Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/38

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ABBEY
ABBEY
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performed some of their manual tasks; but there were large halls for their common needs, as the church, refectory, kitchen, even an infirmary and a guest-house. An enclosure protecting all these buildings gave the settlement the appearance of a walled village; but every part was of the utmost simplicity, without any pretence to architectural style. It was this arrangement of monasteries, inaugurated by St. Pachomius, which finally spread throughout Palestine, and received the name of lauræ, that is "lanes" or "alleys." In addition to these congregations of solitaries, all living in huts apart, there were cœnobia, monasteries wherein the inmates lived a common life, none of them being permitted to retire to the cells of a lauræ before they had therein undergone a lengthy period of training. In time this form of common life superseded that of the older lauræ.

Monasticism in the West owes its development to St. Benedict (480–543). His Rule spread rapidly, and the number of monasteries founded in England, France, Spain, and Italy between 520 and 700 was very great. More than 15,000 Abbeys, following the Benedictine Rule, had been established before the Council of Constance in 1415. No special plan was adopted or followed in the building of the first cœnobia,or monasteries as we understand the term today. The monks simply copied the buildings familiar to them, the Roman house or villa, whose plan, throughout the extent of the Roman Empire, was practically uniform. The founders of monasteries had often merely to install a community in an already existing villa. When they had to build, the natural instinct was to copy old models. If they fixed upon a site with existing buildings in good repair, they simply adapted them to their requirements, as St. Benedict did at Monte Cassino, not disdaining to turn to Christian uses what had before served for the worship of idols. The spread of the monastic life gradually effected great changes in the model of the Roman villa. The various avocations followed by the monks required suitable buildings, which were at first erected not upon any premeditated plan, but just as the need for them arose. These requirements, however, being practically the same in every country, resulted in practically similar arrangements everywhere.

The monastic lawgivers of the East have left no written record of the principal parts of their monasteries. St. Benedict, however, mentions the chief component parts with great exactness, in his Rule, as the oratory, dormitory, refectory, kitchen, workshops, cellars for stores, infirmary, novitiate, guest-house, and by inference, the conference-room or chapter-house. These, therefore, find a place in all Benedictine abbeys, which all followed one common plan, occasionally modified to suit local conditions. The chief buildings were arranged around a quadrangle. Taking the normal English arrangement, it will be found that the church was situated as a rule on the north side, its high and massive walls affording the monks a good shelter from the rough north winds. The buildings of the choir, presbytery, and retro-chapels extending more to the east, gave some protection from the biting east wind. Canterbury and Chester, however, were exceptions, their churches being on the southern side, where also they were frequently found in warm and sunny climates, with the obvious purpose of obtaining some shelter from the heat of the sun. The choir was ordinarily entered, in the normally planned English monasteries, by a door at the junction of the northern and eastern cloisters, another door at the western end of the north cloister being reserved for the more solemn processions. Although in the course of time there came into existence private rooms (chequer or scaccarium) wherein the officials transacted their business, and later still private cells are to be met with, the cloisters were, in the main, the dwelling-place of the entire community, and here the common life was lived. The northern cloister, looking south, was the warmest of the four divisions. Here was the prior's seat, next to the door of the church; then those of the rest, more or less in order. The abbot's place was at the north-eastern corner. The novice-master with his novices occupied the southern portion of the eastern cloister, while the junior monks were opposite in the western limb. The cold, sunless, southern walk was not used; but out of it opened the refectory, with the lavatory close at hand. In Cistercian houses it stood at right angles to the cloister. Near the refectory was the conventual kitchen with its various offices. The chapter-house opened out of the eastern cloister, as near the church as possible. The position of the dormitory was not so fixed. Normally, it communicated with the southern transept, hence it was over the eastern cloister; occasionally it stood at right angles to it, as at Winchester, or on the western side, as at Worcester. The infirmary usually appears to have been to the east of the dormitory, but no fixed position was assigned to it. The guest-house was situated where it would be least likely to interfere the privacy of the monastery. In later days, when books had multiplied, a special building for the library was added, at right angles to one of the walks of the cloister. To these may be added the calefactory, the parlour, or locutorium, the almonry, and the offices of the obedientiaries; but these additional buildings fitted into the general plan where they best might, and their disposition differed somewhat in the various monasteries. The English Cistercian houses, of which there are so many extensive and beautiful remains, were mainly arranged after the plan of Citeaux, in Burgundy, the mother-house, with slight local variations.

The Carthusian monastery differed considerably in its arrangements from those of other orders. The monks were practically hermits, and each occupied a small detached cottage, containing three rooms, which they left only to attend the services of the church and on certain days when the community met together in the refectory. These cottages opened out of three sides of a quadrangular cloister, and on the fourth side were the church, refectory, chapter-house, and other public offices. Both lauræ and cœnobium were surrounded by walls which protected the inmates either from the intrusion of seculars or from the violence of marauders. No monk might go beyond this enclosure without permission. The monks of the earlier period considered this separation from the outer world as a matter of prime importance. Women were never permitted to enter the precincts of monasteries for men; even access to the church was oftentimes denied them, or, if accorded admission, as at Durham, they were relegated to a strictly limited space, farthest removed from the monks' choir. Even greater strictness was observed in safe-guarding the enclosure of nuns. The danger of attack from Saracen hordes necessitated, in the case of Eastern monasteries, the erection of lofty walls, with only one entrance place many feet above the ground, reached by a stairway or drawbridge that could be raised for defence. The monks of the West, not standing in fear of such incursions, did not need such elaborate safeguards, and therefore contented themselves with ordinary enclosure walls. A religious of mature age and character was selected for the responsible office of porter, and to act as the channel of communication between the inmates and the outside world. His chamber was always close by, so that he might be at hand to fulfil his duties of receiving the poor and of announcing the arrival of guests. In the Egyptian monasteries the guest-house, situated near the entrance gateway, was placed under the