The Cluniac Reforms (also called the Benedictine Reform) were a series of changes within medieval monasticism of the Western Church focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art, and caring for the poor. The movement began within the Benedictine order at Cluny Abbey, founded in 910 by William I, Duke of Aquitaine (875–918).The reforms were largely carried out by Saint Odo (c. 878 – 942) and spread throughout France (Burgundy, Provence, Auvergne, Poitou), into England (the English Benedictine Reform), and through much of Italy and Spain.
In the early 10th century, Western monasticism, which had flourished several centuries earlier with St Benedict of Nursia, was experiencing a severe decline due to unstable political and social conditions resulting from the nearly continuous Viking raids, widespread poverty and, especially, the dependence of abbeys on the local nobles who controlled all that belonged to the territories under their jurisdiction.
The impetus for the reforms lay in abuses thought to be a result of secular interference in the monasteries and of the Church's tight integration with the feudal and manorial systems. Since a Benedictine monastery required land, it needed the patronage of a local lord. However, the lord would often demand rights and assert prerogatives that interfered with the operation of the monastery. Patrons normally retained a proprietary interest and expected to install their kinsmen as abbots. Local aristocrats often established churches, monasteries, and convents that they then considered as family property, taking revenues from them, and leaving the monks that remained subsisting in poverty.
Some monasteries were established by feudal lords with the intention of retiring there at some point. The Benedictine Rule, in these monasteries, was modified to schedule matins when it would not interrupt sleep and expanded the vegetarian diet. Monks in these houses wore richer, warmer clothing and were free to disregard the rules pertaining to fasting. The Cluny reform was an attempt to remedy these practices in the hope that a more independent abbot would better enforce the Rule of Saint Benedict.
William I, Duke of Aquitaine (935–963) had acquired a piece of land in Burgundy. In 910 he founded Cluny Abbey and asked Abbot Berno of Baume Abbey to preside. The Abbot of Cluny retained authority over the daughter houses his order founded. By the twelfth century, the Congregation of Cluny included more than a thousand monasteries.
Berno had established St. Peter's monastery at Gigny and Baume Abbey on the rule as interpreted by Benedict of Aniane, who had sought to restore the primitive strictness of the monastic observance wherever it had been relaxed. The rule focused on prayer, silence, and solitude.
Among the most notable supporters of the Cluniac reforms were Pope Urban II, Lambert of Hersfeld, and Richard of Verdun. The reforms encouraged the Church in the West to be more attentive to business and led the papacy to attempt to assert control over the Eastern Church.
During its height (c. 950–c.1130), the Cluniac movement was one of the largest religious forces in Europe. At least as significantly as their political consequences, the reforms demanded greater religious devotion. The Cluniacs supported the Peace of God, and promoted pilgrimages to the Holy Lands. An increasingly rich liturgy stimulated demand for altar vessels of gold, fine tapestries and fabrics, stained glass, and polyphonic choral music to fill the Romanesque churches.
In 1075 Robert de Molesme, a Benedictine monk from Cluny Abbey, had obtained the permission of Pope Gregory VII to found a monastery at Molesme in Burgundy. At Molesme, Robert tried to restore monastery practice to the simple and severe character of the original Rule of Saint Benedict, called "Strict Observance". Being only partly successful in this at Molesme, Robert in 1098 led a band of 21 monks from their abbey at Molesme to establish a new monastery. The monks acquired a plot of marsh land just south of Dijon called Cîteaux (Latin: "Cistercium") and set about building a new monastery there which became Cîteaux Abbey, the mother Abbey of the newly founded Cistercian Order.
An abbey is a complex of buildings used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. It provides a place for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks and nuns.
The concept of the abbey has developed over many centuries from the early monastic ways of religious men and women where they would live isolated from the lay community about them. Religious life in an abbey may be monastic. An abbey may be the home of an enclosed religious order or may be open to visitors. The layout of the church and associated buildings of an abbey often follows a set plan determined by the founding religious order.
Abbeys are often self-sufficient while using any abundance of produce or skill to provide care to the poor and needy, refuge to the persecuted, or education to the young. Some abbeys offer accommodation to people who are seeking spiritual retreat. There are many famous abbeys across Europe.Affligem Abbey
Affligem Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the municipality of Affligem, Flemish Brabant, Belgium, 19 kilometres (12 miles) to the north-west of Brussels. Dedicated in 1086, it was the most important monastery in the Duchy of Brabant and therefore often called Primaria Brabantiae.Anselm III (archbishop of Milan)
Anselm III (Italian: Anselmo da Rho) was the archbishop of Milan from his consecration on 1 July 1086 to his death on 4 December 1093. He reestablished order in the Ambrosian see after more than a decade of fighting between the pataria and the religious authorities and confusion over the succession to the bishopric.
