Carthusian Brothers in the Kitchen of The Grand Chartreuse
I rang the great bell at the convent gate, and begged for hospitality. A tall, cowled monk received me, but uttered no word. He merely made a sign for me to follow him, and, closing the gate and shooting the massive bolts, he led the way across a court, where I was met by another monk, who was allowed to break the rigid vow of silence so far that he could inquire of strangers what their business was. He asked me if I desired food and rest, and on my answering in the affirmative he led me to a third and silent brother, and by him I was conducted to a cell with whitewashed walls. It contained a small bed of unpainted pine wood, and a tiny table, on which was an iron basin and a jug of water. A crucifix hung on the wall, and beneath it was a prie-dieu.
A Monks Cell in Carthusian monastery The Grand Chartreuse
"La vie d'un bon Chartreux doit être
Une oraison presque continuelle."
[The life of a good Chartreux must be an almost continuous oration.]
The above is the legend that is painted on the door of every cell occupied by a monk of the silent Order of Carthusians. To pray always for those who never pray; to pray for those who have done you wrong; to pray for those who sin every hour of their lives; to pray for all sorts and conditions of men, no matter what their colour, no matter what their creed; to pray that God will remove doubt and scepticism from the world, and open all human eyes to the way of faith and salvation. Such is the chief duty of the Chartreux.
Before leaving the neighbourhood I paid a visit to the Chapelle de St. Bruno, which is within half an hour's walk of the monastery. It is erected in a very wild spot, said to be the site of the saint's original hermitage. There is nothing particularly interesting in the chapel, which is in a state of dilapidation. But it is curious to speculate that here dwelt, in what was little more than a cavern, the man who, by the austerity of his life and his gloomy views, was able to found a religious Order which has endured for many ages, and is one of the few that escaped destruction during the revolutions and upheavals of the last century. The situation of the Chapelle is one of singular loneliness and desolation, and for eight months of the year at least it is buried in snow.
In the Chapel at daybreak
This strange community of Carthusians is divided into categories of "Fathers" and "Brothers." The former wear robes of white wool, cinctured with a girdle of white leather. Their heads and faces are closely shaven, and the head is generally enveloped in a cowl, which is attached to the robe. They are all ordained priests, and it is to them the rule of silence, solitude, and fasting, more particularly applies. The fasting is represented by the daily bill of fare I have given, and it never varies all the year round, except on Fridays and certain days in Lent, when, poor as it is, it is still further reduced. The solitude consists of many hours spent in prayer in the loneliness of the cell, and the silence imposed is only broken by monosyllabic answers to questions addressed to them. Sustained conversation is a fault, and would be severely punished. Aspirants for the Fatherhood have to submit to a most trying novitiate, which lasts for five full years. After that they are ordained, and from that moment they renounce the world, with all its luring temptations and its sin. Their lives henceforth must be strictly holy in accordance with the tenets of their religion. The Brothers are the manual labourers, the hewers of wood and drawers of water. They do everything that is required in the way of domestic service. They wear sandals on their bare feet, and their bodies are clothed in a long, loose, brown robe, fastened at the waist by a rope girdle. On both branches of the Order the same severe régime is compulsory, but on Fridays the Brothers only get a morsel of black bread and a cup of cold water. The attention to spiritual duties is all-absorbing, and under no circumstances must it be relaxed. Matins commence in the chapel at twelve o'clock at night, and continue until about two o'clock.
From Joh. Wolfii Lect. Memorab. (Lavingæ, 1600.)
It will be seen by the curious woodcut from Baptista Mantuanus, that he consigned Pope Joan to the jaws of hell, notwithstanding her choice. The verses accompanying this picture are:—
“Hic pendebat adhuc sexum mentita virile
Fœmina, cui triplici Phrygiam diademate mitram
Extollebat apex: et pontificalis adulter.”
It need hardly be stated that the whole story of Pope Joan is fabulous, and rests on not the slightest historical foundation. It was probably a Greek invention to throw discredit on the papal hierarchy, first circulated more than two hundred years after the date of the supposed Pope. Even Martin Polonus (A. D. 1282), who is the first to give the details, does so merely on popular report.
