[In front of the main entrance]
M 1: Halt! Only those who have renounced a secular life may pass through this door. And it’s the only way to enter the enclosure – the rooms where the canons live, pray and work. Nor is access permitted to all and sundry. It’s no coincidence that the words "cloister" and "enclosure", which both derive from the Latin, specifically mean "closed place". Only the canons themselves had access. Visitors couldn’t enter the monastery grounds without permission, if at all, and only by appointment.
Beyond this single entrance to the living area with the cloister lies a hallway. The old German term is “Ern”. A medieval monastery was an economically independent, self-sufficient and self-contained area. It was quiet and secluded, not least because the rules of the order prescribed a duty of silence. Talking was only allowed in the “parlatory”, or parlour, in the refectory and the chapter house – and of course in the church during sermons and prayers. In the peace and quiet of the enclosure, the canons could focus entirely on contemplation. Although we’re able to enter here today as a matter of course, we shouldn’t forget what an exclusive privilege crossing this threshold once was.
F 2: For almost 400 years, the Premonstratensian canons lived in Jerichow according to the rules of their founder, Norbert of Xanten – until the Reformation, launched by Martin Luther in the 16th century, brought about the closure of the monastery. From here, the small portal will take you into the cloister and the church. The wide thoroughfare on the left leads to the monastic garden and the entrance to the monastery museum.
Foto: © Stiftung Kloster Jerichow