A refectory (also frater, frater house, fratery) is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools, and academic institutions. One of the places the term is most often used today is in graduate seminaries. It derives from the Latin reficere "to remake or restore," via Late Latin refectorium, which means "a place one goes to be restored" (cf. "restaurant").
Communal meals are the times when all monks of an institution are together. Diet and eating habits differ somewhat by monastic order, and more widely by schedule. The Benedictine rule is illustrative.
The Rule of St Benedict orders two meals. Dinner is provided year-round; supper is also served from late spring to early fall, except for Wednesdays and Fridays. The diet originally consisted of simple fare: two dishes, with fruit as a third course if available. The food was simple, with the meat of mammals forbidden to all but the sick. Moderation in all aspects of diet is the spirit of Benedict's law. Meals are eaten in silence, facilitated sometimes by hand signals. A single monk might read aloud from the Scriptures or writings of the saints during the meals.
Refectories vary in size and dimension, based primarily on wealth and size of the monastery, as well as when the room was built. They share certain design features. Monks eat at long benches; important officials sit at raised benches at one end of the hall. A lavabo, or large basin for hand-washing, usually stands outside the refectory.
Tradition also fixes other factors. In England, the refectory is generally built on an undercroft (perhaps in an allusion to the upper room where the Last Supper reportedly took place) on the side of the cloister opposite the church. Benedictine models are traditionally generally laid out on an east–west axis, while Cistercian models lie north–south.
Norman refectories could be as large as 160 feet (49 m) long by 35 feet (11 m) wide (such as the abbey at Norwich). Even relatively early refectories might have windows, but these became larger and more elaborate in the high medieval period. The refectory at Cluny Abbey was lit through thirty-six large glazed windows. The twelfth-century abbey at Mont Saint-Michel had six windows, five feet wide by twenty feet high.
In Eastern Orthodox monasteries, the trapeza (Greek : τράπεζα, refectory) is considered a sacred place, and even in some cases is constructed as a full church with an altar and iconostasis. Some services are intended to be performed specifically in the trapeza. There is always at least one icon with a lampada (oil lamp) kept burning in front of it. The service of the Lifting of the Panagia is performed at the end of meals. During Bright Week, this service is replaced with the Lifting of the Artos. In some monasteries, the Ceremony of Forgiveness at the beginning of Great Lent is performed in the trapeza. All food served in the trapeza should be blessed, and for that purpose, holy water is often kept in the kitchen.
As well as continued use of the historic monastic meaning, the word refectory is often used in a modern context to refer to a café or cafeteria that is open to the public—including non-worshipers such as tourists—attached to a cathedral or abbey. This usage is particularly prevalent in Church of England buildings, which use the takings to supplement their income.
Many universities in the UK also call their student cafeteria or dining facilities the refectory. The term is rare at American colleges, although Brown University calls its main dining hall the Sharpe Refectory (nicknamed the "Ratty" or the "rodent")and the main dining hall at Rhodes College is known as the Catherine Burrow Refectory (nicknamed "the Rat").
An abbey is a complex of buildings, a type of monastery used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. It provides a place for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks and nuns.
The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of the members' religious habits.
The Rule of Saint Benedict is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot.
Scriptorium, literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts by monastic scribes.
Saint Benedict of Aniane, born Witiza and called the Second Benedict, was a Benedictine monk and monastic reformer, who left a large imprint on the religious practice of the Carolingian Empire. His feast day is February 12.
The Trappists, officially known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance and originally named the Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe, are a Catholic religious order of cloistered monastics that branched off from the Cistercians. They follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and have communities of both monks and nuns that are known as Trappists and Trappistines, respectively. They are named after La Trappe Abbey, the monastery from which the movement and religious order originated. The movement first began with the reforms that Abbot Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé introduced in 1664, later leading to the creation of Trappist congregations, and eventually the formal constitution as a separate religious order in 1892.
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.
Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of individuals 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'.
The Tironensian Order or the Order of Tiron was a medieval monastic order named after the location of the mother abbey in the woods of Tiron in Perche, some 35 miles west of Chartres in France). They were popularly called "Grey Monks" because of their grey robes, which their spiritual cousins, the monks of Savigny, also wore.
The Cluniac Reforms were a series of changes within medieval monasticism of the Western Church focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art, and caring for the poor. The movement began within the Benedictine order at Cluny Abbey, founded in 910 by William I, Duke of Aquitaine (875–918).The reforms were largely carried out by Saint Odo and spread throughout France, into England, and through much of Italy and Spain.
Ealing Abbey is a Catholic Benedictine monastic foundation on Castlebar Hill in Ealing. It is part of the English Benedictine Congregation.
Mount Saint Benedict Abbey, also known as The Abbey of Our Lady of Exile is a Benedictine monastery following the Order of Saint Benedict. This monastery is located in the northwestern town of St. Augustine in Tunapuna–Piarco in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Abbey of Fontenay is a former Cistercian abbey located in the commune of Marmagne, near Montbard, in the département of Côte-d'Or in France. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, and built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Of the original complex comprising church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium, refectory, dovecote and forge, all remain intact except the refectory and are well maintained. The Abbey of Fontenay, along with other Cistercian abbeys, forms a connecting link between Romanesque and Gothic architectures.
The Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis is an abbey of the Catholic English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) located in Creve Coeur, in St. Louis County, Missouri in the United States. The Abbey is an important presence in the spiritual life of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The monks of the Abbey live their faith according to the Benedictine discipline of 'prayer and work', praying the Divine Office five times daily, celebrating daily Masses in English and Latin, and working in the two parishes under their pastoral care and in the Saint Louis Priory School, which the Abbey runs as an apostolate. The Abbey and its school sit on a 150-acre (0.61 km2) campus in west St. Louis County, in the city of Creve Coeur.
Caldey Abbey is an abbey of the Trappists situated on Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, south of Tenby.
The Abbey of Saint Scholastica, also known as Subiaco Abbey, is located just outside the town of Subiaco in the Province of Rome, Region of Lazio, Italy; and is still an active Benedictine order, territorial abbey, first founded in the 6th century AD by Saint Benedict of Nursia. It was in one of the Subiaco caves that Benedict made his first hermitage. The monastery today gives its name to the Subiaco Congregation, a grouping of monasteries worldwide that makes up part of the Order of Saint Benedict.
The Abbey of St. Maurus is a Tanzanian Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien in Hanga, Ruvuma Region. Established in 1956 by Abbot-Bishop Eberhard Spiess as a formation house for African monastic candidates, the monastery is currently home to 122 monks. The abbey operates schools and a dispensary for the people of the local village and a seminary for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Songea.
St Maurus and St Placidus Abbey, Waegwan, Chilgok, North Gyeongsang, South Korea is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1952 by Korean monks who had survived the dissolution of St Benedict's Abbey, Tokwon, and Holy Cross Abbey, Yanji, the monastery is currently home to 131 monks. Abbot Fr Blasio Park is the community's superior.
Abbaye Saint-Benoît de Koubri, Koubri, Kadiogo Province, Burkina Faso, is a Benedictine monastery of the Subiaco Congregation. Founded in 1961, the monastery is located around 30 km from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. As of 2000, the monastery was home to 27 monks, under the leadership of Abbot Fr André Ouédraogo.
The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey is an abbey located within the city and island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Lower Normandy, in the department of Manche.
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