Depiction of the devil
Jesus on Cross
Crucifixion of Christ
Trial proof of the key block of center sheet of The Crucifixion, after Tintoretto. National Gallery of Art (Rosenwald Collection).
Ignatius de Loyola, 1491-1556 A.D.
Inigo Lopez de Recalde, or Loyola, as he is commonly known, was born at Guipuzcoa, in Spain, in 1491. He was educated as a page in the court [pg 262]of Ferdinand the Catholic. He afterwards became a soldier and led a very wild life until his twenty-ninth year. During the siege of Pamplona, in 1521, he was severely wounded, and while convalescing he was given lives of Christ and of the saints to read. His perusal of these stories of spiritual combat inspired a determination to imitate the glorious achievements of the saints.
Dominic de Guzman, 1170-1221 A.D.
Half-way between Osma and Aranda in Old Castile, Spain, is a little village known as "the fortunate Calahorra." Here was the castle of the Guzmans, where Dominic was born. His family was of high `rank` and character, a noble house of warriors, statesmen and saints. If we accept the legends, his greatness was foreshadowed. Before his birth, his mother dreamed she saw her son under the figure of a black-and-white dog, with a torch in his mouth. "A true dream," says Milman, "for he will scent out heresy and apply the torch to the faggots;" but, as will be seen later, this observation does not rest on undisputed evidence.
When about twenty years of age he entered the monastery at Citeaux with five of his brothers. His genius might have secured ecclesiastical preferment, but he chose to dig ditches, plant fields and govern a monastery. He entered the cloister at Citeaux because the monks were few and poor, and when it became crowded because of his fame, and its rule became lax because of the crowds, he left the cloister to found a home of his own. The abbot selected twelve monks, following the number of apostles, and at their head placed young Bernard. He led the twelve to the valley of Wormwood, and there, in a cheerless forest, he established the monastery of Clairvaux, or Clear Valley. His rule was fiercely severe because he himself loved hardships and rough fare. "It in no way befits religion," he writes, "to seek remedies for the body, nor is it good for health either. You may now and then take some cheap herb,--such as poor men may,--and this is done sometimes. But to buy drugs, to hunt up doctors, to take doses, is unbecoming to religion and hostile to purity." His success in winning men to the monastic life was almost phenomenal. It was said that "mothers hid their sons, wives their husbands, and companions their friends, lest they be persuaded by his eloquent message to enter the cloister." "He was avoided like a plague," says one.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem
The Parish Clerk sprinkling the Knight and Lady
Picture shows the costume and the holy water-pot and aspersoir, and to indicate how he went into all the rooms of the house now into the hall sprinkling the lord and lady who are at breakfast.
The Parish Clerk sprinkling the Cook
The picture will shows the costume and the holy water-pot and aspersoir, and to indicate how he went into all the rooms of the house—now into the kitchen sprinkling the cook.
A woodcut of the fifteenth century, from a manuscript life of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in the British Museum; the subject is the presentation of the pilgrim earl to the pope, and it enables us to bring into one view the costumes of pope, cardinal, and bishop.
We give another representation from the picture of John Ball, the priest who was concerned in Wat Tyler’s rebellion, taken from a MS. of Froissart’s Chronicle, in the Bibliothèque Impériale at Paris. The whole picture is interesting; the background is a church, in whose churchyard are three tall crosses. Ball is preaching from the pulpit of his saddle to the crowd of insurgents who occupy the left side of the picture.
The cut represents a group of Cistercian monks, from a manuscript in the British Museum. It shows some of them sitting with hands crossed and concealed in their sleeves—an attitude which was considered modest and respectful in the presence of superiors; some with the cowl over the head. It will be observed that some are and some are not bearded.
The convents of friars were not independent bodies, like the Benedictine and Augustinian abbeys; each order was an organised body, governed by the general of the order, and under him, by provincial priors, priors of the convents, and their subordinate officials. There are usually reckoned four orders of friars—the Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustines.
