The grandmontine priory of Rauzet or Rozet
The light in the church
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THE LIGHT IN THE CHURCH
The position of the triplet of windows in the east and the single west window in a grandmontine church, has been meticulously calculated to direct as much light as possible. The wide embrasures reflect and direct the light to maximum eﬀect which makes side windows superfluous. Even when the sky is overcast there is ample light during the day. The windows in the chapter house, refectory and dormitory are similar to those in the church but on a much reduced scale.
The monk’s day in church was governed by a sequence of symbolic lighting eﬀects. Apart from the obvious theological symbol of the apsidal triplet with the Trinity, when morning light floods the sanctuary it becomes an echo of the psalmist’s song: ‘Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory fills his sanctuary.’ Ps.96 v.6
How appropriate the Benedictus, the Church’s oﬃcial morning song, would have sounded in this setting: “God who visits us like dawn from on high… who gives light to those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” The canticle of Zacharia, Luke 1 78-79
By late morning a crescendo of brightness is achieved with the light reflecting oﬀ the walls of the sanctuary, while the curving vault is filled with shimmering light. At a time that varies with the season, a beam of light moves slowly across the altar.
In the afternoon the suﬀused lighting on the rounded vault of the nave evokes a hermit’s cave.
The west window lights the evening oﬃce of Vespers, and as night approaches, a single shaft of light moves slowly along the nave towards the altar. As the sun sets, the brothers have time to leave the church and retire to the dorter.
February 25, 2018 at 4 p.m.
September 21 at 8:30 p.m.
To contact the association to safeguard the Grandmontain church of Rauzet, ASEGRauzet.
The phone number is that of the mairie: 00 33 545 23 04 08 e-mail: ASEGR@combiers.fr
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