Charity and Hospitality

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All the guests who arrive will be received like Christ, for he will one day say: "I have been your guest and you have received me". (Rule of St. Benedict, Chap. 53.)

When welcoming the poor, pilgrims and passing guests, charity and the propagation of the faith took shape through the accommodation and food that the abbeys could offer. ("The superior will break the fast for the sake of the host, except if it is a day when the fast cannot be violated" - Rule of Saint Benedict, chapter 53).

In the 9th century, Charlemagne promoted viticulture, but also the manufacture of beer, and he granted the first privilege to brewing monks in part of his empire. The Emperor demanded that brewing be reserved for experts and that each monastery be provided with a brewery. This decision had a major influence on the development of monastic beer.

Charity and Hospitality, monastic values.

The drink prepared on site was shared with the hosts. Depending on the quality of the hosts, the quality of the beer could also vary. Thus, the detailed plan of the abbey of Saint Gall in Switzerland, around the 9th century, indicates the presence of three breweries inside this convent. Three beers were brewed there: the "prima melior" reserved for distinguished guests, the "cervisia" reserved for the brothers, and the "tertia," consumed by visiting pilgrims. Saint Colomban insists that the brothers in charge of the cellar service are never, through their negligence, the cause of loss. He condemns the guilty to drink only water.

The quality of the beers produced often made it possible to sell them beyond the abbey and thus draw additional means of subsistence for the community.