The Carthusian Order

The carthusian monastic setting

The style of the Carthusian life, that is a solitary lifestyle tempered by community, is reflected from what can be seen on the outside, in terms of the buildings. You will consequently find all Charterhouses to have three main parts :

  1. Main Cloister
    • The Main Cloister connects all the cells where the Fathers lead their solitary lifestyle. You sometimes find a second cloister for the monks (San José [monks], Trinità [nuns]).
  2. Communal Areas
    • This is primarily the church, the chapter, and the refectory.
    • In this area of the monastery one can also find certain work areas : kitchen, laundry room, etc.
  3. Workshops
    • The noisier workshops (farm, metal shop, mill, etc.) are found at some distance of the monastery as to not disturb the silence.
Charterhouse of Vedana
Typical Charterhouse layout (Charterhouse of Vedana)

There are the "Major" Charterhouses (like the Grande Chartreuse, over 30 cells, who construction dates back to the 17th century) and "Lesser" Charterhouses (like the Chartreuse de Portes, in the French region department of Ain, which has maintained the aspects of a primitive Charterhouse, with its 12 cells surrounding the cemetery.)

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