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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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144 news items

 
Salisbury Post
Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:55:25 -0700

JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST The new Albert J.D. Aymer Center was dedicated in a service on Thursday evening at the Hood Theological Seminary. The building, which will serve as the cafeteria on campus. Aymer served as president of the Hood for ...
 
Salisbury Post
Tue, 18 Mar 2014 22:03:45 -0700

Hood to hold ribbon-cutting for new refectory. Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:59 a.m.. Tweet. E-Mail; Print. SALISBURY — Hood Theological Seminary will celebrate the opening of its new refectory and multipurpose facility on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m..

Wisbech Standard

Wisbech Standard
Wed, 19 Mar 2014 06:07:30 -0700

“It links very nicely with the expansion in terms of our fields.” He added the mix of buildings on the site reflected the school's individuality and its evolving history. The new refectory would allow members of the school community, as well as ...
 
Austin American-Statesman
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:15:00 -0700

The service will be behind the Bastrop State Park refectory building. Please bring a lawn chair and dress appropriately for the weather. The restroom facilities are on the east side (the playground area) of the pool or inside the refectory building ...
 
Financial Times
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 05:22:30 -0700

The facsimile was commissioned by Venice's Giorgio Cini Foundation in 2007 so that it could hang in the monastery's refectory, recreating the original context of the artwork. “I was incredibly nervous,” Lowe says, recalling the day of its unveiling ...
 
The Atlantic
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:05:58 -0700

Breakfast follows in the refectory: bread, jam, fruit, and juice, the women bustling reverently around him. John Paul had a Clinton-style appetite for groups of people with himself at the center, and during his pontificate, his priest-secretary ...

New Statesman

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Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:38:51 -0700

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Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:26:15 -0700

The scene was popularized in "The Last Supper," late 15th-century mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy. The Last Supper, most likely a feast of Passover, is the preparation of the ...
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