Anslem was a relative of Arnaldo da Rho. It was more than a year after the death of his predecessor, Tedald, that Anselm was nominated archbishop by Henry IV. He was the last imperially-appointed bishop in Milan and originally opposed to the Gregorian reforms in order to maintain the integrity of the historical Milanese independence of the Holy See. Pope Victor III refused him the pallium, but he made peace with Pope Urban II in 1088, after a brief retirement to a monastery, and received the pallium. He always supported the concurrent Cluniac reforms, however. In his first year in office, he founded a Cluniac nunnery at Cantù. Early in 1093, he renounced control of S. Maria in Calvenazzo after it was donated to Cluny.
The Milanese citizenry strongly opposed the imperial pretensions of and agitated for Conrad the Emperor's son as their own king. Anselm duly crowned Conrad King of Italy in opposition to his father first at Monza then at Milan. He died very soon after the coronation and was buried in S. Nazaro in Brolo.Berno of Cluny
Saint Berno of Cluny (French: Bernon) or Berno of Baume (c. 850 – 13 January 927) was the first abbot of Cluny from its foundation in 909 until he died in 927. He began the tradition of the Cluniac reforms which his successors spread across Europe.
Berno was first a monk at St. Martin's Abbey, Autun, and then at Baume Abbey about 886. In 890, he founded the monastery of Gigny on his own estates, and others at Bourg-Dieu and Massay. In 910, William I of Aquitaine, founder of Cluny, nominated him abbot of the new foundation. Berno placed the monastery under the Benedictine rule (founded by Benedict of Nursia and reformed by Benedict of Aniane).
He resigned as abbot in 925, his abbeys being divided between his relative Vido and his disciple Odo of Cluny.
He is regarded as a saint, with his feast day on 13 January.Canonical hours
In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours normally contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers.The practice of daily prayers grew from the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at set times of the day known as zmanim: for example, in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Peter and John the Evangelist visit the Temple in Jerusalem for the afternoon prayers. Psalm 119:164 states: "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws" (of this, Symeon of Thessalonica writes that "the times of prayer and the services are seven in number, like the number of gifts of the Spirit, since the holy prayers are from the Spirit").This practice is believed to have been passed down through the centuries from the Apostles, with different practices developing in different places. As Christian monasticism spread, the practice of specified hours and liturgical formats began to develop and become standardized. Around the year 484, the Greek-Cappadocian monk Sabbas the Sanctified began the process of recording the liturgical practices around Jerusalem, while the cathedral and parish rites in the Patriarchate of Constantinople evolved in an entirely different manner.In 525, Benedict of Nursia set out one of the earliest schemes for the recitation of the Psalter at the Office.The two major practices were synthesized, commencing in the 8th century, to yield an office of great complexity.The Cluniac Reforms of the 11th century renewed an emphasis on liturgy and the canonical hours in the reformed priories of the Order of Saint Benedict, with Cluny Abbey at their head.In the Catholic Church, canonical hours are also called offices, since they refer to the official set of prayers of the Church, which is known variously as the officium divinum ("divine service" or "divine duty"), and the opus Dei ("work of God"). The current official version of the hours in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is called the Liturgy of the Hours (Latin: liturgia horarum) in North America or divine office in Ireland and Britain.In Anglicanism, they are often known as the daily or divine office, to distinguish them from the other 'offices' of the Church (holy communion, baptism, etc.).In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, the canonical hours may be referred to as the divine services, and the book of hours is called the horologion (Greek: ῾Ωρολόγιον). Despite numerous small differences in practice according to local custom, the overall order is the same among Byzantine Rite monasteries, although parish and cathedral customs vary rather more so by locale. The usage in Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Eastern Catholic counterparts all differ from each other and from other rites.Already well-established by the 9th century in the West, these canonical offices consisted of eight daily prayer events, including lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline, as well as the night office, sometimes referred to as vigils, consisting of a number of sections called 'nocturnes'. Building on the recitation of psalms and canticles from scripture, the Church has added (and, at times, subtracted) hymns, hagiographical readings, and other prayers.Cluny
Cluny is a commune in the eastern French department of Saône-et-Loire, in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It is 20 km (12 mi) northwest of Mâcon.
