(Danish: Sankt Kathrine Kirke or Sankt Kathrine Kloster) was an important early Dominican friary, located in Ribe, Denmark from 1228 until 1536. The buildings still stand, although there is no monastic community there. Known as Ribe Kloster, it is Denmark's most complete extant monastic building complex.
The Dominican priory in Ribe, dedicated to Saint Catherine of Siena, was founded in 1228 by Dominican friars on property given to them by Tuve, Bishop of Ribe, only the second such foundation in Denmark. The church, dedicated to Saint Catherine, was built in Romanesquestyle with a simple nave and chancel of brick. They also built an attached conventual building.
Main entrance to St. Catherine's church, formerly the Dominican priory church
By 1246 the priory was substantial enough for the provincial meeting of the order to be held there. As Ribe became Denmark's largest and most prosperous town, the priory was reconstructed and expanded in the early 14th century with a larger towerless church and a quadrangular set of buildings providing the friars with privacy from the rest of the community. The new construction was in the Gothic style. A large cellar was built beneath the south range.
In the late 14th century the priory was sacked along with rest of Ribe: a papal letter enjoined the community and monks to reconstruct it.
The Dominicans were primarily missionaries who vowed to be chaste, obedient, and poor, and were established in towns where they or their representatives could go out and beg their daily bread from local residents. Their rule forbade them to own anything individually, but over the years individuals and families gave income-producing properties to support the community. The Dominicans also accepted gifts for the privilege of burying family members inside the priory church.
Construction continued through the 15th century as the church was expanded to three aisles and the ranges lengthened to their present size. Then fire ravaged part of the buildings and reconstruction was encouraged by the pope himself. Christian I gave a substantial amount of money to the priory in 1480. A covered cloister was built, and several outbuildings were constructed nearby.
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