Cluniac Monasticism c. 1000

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Map Code: Ax02394

The Cluniac movement, founded at Cluny, Saône-et-Loire in France in 910 by the monk Berno, believed that monastic rule had become too lax and was determined to adopt stricter religious practice and spend more time in prayer, following the rule of St Benedict. The Cluniacs were also champions of clerical reform, including the elimination of simony (the buying and selling of ecclesiastical privileges) and concubinage. By the 12th century, there were 300 Cluniac monasteries, all subordinate to the Abbot of Cluny, and the Cluniac movement was one of the largest religious forces in Europe. Ultimately, the order fell victim to its own success, wielding great political power and achieving great wealth through estate revenues and control over the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela. Meanwhile, in 1098, a small group of monks established the ‘New Monastery’ at Cîteaux, near Dijon. They also sought a stricter adherence to the Rule of St Benedict. The Cistiercians, as they came to be known, codified strict rules of observance and founded new monasteries in remote and uncultivated wilderness, away from the worldly corruption.

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