MONASTERY


MONASTERY
   Western European monastic communities began to develop into more formalized brick and stone architectural compounds during the reign of Charlemagne in the 800s. Monasteries, which function as a place of prayer and are inhabited by people separated from the secular world, are found in many religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity. When the more hermetic form of individual Christian monasticism began to develop in the third century into a larger, more codified community of members, the monastery became an architectural entity as well as a way of life. Accordingly, monasteries began to develop into a complex of buildings suited to the needs of the community, to include churches or abbeys, dormitories, refectories, hospitals, and other such buildings that allowed for greater self-sufficiency. Although some monasteries became the center of urban communities, most were originally located in rural settings on large tracts of land cultivated by the community members. Many monasteries were surrounded by walls to more effectively partition the spiritual space of the monastery from the distractions of secular life. From the Order of Saint Benedict, established at the Monastery of Montecassino in Italy in 529, came the regulations followed by most subsequent monasteries across Europe. Both the Abbey of Saint Riquier at the Monastery of Centula, built in 799 and later destroyed but known today through early drawings and archaeological evidence, and the plan for the Benedictine monastery of Saint Gall, drawn around 817, reveal a logical and clear approach to monastic construction that recalls Ancient Roman urban planning. At Saint Gall, the monastic plan was drawn in a grid-like pattern with the abbey church located in the center of the rectangular site, while the remaining buildings are organized in a hierarchical yet highly functional group around the four quadrants of the plan. These buildings include the refectory, a brew house, a bake house, a hospital for the poor, a school, and a workroom for artisans, among other buildings. The plan is efficiently divided to allow public entrance to the guest house, hospital, and school, while the more private areas, such as the convent for novices, are located behind the church.
   Finally, the monastic community of the Cluny Abbey, established in 909, grew to become the best-endowed monastery in all of Europe by the 12th century. Although much of the monastery was later destroyed, its existing town house in Paris, built from 1485 to 1510, is one of the finest examples of late medieval urban civic architecture in France.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

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  • Monastery — of St. Nilus on Stolbnyi Island in Lake Seliger near Ostashkov, Russia, ca. 1910 …   Wikipedia

  • monastery — (n.) c.1400, from O.Fr. monastere monastery (14c.) and directly from L.L. monasterium, from Eccles. Gk. monasterion a monastery, from monazein to live alone, from monos alone (see MONO (Cf. mono )). With suffix terion place for (doing something) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Monastery — Mon as*te*ry, n.; pl. {Monasteries}. [L. monasterium, Gr. ?, fr. ? a solitary, a monk, fr. ? to be alone, live in solitude, fr. mo nos alone. Cf. {Minister}.] A house of religious retirement, or of secusion from ordinary temporal concerns,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • monastery — *cloister, convent, nunnery, abbey, priory …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • monastery — [n] place where monks live abbey, cloister, friary, house, lamasery, priory, religious community; concepts 368,439,516 …   New thesaurus

  • monastery — ► NOUN (pl. monasteries) ▪ a community of monks living under religious vows. ORIGIN Greek monast rion, from monazein live alone …   English terms dictionary

  • monastery — [män′ə ster΄ē] n. pl. monasteries [ME monasterie < LL(Ec) monasterium < LGr(Ec) monastērion < Gr monazein, to be alone < monos, alone: see MONO ] 1. a building or residence for monks or others who have withdrawn from the world for… …   English World dictionary

  • monastery — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ great ▪ the great monastery of St Quentin ▪ ancient, medieval, old ▪ ruined ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • monastery — UK [ˈmɒnəst(ə)rɪ] / US [ˈmɑnəˌsterɪ] noun [countable] Word forms monastery : singular monastery plural monasteries a building where a group of monks (= a religious community of men) lives and works …   English dictionary

  • monastery — monasterial /mon euh stear ee euhl/, adj. /mon euh ster ee/, n., pl. monasteries. 1. a house or place of residence occupied by a community of persons, esp. monks, living in seclusion under religious vows. 2. the community of persons living in… …   Universalium