This study argues that food culture and food ritual is an effective means for understanding the community of monks at The Abbey of Gethsemani. This paper goes on to say that it is through their food that the monks are nourished both physically and spiritually as well as create a central identity. To argue this I first look at the sacred texts and historical tradition that guides how a monk at Gethsemani should live his life in this community. Next, I use the physical nature of meals at Gethsemani to show how food ritual is enacted in the lives of the monks in their daily lives to physically sustain their bodies. I then turn to the perceived meaning of these actions to better understand how these rituals are played out. This includes an analysis of the food culture and communal relations and identity amongst the community members. This project uses both on and off site research made up of scholarly texts and interviews with members of the Gethsemani community.


Rapport, Jeremy


Religious Studies


food, religion, Gethsemani, monk, monasticism, culture, ritual

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Matthew Stouffer