“I found there freres,
All the foure orders,
Techynge the peple
To profit of themselves.”
Piers Ploughman, l. 115.
The four orders are pictured together in the woodcut page from the thirteenth century MS. Harl. 1,527.
They were called Friars because, out of humility, their founders would not have them called Father and Dominus, like the monks, but simply Brother (Frater, Frère, Friar).
The coronation procession of Charles V. of France, will help us to exhibit some of the orders of the clergy with their proper costume and symbols. First goes the aquabajalus, in alb, sprinkling holy water; then a cross-bearer in cassock and surplice; then two priests, in cassock, surplice, and cope; then follows a canon in his cap (biretta), with his furred amys over his arm.
In 1098 a.d., arose the Cistercian order. It took the name from Citeaux (Latinised into Cistercium), the house in which the new order was founded by Robert de Thierry. Stephen Harding, an Englishman, the third abbot, brought the new order into some repute; but it is to the fame of St. Bernard, who joined it in 1113 a.d., that the speedy and widespread popularity of the new order is to be attributed. The order was introduced into England at Waverly, in Surrey, in 1128 a.d. The Cistercians professed to observe the rule of St. Benedict with rigid exactness, only that some of the hours which were devoted by the Benedictines to reading and study, the Cistercians devoted to manual labour.
In the year 1084 a.d., the Carthusian order was founded by St. Bruno, a monk of Cologne, at Chartreux, near Grenoble. This was the most severe of all the reformed Benedictine orders. To the strictest observance of the rule of Benedict they added almost perpetual silence; flesh was forbidden even to the sick; their food was confined to one meal of pulse, bread, and water, daily. It is remarkable that this the strictest of all monastic rules has, even to the present day, been but slightly modified; and that the monks have never been accused of personally deviating from it.
The Augustinians claim the great St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, as their founder, and relate that he established the monastic communities in Africa, and gave them a rule. That he did patronise monachism in Africa we gather from his writings, but it is not clear that he founded any distinct order; nor was any order called after his name until the middle of the ninth century.
In the year 529 a.d., St. Benedict, an Italian of noble birth and great reputation, introduced into his new monastery on Monte Cassino—a hill between Rome and Naples—a new monastic rule. To the three vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity, which formed the foundation of most of the old rules, he added another, that of manual labour (for seven hours a day), not only for self-support, but also as a duty to God and man.
The Nuns of Fontevraud was another female order of Augustinians, of which little is known. It was founded at Fontevraud in France, and three houses of the order were established in England in the time of Henry II.; they had monks and nuns within the same enclosure, and all subject to the rule of an abbess.
Bedesmen - In time of Henry VII
The group represents the abbot and some of the monks, and behind them some of the bedesmen, each of whom has the royal badge—the rose and crown—on the shoulder of his habit, and holds in his hand his rosary, the symbol of his prayers.
The Cellarer was in fact the steward of the house; his modern representative is the bursar of a college. He had the care of everything relating to the provision of the food and vessels of the convent. He was exempt from the observance of some of the services in church; he had the use of horses and servants for the fulfilment of his duties, and sometimes he appears to have had separate apartments. The cellarer, as we have said, wore no distinctive dress or badge; but in the Catalogus Benefactorum of St. Alban’s there occurs a portrait of one “Adam Cellarius,” who for his distinguished merit had been buried among the abbots in the chapter-house, and had his name and effigy recorded in the Catalogus; he is holding two keys in one hand and a purse in the other, the symbols of his office; and in his quaint features—so different from those of the dignified abbot whom we have given from the same book—the limner seems to have given us the type of a business-like and not ungenial cellarer.
The picture represents a priest confessing a lady in a church. The characters in the scene are allegorical; the priest is Genius, and the lady is Dame Nature; but it is not the less an accurate picture of a confessional scene of the latter part of the fourteenth century.
