Monks & Ministries
Jobs at the Monastery
here are the roles in the church.
- Abbot - The Abbot was the head of the monastery or abbey.
- Prior - The monk that was second in charge. Sort of the deputy to the abbot.
- Lector - The monk in charge of reading the lessons in church.
- Cantor - Leader of the monk's choir.
- Sacrist - The monk in charge of the books.
how they got there goal
In the late Middle Ages (the 1200s), Aristotle excited a lot of thought in the monks and scholars of the universities. These neo-Aristotelians were called schoolmen, or scholastics. By studying Aristotle and his Arab and Jewish commentators, they learned to think more logically, but their goals were still essentialy theological.
The Daily Life of Medieval Monks
The daily life of Medieval monks was dedicated to worship, reading, and manual labor. In addition to their attendance at church, the monks spent several hours in reading from the Bible, private prayer, and meditation. During the day the Medieval monks worked hard in the Monastery and on its lands. The life of medieval monks were filled with the following work and chores:
- Washing and cooking for the monastery
- Raising the necessary supplies of vegetables and grain
- Reaping, Sowing, Ploughing, Binding and Thatching, Haymaking and Threshing
- Producing wine, ale and honey
- Providing medical care for the community
- Providing education for boys and novices
- Copying the manuscripts of classical authors
- Providing hospitality for pilgrims
the differences between other religious leaders
Monks must be distinguished from the clergy. Priests, pastors, and rabbis are full-time professionals who are trained to work in society. They have what is called a religious vocation. But the direction their work takes is quite different from the highly individualized style of life undertaken by monks.
Pilgrimages were a very important part of life in the Middle Ages. Many people went on journeys to holy places like Canterbury Cathedral in England. Sometimes they had to travel for many months and they often slept in monasteries , where they were safe. They told each other stories on their long trip.
Day by day
Monks went to the monastery church eight times a day in a routine of worship that involved singing, chanting, and reciting prayers from the divine offices and from the service for Mass. The first office, "Matins," began at 2 A.M. and the next seven followed at regular intervals, culminating in "Vespers" in the evening and "Compline" before the monks retired at night. Between prayers, the monks read or copied religious texts and music.