The story

The Power of the Church in the Medieval World (continued)


Life in the monasteries

Not all Christians were in favor of the church accumulating wealth and criticizing the luxurious life that many bishops and priests led. Seeking to retake the teachings and the poor life of Christ, many religious people opted for a simpler life, rejecting material goods. Thus arose the monastic orders.

Among the new orders, the ones created by São Bento

Abbeys: Centers of Prayer, Work and Intellectual Production

In the Middle Ages numerous abbeys were founded. Some have become very famous and still exist today, such as Melk's in Austria.


Melk Abbey, Austria

It is called abbey the residence of monks or nuns ruled by an abbot or abbess.

The medieval abbeys were practically self-sufficient. They usually had churches, libraries, many rooms (cells), workshops for the production and repair of tools and wagons, stables and stables, kitchens, etc.

They were always located in the center of a large estate where wheat, barley, rye, vines, fruits, etc. were grown. Pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, oxen, cows, horses, etc. were also raised.

The monks themselves worked in cultivation and rearing. But some spent their time in the library copying and studying the works of the great writers of antiquity, especially the Greeks and Romans. They were the copyist monks. They produced true works of art. In the margins of the pages, they drew illustrations (illuminations), using a font that we know today as Gothic.


Illustration of a copyist monk


Text with illuminations and gothic letter

In the abbeys, besides work, most of the time was devoted to prayer and sacred singing.

The abbeys also had numerous servants who performed the heaviest work.