Category:Regular clergy

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"Regular" clergy lived a life of prayer and labour according to a Rule (Latin ‘regula’). Monastic communities following the Rule of St Benedict were formed (or refounded) in England from the 940s and played an important role in the spiritual life of the later Anglo-Saxon world. Neil Lucock has kindly prepared a guide to help prepare a monastic persona (pdf).

As a key part of regular religious life involved renouncing the world, candidates must have a very good explanation for being outside their monastery!

Monks

Monks could be ordained as deacons, priests and bishops; a substantial proportion of the English episcopate c.970-1020 were monks. In our period, there were only Benedictine monasteries. Ordained monks may wear vestments appropriate to their rank, as described for secular clergy.

Monks should have some understanding of the Rule of St Benedict and what it involved in practice in later Anglo-Saxon England (the services of the Divine Office, restrictions on diet, periods of silence) and should be aware of the Regularis Concordia (a document outlining how monks would live and how the king would treat them). Although monks took a vow of poverty, the Rule stipulated that anyone leaving the monastery should be given good quality clothing so that the house looked respectable.

Monks could spend their time writing or praying; talking to the worldly should be discouraged (and silence was enforced at certain times of the day!). Monks would only leave a monastery for a specific reason, such as to take something to another monastery or return it. They might accompany a rich person to write some document or read for people. They might go as a missionary to a pagan land (look up St. Boniface), but in our period, England was Christian. They could go to Rome, perhaps to borrow a book or to return one. A 'travelling monk' could also be collecting tithes from lands owned by their monastery. Or ensuring that lay brothers / labourers were not slacking in their toil in the fields. A Monastic Cellarer is a senior official of the house and may be travelling to gather provisions. An Abbot or Prior would be influential people who no doubt would enjoy some autonomy from the Rule. Perhaps these individuals would travel to meet and influence their wealthy peers, in Gods name. It depends on the period, before Edgar's reforms, monks could live with women and enjoy life. After Edgar's monastic reforms, many monks were thrown out of the orders and monks started to behave. Read Regularis Concordia or the Rule of St Benedict for a good insight on how monks must behave after the reforms.

The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society by John Blair

Nuns

Early medieval nunneries were invariably ruled by women from noble families, and it would be unusual for anyone of low status to enter a nunnery.

Nuns should have some understanding of the Rule of St Benedict and what it involved in practice in later Anglo-Saxon England (the services of the Divine Office, restrictions on diet, periods of silence) and should be aware of the Regularis Concordia (a document outlining how regular clergy would live and how the king would treat them). Although nuns took a vow of poverty, the Rule of St Benedict stipulated that anyone leaving the house should be given good quality clothing to give an impression of respectability.

Nuns should have a good reason for being found away from their house, especially if alone. Nuns could spend their time writing or praying; talking to disreputable men should be strictly forbidden!

Subcategories

This category has only the following subcategory.

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