Church Services

A monk’s day is spent in prayer and work. The monks attend services in the monastery church throughout the day and night, beginning each service at the same time each day. Each service has a different name:
Vigils, Lauds, Mass, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.

Monks begin their day at 2.30 am when they get up to prepare for their first service just after three o’clock. We do not know how many times David and his monks went to pray in church, but it is probable that they got up at midnight and prayed for two hours. All services would have been in Latin. After this early start they may have gone back to bed for an hour or so. Getting up at midnight was a special part of religious life; it was the darkest point of the twenty four hours, a time when everyone was in need. There is a richness about this time of the night - everything is quiet and still.


Monastery timetables vary between the different monastic orders and between summer and winter,
but the following is a fairly typical day:

2.30am Begin to prepare for the day.

3.15am: Vigils (1 hour)

4.30 am: Optional breakfast (strict silence)
This is followed by a time of prayer, meditation and spiritual reading

6.30am: Matins (morning prayers) and the Lauds (praise)

Chapter: lasting about 10 minutes.

7.20am Breakfast, or if you’ve already had it, have another cup of tea/coffee.

8.50am: Terce

Manual labour until midday, when the monks wash and clean up, ready for the next service.

12.00 Sext

12.30 Lunch in the refectory.

2.00pm Miridian - go to sleep.

3.00 None

Manual labour

4.00 Short break for a cup of tea.

5.00 Wash, change. Reading

5.30 -6.00 Vespers (evening prayers)

6.15pm Supper.

6.45pm Reading. Tidying up rooms, finish odd jobs

Office of Chapter where the community reads or has a discussion about religious matters.
If something needs to be discussed in more detail a special meeting will be called.

Compline (night prayers) Blessed by the abbot with holy water.

7.15pm Very strict silence, no talking at all.

8.00pm Bed.