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Author Topic: Cistercians  (Read 227 times)
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« on: September 23, 2007, 02:35:32 am »

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, in a medieval illuminated manuscript.


By 1111 the ranks had grown sufficiently at Cîteaux and Stephen sent a group of 12 monks to start a "daughter house", a new community dedicated to the same ideals of the strict observance of Saint Benedict. It was built in Chalon sur Saône in La Ferté on May 13, 1113. Also, in 1113, Bernard of Clairvaux arrived at Cîteaux with 30 others to join the monastery. In 1114 another daughter house was founded, Pontigny Abbey. Then in 1115 Bernard founded Clairvaux, followed by Morimond in the same year. Then Preuilly, La Cour-Dieu, Bouras, Cadouin and Fontenay. At Stephen's death (1134) there were over 30 Cistercian daughter houses; at Bernard's death (1154) there were over 280; and by the end of the century there were over 500 daughter houses. Meanwhile, the Cistercian influence in the Roman Catholic Church more than kept pace with this material expansion, so that St Bernard saw one of his monks ascend the papal chair as Pope Eugene III.

By the end of the 12th century the Cistercian houses numbered 500; in the 13th a hundred more were added; and at its height in the 15th century, the order would be close on 750 houses: some larger figures are now recognised as apocryphal.

Nearly half of the houses had been founded, directly or indirectly, from Clairvaux, so great was St Bernard's influence and prestige: indeed he has come almost to be regarded as the founder of the Cistercians, who have often been called Bernardines. The order was spread all over western Europe, chiefly in France, but also in Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy (where the Certosa di Pavia is their most famous edifice), Sicily, Poland, Hungary, Romania (Kerz), Norway, Sweden, Spain and Portugal, where some of the houses, like the Monastery of Alcobaça, were of almost incredible magnificence. One of the most important libraries of the Cistercians was in Salem, Germany.

« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 02:51:39 am by Ceneca » Report Spam   Logged

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