Saint-Ruf Abbey
In Avignon, it is worth to take a look at the ancient Saint-Ruf Abbey located on the Moulin Notre-Dame Street recognized as a historical monument back in 1887. The monks the Order of St. Augustine founded in the XI century lived in the Abbey. (True, now the building is not in the best condition, it is partially destroyed).

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Abbey - Notre Provence Group

Abbey comes from the Latin word Abbatia. It has the following meaning – a Catholic monastery which is subject to one of the existing monastic orders. Its head is either an abbot or an abbess. They in turn were subordinate to the bishop or even the Pope. Some of these abbeys are unit – from the Latin word abbas nullius or territorial - the name is taken from the Latin abbas territorialis.

Many years ago the large and prosperous monasteries located on the territory of Western Europe played an important role in the life of society. They took part in the formation of the country's economy and their heads had a voice in the secular and religious society. Often the abbeys were established by monarchs, noble citizens or local bishops. They were also the patrons of these monasteries. When such a historic event as the Gregorian reform happened the abbeys fell under the jurisdiction of the papacy. In the distant Middle Ages they were the undisputed centres of cultural life in Western Europe. It was there the basics of the spiritual was taught, the most valuable manuscripts faithfully copied be special people were kept, the chronicles were maintained. The famous European scriptoriums and libraries were located in the abbeys.

The development of the architecture of those years also owes to the abbeys. For the first time the Romanesque architectural style emerged in the abbey of Cluny (l'abbaye de Cluny), the Gothic style could be seen in Saint-Denis. Since the 9th century the abbeys began to be arranged guided by the provisions prescribed in the Benedictine Rule – circular patio then called cloister. A typical example of such an abbey is the Plan of Saint Gall dated from 820. Directly near the cloister the church buildings, the bedroom block, alias the dormitory, the refectory hall called the chapter were located. The cells served as dormitories to the Carthusians. A library and a scriptorium, a hospital, and farm buildings also made the part of the abbey. An important role in the Cistercian abbeys was assigned to the washrooms.

The abbeys stopped influencing on the life of the society only in 16-17 centuries. Though many of them were liquidated, some still exist.
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