Detlef Hartung – Georg Trenz


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ORA ET LABORA
Son et Lumière in the former Cistercian monastery,
Threshing floor, Monastery Fürstenfeld


 

The monks’ hourly prayers shape the entire course of their day. “Seven times a day I praise thee for thy righteous ordinances”, says the prophet in Psalm 119, 164, and St. Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism puts it like this in chapter 16 of his monastic Rule: “this sacred sevenfold number will be fulfilled by us in this wise if we perform the duties of our service at the time of Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Complin” (RB 16,2, trans. Rev. Boniface Verheyen, OSB). These seven times of prayer in the daytime are complemented by the times for prayer at night, the so–called vigils. Another important life rule for many monks was the Benedictine watchword ora et labora (pray and work).
The stream of visitors was directed over the threshing floor ramp through the entire roof space, all in the same direction, to a flight of steps down on the side. This walk through the timber beam structures served as an analogy with the monks’ day. The longitudinal axis was broken down into seven sections by a staggered projection of the prayer times on to the beams and ceiling of the threshing floor. Starting with the watchword ora et labora, the side bays of the threshing floor had imperatives for action written on them: eat and drink, for example: question and answer, care and tend, make and do, listen and be amazed, take and give, laugh and weep, divide and rule.

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 
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