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Encyclopedia > Priory

A priory is an ecclesiastical circumscription run by a prior.

Monastic unit

Priories can be divided into two types, regular and alien. A regular priory is a monastery governed by a prior or prioress, usually Catholic. An alien priory is a priory which is dependent on a foreign mother house, and an alien priory cell was a residence of two or three monks dependent on a foreign mother house but sent to exploit a distant estate. Alien priory cells were suppressed in 1414. A monastery is the habitation of monks, derived from the Greek word for a hermits cell. ... Events Council of Constance begins. ...

Originally, a priory is a secondary house created by an existing abbey, but this distinction fell out of use in late mediaeval times. An abbey (from the Latin abbatia, which is derived from the Syriac abba, father), is a Christian monastery or convent, under the government of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serve as the spiritual father or mother of the community. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ...

Priories were generally organized as follows:

The prior was the head of the priory, and although he oversaw most aspects of the running of the priory, many specific supervisory positions existed to help him manage the priory.

The sub prior was essentially a deputy prior and the second in command.

There could be various other lower, functional positions, depending on the size and activities of the priory, such as :

  • the sacrist, second only to the prior and sub prior, who was in charge of everything holy, including services, books and relics
  • a circuitor, the monk in charge of discipline
  • a novice-master who supervised the novice monks
  • the cellarer, who provided for the monks practical needs for daily life, such as supplies
  • a librarian, who managed the books
  • the cantor, who supervised (choir) music
  • a chamberlain, in charge of clothing
  • a kitchener, in charge of food
  • a guest-master, in charge of seeing to the priory's guests
  • an infirmerer, who took care of the sick and the elderly monks
  • a treasurer, who supervised the priory's jewels, ornaments, and vestaments
  • the almoner who managed alms distributed to the poor.

The prior was elected by a majority vote of the monks. At election times the votes were all counted equally from the youngest novice up to the sub prior. Often the local bishop would endorse a candidate, however the election was left entirely up to the monks. Alms Bag taken from some Tapestry in Orleans, Fifteenth Century. ... A bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy who, in certain Christian churches, holds a position of authority. ...

Ken Follet's historical novel The Pillars of the Earth provides the reader with an accurate (albeit fictional) representation of priory life in 12th-centry England. The relationships between individual priory members, between neighboring priories, and between the priory & diocese are well documented. Ken Follett (born June 5, 1949) is a British author of thrillers and historical novels. ... A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, in which the time of the action predates the lifetime of the author. ... The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel about the building of a cathedral in Kingsbridge (a fictional town located roughly where the present-day town of Marlborough, Wiltshire is) in England, written by Ken Follett. ...

  • There exist also offices using the title prior at a higher level of an order's organization, such as a Prior provincilis, in a province of (only?) the order of Decalced Augustinians

... Brother Roger of Taizé, 2003 The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian mens monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France // Priory It was initiated in 1940 by Frère Roger (Brother Roger), who remained its Prior until his death on August 16, 2005 and is dedicated...

Other prior and priories

In some abbeys, there also was a prior, but as the deputy of the Abbot.

Other congregations may have independent priories that depend in no way on an abbey, and may even have been founded independently.

Furthermore, a priory (or priorate) can be part of a military order that is headed by a knight, styled prior but more often a warrior or administrator than a member, and usually not a clergyman (often the office is opened only to laymen).

Priory Estate

The Priory is also an area in Dudley, West Midlands. A Benedictine Priory was built in the town about 800 years ago but it has been in ruins since at least the 19th century. Priory Park was opened in the grounds of the ruins just before the Second World War and the Priory Housing Estate was built in the 1930's. The houses around the park in roads like Gervase Drive and Woodland Avenue, and the south side of Priory Road, were built for owner occupiers but most of the estate was built by the council to rehouse people from town centre slum clearences. The estate survives to this day and is part of the most deprived ward in Dudley - Castle and Priory, which also includes the Wren's Nest Estate and the area around the Castle Gate complex.

  Results from FactBites:
A priori - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (688 words)
Descartes considered the knowledge of the self, or cogito ergo sum, to be a priori, because he thought that one needn't refer to past experience to consider one's own existence.
John Locke, in believing that reflection is a part of experience, gave a platform by which the entire notion of the "a priori" might be abandoned.
However, it is known a priori, because one metre was defined as the length of that bar, so the bar must have been one metre long (at the time it served as the standard) - it is a tautology.
  More results at FactBites »



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