A cloister (from Latin claustrum, "enclosure") is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church, commonly against a warm southern flank,usually indicates that it is (or once was) part of a monastic foundation, "forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier... that effectively separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went forward outside and around the cloister."
Cloistered (or claustral) life is also another name for the monastic life of a monk or nun. The English term enclosure is used in contemporary Catholic church law translationsto mean cloistered, and some form of the Latin parent word "claustrum" is frequently used as a metonymic name for monastery in languages such as German.
Historically, the early medieval cloister had several antecedents, the peristyle court of the Greco-Roman domus , the atrium and its expanded version that served as forecourt to early Christian basilicas, and certain semi-galleried courts attached to the flanks of early Syrian churches.Walter Horn suggests that the earliest coenobitic communities, which were established in Egypt by Saint Pachomius, did not result in cloister construction, as there were no lay serfs attached to the community of monks, thus no separation within the walled community was required; Horn finds the earliest prototypical cloisters in some exceptional late fifth-century monastic churches in southern Syria, such as the Convent of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, at Umm-is-Surab (AD 489), and the colonnaded forecourt of the convent of Id-Dêr, but nothing similar appeared in the semieremitic Irish monasteries' clustered roundhouses nor in the earliest Benedictine collective communities of the West.
In the time of Charlemagne the requirements of a separate monastic community within an extended and scattered manorial estate created this "monastery within a monastery" in the form of the locked cloister, an architectural solution allowing the monks to perform their sacred tasks apart from the distractions of laymen and servants.Horn offers as early examples Abbot Gundeland's "Altenmünster" of Lorsch abbey (765–74), as revealed in the excavations by Frederich Behn; Lorsch was adapted without substantial alteration from a Frankish nobleman's villa rustica , in a tradition unbroken from late Roman times. Another early cloister, that of the abbey of Saint-Riquier (790–99), took a triangular shape, with chapels at the corners, in conscious representation of the Trinity. A square cloister sited against the flank of the abbey church was built at Inden (816) and the abbey of St. Wandrille at Fontenelle (823–33). At Fulda, a new cloister (819) was sited to the liturgical west of the church "in the Roman manner" familiar from the forecourt of Old St. Peter's Basilica because it would be closer to the relics.
Abbot is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various western religious traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.
An abbey is a type of monastery used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. Abbeys provide a complex of buildings and land for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks and nuns.
The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of their religious habits. They were founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia, a 6th-century monk who laid the foundations of Benedictine monasticism through the formulation of his Rule of Saint Benedict.
A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.
Netley Abbey is a ruined late medieval monastery in the village of Netley near Southampton in Hampshire, England. The abbey was founded in 1239 as a house for monks of the austere Cistercian order. Despite royal patronage, Netley was never rich, produced no influential scholars nor churchmen, and its nearly 300-year history was quiet. The monks were best known to their neighbours for the generous hospitality they offered to travellers on land and sea.
Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of Christians who live ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). The word monk originated from the Greek μοναχός, itself from μόνος meaning 'alone'.
A chapter house or chapterhouse is a building or room that is part of a cathedral, monastery or collegiate church in which meetings are held. When attached to a cathedral, the cathedral chapter meets there. In monasteries, the whole community often met there daily for readings and to hear the abbot or senior monks talk. When attached to a collegiate church, the dean, prebendaries and canons of the college meet there. The rooms may also be used for other meetings of various sorts; in medieval times monarchs on tour in their territory would often take them over for their meetings and audiences. Synods, ecclesiastical courts and similar meetings often took place in chapter houses.
