"B.M.COOK" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

According to my notes taken from the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1911, the
Ostiarius or Doorkeeper was the lowest of the Minor Orders (and therefore an
official at a Cathedral rather than a monastery ???). 

sorry if i wasn't clear; the term was not mine but rather that of the Master
himself, straight from the Rule, one of the few monastic officers which he
bothers to define:


1 Ad portam monasterii ponatur senex sapiens, qui sciat accipere
responsum et reddere, et cuius maturitas eum non sinat vagari. 2 Qui
portarius cellam debebit habere iuxta portam, ut venientes semper praesentem
inveniant a quo responsum accipiant. 3 Et mox ut aliquis pulsaverit aut pauper
clamaverit, Deo gratias respondeat aut Benedic,
4 et cum omni mansuetudine timoris Dei reddat responsum festinanter cum
fervore caritatis. 5 Qui portarius si indiget solacio iuniorem fratrem
( ) :
Of the Porter of the Monastery

Let a wise old man be placed at the door of the monastery, one who
knoweth how to take and give an answer, and whose mature age doth not permit
him to stray about.
The porter should have a cell near the door, that they who come may
always find one present from whom they may obtain an answer. As soon as
anyone knocketh or a poor person calleth, let him answer, "Thanks be to God,"
or invoke a blessing, and with the meekness of the fear of God let him return
an answer speedily in the fervor of charity. If the porter
hath need of assistance, let him have a younger brother."

i assume that "a wise old man" was called for because the ostiarius/portarius
was the only monk --outside the Abbot-- who was in more or less constant
interface with the World, answering the door at all hours, greeting visitors
of all sorts, extending hospitality....

his "cell near the door" [sic: _juxta portam_] reminds me of the few late
medieval monastic gates which i've seen (Bonneval, Nottonville), which were
quite substantial structures, housing a living quarters within their walls,
with a small door opening onto the interior of the gate itself; 
and his living there, outside the monks' dormitory, would be another reason
for this particular brother to be a sober, older and wiser soul than most of
his fellows, i suppose.

>One would in any case expect him to remain on the job as door-keeper and not
go travelling with even the entourage of a Bishop or an Abbot.

i agree.

only exception might be in a *very* large house (like, for instance, late 11th
c. Marmoutier) where the official _Ostiarius_ *might* have been of such a
standing in the pecking order that he did not, himself, actually perform the
ordinary and mundane duties associated with his office, which were left to
assistants on his staff, freeing him, as an important Dignatary of the abbey,
to go a-cruising on the river with Lord Abbot on an important trip.

doesn't explain why, on that job, he would be styled _bajulus_, alas.

>Possibly it is the ambiguity of the English word "Porter" that is giving

i've got so many things giving me trouble that the ambiguities of the english
language don't even make it on the radar.

>A porter can *either* be someone who stands in a specific location ie 
the entrance of an hotel or a railway station... 

or _ad portam monasterii_....

>*or* he can be employed by a traveller to carry that person's baggage 
for the duration of the journey. [One thinks of "native porters" on 
trecks up the Himalayas or into the interior of Africa.]

or of _familia_ of an Abbot, responsible for managing the material 
aspects of the journey (seeing to the bags, paying tolls, etc.) while the
latter and his entourage was cruising down the Loire.

>Perhaps the alternative word for Ostiarius is "janitor"? 

perhaps, but, from the rule, not in a Benedictine context, it would seem.

>In the sense of someone who stands at the door and also does some care-taking

so defined, to a certain extent, in the Rule.

>...the Ostiarius or Doorkeeper was the lowest of the Minor Orders (and
therefore an official at a Cathedral...???

not at all to say that this was not the case, but i never came across one in
the documents from Chartres or anywhere else.




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