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: