During the long Middle Ages in Europe, abbeys served a dual purpose : a religious building for the monastic life of the various Christian orders and a cultural center. As a place of worship Abbey can be a monastery or a convent. What is Abbey and Abbot?
A prayer and work center
Each abbey is governed by a religious order. In the case of the Benedictine monks, daily life in the abbeys was quite simple, as they devoted themselves to prayer and work . As expressed in the motto of São Bento, they dedicated themselves to prayer and work (al ora et labora). The prayer had several modalities: the maidens in the first hour of the morning; the lauds at midday and the asps in the afternoon. All of these daily prayers are known as “hours of divine office”. What is Abbey and Abbot?
As for work, it depended on each abbey, but the cultivation of fields and gardens, small- scale livestock , bakery, shoemaking and tailoring was customary . In some cases, the abbeys had an inn to receive pilgrims on their way to the holy cities of Christendom. What is Abbey and Abbot?
The abbot or abbess is considered the most responsible and spiritual leader of the religious community that lives in the abbey.
In relation to its functions, there are basically two: assume the administration and enforce the norms that govern monastic life (the norms of a religious community are known as rules, the best known being the rule of St. Benedict). Below the abbot or abbess are the prior, the sub-prior and the other members of the community.
Among the daily activities carried out, we can highlight the following: the care of the church, the manufacture of candles, the care of religious clothing and the maintenance of the cemetery.
In relation to the election of the abbot or abbess, it is the members of the community who elect by general agreement . In most communities the election of the abbot is done by secret ballot. What is Abbey and Abbot?
The library and scriptorium are the abbey’s dependencies dedicated to intellectual activity.
Most abbeys did and do have a library . In it there was a scriptorium, a place for the copying of manuscripts, which were drawn up by the scribes. What is Abbey and Abbot?
Illustrators also work on manuscripts, dedicated to decorating the manuscripts with ornaments.