Positions of Responsibility in a Monastery

Positions of Responsibility in a Monastery

If monks performed their duties well, they would be granted positions of responsibility within their monastery. This creation of functional leadership ensured that the medieval monastery ran efficiently. Each position was created to ensure each area of the monastery worked together with the others in harmony, including the kitchens, guest house, infirmary and brewhouse.

Abbot: Abbots were considered to be very educated and holy men, who were appointed to lead the monks and provide a positive example.
Almoner: Almoners were given responsibility for caring for the poor when they arrived at the almonry on Thursdays. This would typically involve washing their feet and tending to wounds.
Cellarer: Those chosen to hold the title of cellarer would be responsible for the running of the bakehouse and brewhouse.
Chamberlain: The responsibility of the chamberlain was to look after the monks’ essential daily provisions, from providing clean beddings and overseeing the condition of their habits to providing hot water for washing, maintaining hygiene in the washing area and cleaning the cloister.
Hosteller: Hostellers were tasked with looking after visitors at the monastery guesthouse.
Infirmarian: Monks who held the title of infirmarian were expected to take charge of the infirmary and its patients.
Kitchener: Kitcheners were monks who were responsible for running the kitchen. Traditionally they would have to obey the orders of the cellarer.
Precentor: Precentors would oversee and facilitate all writing that took place within the monastery, as well as acting as an archivist and librarian.
Sacrist: Sacrists were responsible for looking after the treasure in a monastery and would be placed in a watching chamber to keep watch over any visitors.

Whoever worked very hard laid a foundation of succeeding an abbot when the abbot died.

See also: 

Medieval Monastries

The Organisation within a Monastery

A Day in the Life of a Medieval Nun

MLA Citation/Reference

"Positions of Responsibility in a Monastery". HistoryLearning.com. 2024. Web.