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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic




Artist's impression of monks celebrating the Office
<click to enlarge>
Artist's impression of a monks choir

The monk’s day was structured around the celebration of the eight Canonical Hours in the choir of the abbey church. The monks’ choir was in the east of the church, the lay-brothers’ in the west, a layout that reflected how the two communities were separate but related. The architecture and décor of a Cistercian church was defined by its simplicity: gold, silver and rich cloths were prohibited and at first only white or grisaille window glass was allowed. Each abbey was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the patron of the Order, and this special relationship was visually represented in sculptures, paintings, stained glass and seals which bore her image.

Click on the following links to read more about the design and layout of the Cistercian church, the Cistercians’ devotion to the Virgin, their celebration of the liturgy:

| The Cistercian church | Devotion to the Virgin | An essay on the Cistercian liturgy (pdf file)| Monastic Devotion |