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The refectory of the Convent of Christ, Tomar, Portugal.

A refectory (also frater, frater house, fratery) is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools, and academic institutions. One of the places the term is most often used today is in graduate seminaries. It derives from the Latin reficere "to remake or restore," via Late Latin refectorium, which means "a place one goes to be restored."

Refectories and monastic culture[edit]

Summer Refectory in the Grand Masters' Palace, Malbork Castle.

Communal meals are the times when all monks of an institution are together. Diet and eating habits differ somewhat by monastic order, and more widely by schedule. The Benedictine rule is illustrative.

The Rule of St Benedict orders two meals. Dinner is provided for year-round; supper is also served from late spring to early fall, except for Wednesdays and Fridays. The diet originally consisted of simple fare: two dishes, with fruit as a third course if available. The food was simple, with the meat of mammals forbidden to all but the sick. Moderation in all aspects of diet is the spirit of Benedict's law. Meals are eaten in silence, facilitated sometimes by hand signals. A single monk might read from the Scriptures or writings of the saints aloud during the meals.

Size, structure, and placement[edit]

Refectories vary in size and dimension, based primarily on wealth and size of the monastery, as well as when the room was built. They share certain design features. Monks eat at long benches; important officials sit at raised benches at one end of the hall. A lavabo, or large basin for hand-washing usually stands outside the refectory.

Tradition also fixes other factors. In England, the refectory is generally built on an undercroft (perhaps in an allusion to the upper room where the Last Supper reportedly took place) on the side of the cloister opposite the church. Benedictine models are traditionally generally laid out on an east-west axis, while Cistercian models lay north-south.

Norman refectories could be as large as 160 feet (49 m) long by 35 feet (11 m) wide (as is that in the abbey at Norwich). Even relatively early refectories might have windows, but these became larger and more elaborate in the high medieval period. The refectory at Cluny Abbey was lit through thirty-six large glazed windows. The twelfth-century abbey at Mont Saint-Michel had six windows, five feet wide by twenty feet high.

Eastern Orthodox[edit]

Trapeza (refectory church) at Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

In Eastern Orthodox monasteries, the Refectory (Greek: τράπεζα, trapeza) is considered a sacred place, and even in some cases is constructed as a full church with Altar and Iconostasis. Some services are intended to be performed specifically in the Trapeza. There is always at least one Icon with a lampada (oil lamp) kept burning in front of it. The service of the Lifting of the Panagia is performed at the end of meals. During Bright Week, this service is replaced with the Lifting of the Artos. In some monasteries, the Ceremony of Forgiveness at the beginning of Great Lent is performed in the Trapeza. All food served in the Trapeza should be blessed, and for that purpose, holy water is often kept in the kitchen.

Modern usage[edit]

As well as continued use of the historic monastic meaning, the word refectory is often used in a modern context to refer to a café or cafeteria that is open to the public—including non-worshipers such as tourists—attached to a cathedral or abbey. This usage is particularly prevalent in Church of England buildings, which use the takings to supplement their income.[1]

Many universities in the UK also call their student cafeteria or dining facilities the refectory.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]

References[edit]

  • Adams, Henry, Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres. New York: Penguin, 1986.
  • Fernie, E. C. The Architecture of Norman England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Harvey, Barbara. Living and Dying in England, 1100-1450. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
  • Singman, Jeffrey. Daily Life in Medieval Europe. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
  • Webb, Geoffrey. Architecture in Britain: the Middle Ages. Baltimore: Penguin, 1956.

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refectory — Please support Wikipedia.
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119 news items

 
Columbus Monthly
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:18:45 -0700

Perhaps this is why, as he hustles from side to side, the former Refectory pastry chef always stops to say hello. His friendliness, mixed with soul-warming aromas of warm sugar and butter, makes what could be a cramped and awkward space (especially if ...
 
Austin American-Statesman
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:37:30 -0700

Texas state Sen. Kirk Watson on Sunday will emcee a free, county-wide Democratic rally at the Bastrop State Park Refectory from 3-5 p.m.. Watson will introduce many of the candidates running for statewide office, including Sam Houston, who is running ...
 
amNY
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:18:45 -0700

Dominique Ansel and friends created a Wonderland of desserts at the High Line Hotel refectory on Friday. Those lucky enough to get in were treated to magical concoctions from Mad Hatter-inspired trifles to mushroom and concord grape tarts to kombucha ...

Austin Weekly News (blog)

Austin Weekly News (blog)
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:30:00 -0700

The party will take place on Thursday, December 4th from 5pm-9pm at the Columbus Park Refectory at 5701 W. Jackson in Chicago. Come for networking, light refreshments, and live entertainment from artists assembled by Local-Motions Performing Arts ...

New York Times (blog)

New York Times (blog)
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:22:30 -0700

Since serving as the refectory of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, the Great Hall of Christ Church (bottom center) has become the most visited site at the University of Oxford, and the Witch's House (top center), built by the Hollywood art director ...
 
Austin Weekly News (blog)
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:52:30 -0700

The party will take place on Thursday, December 4th from 5pm-9pm at the Columbus Park Refectory at 5701 W. Jackson in Chicago. Come for networking, light refreshments, and live entertainment from artists assembled by Local-Motions Performing Arts ...

bdaily

bdaily
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 03:07:30 -0700

Northern Monk Brew Co have announced the opening of the £100k Northern Monk Refectory, a tap room, bottle shop, events space and pop-up kitchen based in Leeds. Based at The Old Flax Store of Marshall's Mill in Holbeck Urban Village the new home ...

White Mountain Independent

White Mountain Independent
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:07:30 -0700

It was only when Father Colombiere's book, “Spiritual Retreat,” was read in the refectory in 1684 that the community accepted the messages from the Sacred Heart. In 1689, Margaret Mary was pleased to know support from another Jesuit, Father John ...
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