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Since Late Antiquity monks had played an important role in medieval society In fact monks were considered essential to the salvation of everyone Monks were thought to be models of virtue and piety and consequently their prayers were considered more effective than the prayers of other people Therefore the monks had the job of beseeching God to forgive the sins of others and to give them eternal life Monks prayers were even considered essential for the well-being of kingdoms Because of this many kings and nobles contributed large amounts of land or money to monasteries and as a result many monastic orders grew very wealthy and powerful F1Benedictines All monks lived according to a rule or code that governed their daily routine There were many of these rules but the most important was the one written by 6th-century abbot Saint Benedict The Benedictine Rule envisioned monasteries as self-sufficient units in which the monks lived and worked together Monasteries were designed rather like villages with groups of buildings surrounded by gardens and fields The monks slept together in a dormitory rose together for the morning prayer read together ate meals together and shared the chores Benedict expected that peasants would do most of the work in the fields although the monks might occasionally have to help For the most part however the monks days were filled with tasks such as kitchen work that were separated by periods of prayer Seven times a day and once at night the monks went to the monastery church to pray Their prayers were always chanted The music that is today known as Gregorian chant is one version of the chanting prayer style of Benedictine monks See Benedictines In the Merovingian period the Benedictine Rule was only one of many monastic rules in use and an enormous variety of monastic practices existed throughout the Merovingian kingdoms These practices ranged from those of the monastery of Saint Maurice at Agaune
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