Lorsch Abbey, otherwise the Imperial Abbey of Lorsch, is a former Imperial abbey in Lorsch, Germany, about 10 km (6.2 mi) east of Worms. It was one of the most renowned monasteries of the Carolingian Empire. Even in its ruined state, its remains are among the most important pre-Romanesque–Carolingian style buildings in Germany. Its chronicle, entered in the Lorscher Codex compiled in the 1170s, is a fundamental document for early medieval German history. Another famous document from the monastic library is the Codex Aureus of Lorsch. In 1991 the ruined abbey was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Basilian monks are Catholic monks who follow the rule of Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea (330–379). The term Basilian is typically used only in the Catholic Church to distinguish Greek Catholic monks from other forms of monastic life in the Catholic Church. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, as all monks follow the Rule of Saint Basil, they do not distinguish themselves as "Basilian".
The Plan of Saint Gall is a medieval architectural drawing of a monastic compound dating from 820–830 AD. It depicts an entire Benedictine monastic compound, including churches, houses, stables, kitchens, workshops, brewery, infirmary, and a special house for bloodletting. According to calculations based on the manuscript's tituli the complex was meant to house about 110 monks, 115 lay visitors, and 150 craftmen and agricultural workers. The Plan was never actually built, and was so named because it is dedicated to Gozbert abbot of Saint Gall. The planned church was intended to keep the relics of Saint Gall. The plan was kept at the famous medieval monastery library of the Abbey of St. Gall, the Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen where it remains to this day.
Downside Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in England and the senior community of the English Benedictine Congregation. Until 2019, the community had close links with Downside School, for the education of children aged eleven to eighteen. Both the abbey and the school are at Stratton-on-the-Fosse, between Westfield and Shepton Mallet in Somerset, South West England. In 2020, the monastic community announced that it would move away from the present monastery and seek a new place to live. As of 2020, the abbey was home to sixteen monks.
Lérins Abbey is a Cistercian monastery on the island of Saint-Honorat, one of the Lérins Islands, on the French Riviera, with an active monastic community.
Culross Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey in Culross, Scotland, headed by the Abbot or Commendator of Culross. Part of it is still used as the local parish church by the Church of Scotland.
Hirsau Abbey, formerly known as Hirschau Abbey, was once one of the most important Benedictine abbeys of Germany. It is located in the Hirsau borough of Calw on the northern slopes of the Black Forest mountain range, in the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg. In the 11th and 12th century, the monastery was a centre of the Cluniac Reforms, implemented as "Hirsau Reforms" in the German lands. The complex was devastated during the War of the Palatine Succession in 1692 and not rebuilt.
Casamari Abbey is a Cistercian abbey in the Province of Frosinone, Lazio, Italy, about 10 kilometers east-south-east of Veroli.
Enclosed religious orders or cloistered clergy are religious orders whose members strictly separate themselves from the affairs of the external world. In the Catholic Church, enclosure is regulated by the code of canon law, either the Latin code or the Oriental code, and also by the constitutions of the specific order. It is practised with a variety of customs according to the nature and charism of the community in question. This separation may involve physical barriers such as walls and grilles, with entry restricted for other people and certain areas exclusively permitted to the members of the convent. Outsiders may only temporarily enter this area under certain conditions. The intended purpose for such enclosure is to prevent distraction from prayer and the religious life and to keep an atmosphere of silence.
The Abbey of St. Mary of Lagrasse is a Romanesque abbey in Lagrasse, southern France, whose origins date to the 7th century. It is located in Languedoc, near the Corbières Massif, about 35 km from Carcassonne. It was originally a Benedictine monastery, but since 2004 has been home to a community of canons regular.
The Abbey of San Benedetto in Polirone is a large complex of Benedictine order monastic buildings, including a church and cloisters, located in town of San Benedetto Po, Province of Mantua, Region of Lombardy, Italy. The complex, now belonging to the city, houses offices, a museum, and is open to visitors.
Ludovico Barbo, O.S.B. (1381–1443), also referred to as Luigi Barbo, was a significant figure in the movement to reform monastic life in northern Italy during the 15th century. Originally a canon of the community which became the Canons Regular of San Giorgio in Alga, he died a Benedictine abbot and Bishop of Treviso (1437–1443).
St. Andrew Abbey-Cleveland is a Benedictine monastery in Cleveland, Ohio.
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