to education. The monks also kept journals and wrote books. We would know very little about what transpired during the Middle Ages if it weren’t for these publications.

The Monks Helped People

The monks had a significant role in the town despite their dedication to God and the monastery. Inns were scarce during the Middle Ages, so travellers had to find a place to stay somewhere else, usually a monastery. In addition, they assisted with feeding the needy, caring for the sick, and giving local youngsters an education.

Monastery Life: A Day in the Life

In the Middle Ages, the majority of a monk’s day was devoted to prayer, church attendance, Bible reading, and meditation. The remainder of the day was devoted to laborious tasks around the Monastery. Depending on their skills and interests, the monks would work at various jobs. For the other monks’ consumption, some of them farmed the land. Others performed maintenance work around the monastery, cooked the food, and washed the garments. Some monks worked as scribes, spending their days creating copies of books and manuscripts.

Jobs at the Monastery

In the Middle Ages, the majority of monasteries had a few particular positions. The following are some of the top positions and titles:

Abbot –
The Abbot served as the monastery or abbey’s superior.

Prior –
The monk who held second-in-command. Deputy to the abbot, sort of.

Lector –
The monk in charge of preaching at church.

A cantor
Leader of the monk’s choir.

Sacrist –
keeper of the books, a monk.

Monks’ Promises
Typically, when a monk joins the order, he or she takes vows. They made a lifelong commitment to the monastery and the monastic order they were joining as part of this vow. They had to give up their possessions and dedicate their lives to following God’s rules. In addition, they accepted vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty.

Informational Nuggets Regarding the Middle Ages Monastery

There were various monastic orders. The degree of their strictness and specifics of their restrictions varied. The Benedictines, Carthusians, and Cistercians were the three major orders in Europe during this time.

The central open space of each monastery was known as the cloister.

In the Middle Ages, monks and nuns were typically the best educated people.

They were silent for the majority of the day.

Due to the tithes of the local populace, monasteries occasionally had extensive land holdings and were immensely affluent.

A scribe could take more than a year to copy a lengthy book like the Bible.