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Building a monastery

The monks built their own monasteries. They deliberately chose lonely places to settle, away from towns and villages. First they built a church to pray in, then they added more buildings as they needed them.

The plan and layout of the monastery was always similar. It was a layout based on what the monks needed.

They needed to be separate from the rest of the world, to pray all day and night, to keep busy doing 'God's work'. They thought it was a sin to be comfortable, warm and well-fed, so the monasteries they built were cold and draughty, with hard beds and no warm fires. But they always built a very large and beautiful church to pray in.