Abbot : The abbot designates the prelate who is at the head of an abbey. Ordinarily, this is the principal superior of a canonry. All prelates are not necessarily abbots, thus, in certain circumstances, a prior or an administrator may be the principal superior of a canonry. Historically, the figure of the abbot takes precedence and constitutes the norm.
Among the Premonstratensians, he is usually elected by all the professed brethren at a chapter meeting. He may be elected for life with the fixing (...)
Canonry : The canonry is constituted of an abbey (an autonomous house with usually an abbot at its head) or an autonomous priory (with a prior at its head) and its various dependent houses (priories, houses of study, centres of training, colleges or other institutions). The term is also used to designate the totality of the members of the entity thus defined.
Canons : The canons (Latin, canonicus, from the Greekc kanôn which initially means the ruler used for measuring) are, at the origin, priests, collaborators of the bishop, leading around him a communal life, near his church in the city in which he lives, without initially following any particular rule. Saint Augustine, become a bishop in 395 after having attempted a monastic experience, transformed his episcopal house into a “monastery of clerics” (clerics are those in the Church having been ordained: (...)
Chapter : Among monks, the community gathers daily around the superior who reads in order to comment upon it, an excerpt from the rule, in Latin capitulum. What is called the chapter is therefore this meeting which, depending on the case, may take place in the morning or in the evening. It is the moment when news is communicated, tasks distributed, or admitted violations of the rule sanctioned (in chapter language called “coulpes”, that is to say faults), when decisions are made (thus to have the right (...)
Circary : For the Premonstratensians, the circary was a region assigned to the care of a circator. Today, one would say a province under the vigilance of a visitor or inspector. The word is derived from the Latin circumire which means “go around something”, “make a round” and even, in military language “patrol”. It was, initially, a geographical entity grouping several monasteries or priories allowing the circator to go conveniently from one to the other to accomplish his task of control in the name of the (...)
Lay brothers : In past times communities were made up with canons and lay brothers. The latter led a rather different life, more manual work oriented.
Liturgy of the Hours : The lauds (“praise” in Latin) in the morning, at the moment the sun rises and the vespers (“evening” in Latin), at the moment that it sets and when the lamp for the night is lit, are the principal times and most symbolic moments.
According to the Roman division of the hours of the day and their denomination, we again find terce, sext and nones, the hours of the middle of the day, corresponding to the third, sixth and ninth hour of the day, that is to say 9 AM, 12 noon and 3 PM according to our (...)
Monks : Monks (from the Latin, monachus, from the Greek, monakhos which means solitary) are the heirs of the first recluses who fled the agitation and dispersion of the world tolive apart from society, solely in the service of God whom they wished to praise and celebrate, in their desire to lead a perfect life. These recluses little by little began to resemble a family which organised itself so as to devote itself to prayer and the search for God, without neglecting the elementary needs of human (...)
Prelate : The superior of the community, canonically elected for life or for a limited period. The Prelate cares for the unity of the community, to its spiritual and material growing. Most of the time the Prelate is Abbot, but can also be prior in case of and independent priory.
Prior : Appointed by the Prelate, the prior is a solemn profess, a priest, whose mission is to lead the community with the Prelate. The prior replaces the Prelate for the leading of the house when he is absent.