4:15 Office of Vigils
6:30 Office of Lauds
7:10 – 8:00 Breakfast (brown bread, butter, jam, coffee, tea)
09:30 Office of Terce combined with Eucharist (on weekdays Eucharist follows Lauds and precedes breakfast) This is quite a long service, complete with entrance procession, incense, and chanted entrance psalms, as well as introit, Kyrie, gloria, sanctus, angus dei, with an offertory anthem also chanted.
11:50 Office of Sext
12:10 Midday meal
2:30 Office of None
5:15 Office of Vespers
6:30 Evening meal
8:00 Office of Compline
The Offices are sections of the Daily Office, lasting about thirty minutes each and including several psalms, each sung to a different plainchant melody; a short reading or two; and a litany of intercessory prayer.
The midday meal is the big meal of the day, at least here in the European monastery guesthouses. Starter was a delightfully light cream of vegetable, mostly green onion I think. Main course was an assembled pork roast, with mushroom gravy, pomme frites and freshly pickled kraut. A cheese plate and fresh watermelon completed a very nice meal. This was a Sunday, and I don’t know if the weekdays are similarly grand.
The evening meal this Sunday was lighter fare: brown bread, assorted cheeses, sliced salami, butter and jam, coffee and tea. The Swiss call this coffee complete and it is a common Sunday evening meal.
The Abbey church is late Romanesque (the arches are beginning to show a slight pointedness) including the decoratively painted plaster walls; parts of the building date to the 12th century and it was completed in the 14th century. The main building, including the monks’ residence, refectory and quarters for male guests, dates to the Baroque. Outbuildings including the guesthouse for women also date to the Baroque. But it is a rather simple Baroque, if that’s not an oxymoron: the ornate urge is limited to the railing ironwork and a small bit of ceiling moulding in the public spaces.
The Cistercians, as best I can summarize, are reformed, less-comfortable Benedictines. The history and lineage of the monastic orders makes fascinating reading, especially the story of the powerful Benedictine abbey at Cluny (which funded construction of most of the infrastructure along the Chemin St Jacques in France and the Camino Santiago in Spain).
My Swiss friends Beatrice and Yves have arrived now, so tomorrow we will walk on together.