The Franciscans were styled by their founder Fratri Minori—lesser brothers, Friars Minors; they were more usually called Grey Friars, from the colour of their habits, or Cordeliers, from the knotted cord which formed their characteristic girdle. Their habit was originally a grey tunic with long loose sleeves (but not quite so loose as those of the Benedictines), a knotted cord for a girdle, and a black hood; the feet always bare, or only protected by sandals.
Dominic gave to his order the name of Preaching Friars; more commonly they were styled Dominicans, or, from the colour of their habits, Black Friars—their habit consisting of a white tunic, fastened with a white girdle, over that a white scapulary, and over all a black mantle and hood, and shoes; the lay brethren wore a black scapulary.
The word clericus—clerk—was one of very wide and rather vague significance, and included not only the various grades of clerks in orders, of whom we have spoken, but also all men who followed any kind of occupation which involved the use of reading and writing; finally, every man who could read might claim the “benefit of clergy,” i.e., the legal immunities of a clerk.
The convent is the name especially appropriate to the body of individuals who composed a religious community.
The whole convent was under the government of the abbot, who, however, was bound to govern according to the rule of the order. Sometimes he was elected by the convent; sometimes the king or some patron had a share in the election. Frequently there were estates attached to the office, distinct from those of the convent; sometimes the abbot had only an allowance out of the convent estates; but always he had great power over the property of the convent, and bad abbots are frequently accused of wasting the property of the house, and enriching their relatives and friends out of it.
The Carmelite Friars had their origin, as their name indicates, in the East. According to their own traditions, ever since the days of Elijah, whom they claim as their founder, the rocks of Carmel have been inhabited by a succession of hermits, who have lived after the pattern of the great prophet. Their institution as an order of friars, however, dates from the beginning of the thirteenth century, when Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, gave them a rule, founded upon, but more severe than, that of St. Basil; and gave them a habit of white and red stripes, which, according to tradition, was the fashion of the wonder-working mantle of their prophet-founder.
The four figures in the Vignette are intended to represent the chief protestant reformers; Luther in the centre, Cranmer on his right hand, Knox on his left, and Calvin on his extreme right; each holding in his hand a manuscript or printed copy of the Word of God.
the Rock on which they are standing, is intended to denote the Truth of the doctrine of the Divine Oracle, on which, as on an immutable Rock, the Reformers rested all their claims, in labouring to restore pure Christianity.
Around the Rock of Truth, the waves of Error and Superstition are seen dashing.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Cypran, bishop of Carthage, was an eminent prelate, and a pious ornament of the church. The brightness of his genius was tempered by the solidarity of his judgement; and with all the accomplishmments of the gentleman he blended the virtues of the Christian.yprian
The first persecution, in the primitive ages if the church, was begun by that cruel tyrant Nero Domitius, the sixth emperor of Rome. This monarch reigned , for the space of five years, with tolerable credit to himself, but then gave way to the greatest extravagane of temper, and to the most atrocious barbarities. Among other diabolical outrages, he ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire, which was done by his officers, guards, and servants.
Polycarpus, died in the year 170
Polycarpus, hearing that he was sought after, escaped, but was dicovered by a child. From this circumstance, and having dreamed that his bed suddenly became on fire, and was consumed in a moment, he concluded that it was God's will that he should seal his faith with martyrdom.
Ignatius (died in the year 111)
Trajan commanded the martyrdom of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. He boldly vindicated the faith of Christ before the emperor. for which, being cast into prison, he was tormented in a most cruel manner; for after being dreadfully scourged, he was compelled to hold fire in his hands, and at the same time, papers dipped in oil were putto his sides, and set on light. His flesh was then torn with red hot pincers, and at last he was despatched, being torn to pieces by wild beasts.
Justin Martyr was a native of Neapolis, in Samaria, and was born A.D. 103. Died in the year 139
Being commanded as usual to deny their faith, and sacrifice to the pagan idols, they absolutely refused to do eeither. On their refusal, they were condemned to be first scourged and then beheaded; which sentence was executed with all imagined severity.