The town grew up around the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, founded by Duke William I of Aquitaine in 910. The height of Cluniac influence was from the second half of the 10th century through the early 12th. The abbey was sacked by the Huguenots in 1562, and many of its valuable manuscripts were destroyed or removed.Council of Clermont
The Council of Clermont was a mixed synod of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Catholic Church, called by Pope Urban II and held from 18 to 28 November 1095 at Clermont, Auvergne, at the time part of the Duchy of Aquitaine.Pope Urban's speech on November 27 included the call to arms that would result in the First Crusade, and eventually the capture of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In this, Urban reacted to the request by Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus who had sent envoys to the Council of Piacenza requesting military assistance against the Seljuk Turks.
Several accounts of the speech survive; of these, the one by Fulcher of Chartres, who was present at the council, is generally accepted as the most reliable.
Urban also discussed Cluniac reforms of the Church, and also extended the excommunication of Philip I of France for his adulterous remarriage to Bertrade of Montfort. The council also declared a renewal of the Truce of God, an attempt on the part of the church to reduce feuding among Frankish nobles.Gregorian Reform
Should not be confused with the Gregorian calendar.The Gregorian Reforms were a series of reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII and the circle he formed in the papal curia, c. 1050–80, which dealt with the moral integrity and independence of the clergy. The reforms are considered to be named after Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), though he personally denied it and claimed his reforms, like his regnal name, honoured Pope Gregory I.Grüningen Priory
Grüningen Priory was a short-lived Cluniac foundation, predecessor to St. Ulrich's Priory in the Black Forest, at Grüningen near Oberrimsingen in Breisach in the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.Hirsau Abbey
Hirsau Abbey, formerly known as Hirschau Abbey, was once one of the most important Benedictine abbeys of Germany. It is located in the Hirsau borough of Calw on the northern slopes of the Black Forest mountain range, in the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg. In the 11th and 12th century, the monastery was a centre of the Cluniac Reforms, implemented as "Hirsau Reforms" in the German lands. The complex was devastated during the War of the Palatine Succession in 1692 and not rebuilt.Moissac Abbey
Moissac Abbey was a Benedictine and Cluniac monastery in Moissac, Tarn-et-Garonne in south-western France. A number of its medieval buildings survive including the abbey church, which has a famous and important Romanesque sculpture around the entrance.Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino (sometimes written Montecassino) is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the town of Cassino and 520 m (1,706.04 ft) altitude. Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the first house of the Benedictine Order, having been established by Benedict of Nursia himself around 529. It was for the community of Monte Cassino that the Rule of Saint Benedict was composed.
The first monastery on Monte Cassino was sacked by the invading Lombards around 570 and abandoned. Of the first monastery almost nothing is known. The second monastery was established by Petronax of Brescia around 718, at the suggestion of Pope Gregory II and with the support of the Lombard Duke Romuald II of Benevento. It was directly subject to the pope and many monasteries in Italy were under its authority. In 883 the monastery was sacked by Saracens and abandoned again. The community of monks resided first at Teano and then from 914 at Capua before the monastery was rebuilt in 949. During the period of exile, the Cluniac Reforms were introduced into the community.
The 11th and 12th centuries were the abbey's golden age. It acquired a large secular territory around Monte Cassino, the so-called Terra Sancti Benedicti ("Land of Saint Benedict"), which it heavily fortified with castles. It maintained good relations with the Eastern Church, even receiving patronage from Byzantine emperors. It encouraged fine art and craftsmanship by employing Byzantine and even Saracen artisans. In 1057, Pope Victor II recognised the abbot of Monte Cassino as having precedence over all other abbots. Many monks rose to become bishops and cardinals, and three popes were drawn from the abbey: Stephen IX (1057–58), Victor III (1086–87) and Gelasius II (1118–19). During this period the monastery's chronicle was written by two of its own, Cardinal Leo of Ostia and Peter the Deacon (who also compiled the cartulary).
By the 13th century, the monastery's decline had set in. In 1239, the Emperor Frederick II garrisoned troops in it during his war with the Papacy. In 1322, Pope John XXII elevated the abbey into a bishopric but this was suppressed in 1367. The buildings were destroyed by an earthquake in 1349, and in 1369 Pope Urban V demanded a contribution from all Benedictine monasteries to fund the rebuilding. In 1454 the abbey was placed in commendam and in 1504 was made subject to the Abbey of Santa Giustina in Padua.
In 1799, Monte Cassino was sacked again by French troops during the French Revolutionary Wars. The abbey was dissolved by the Italian government in 1866. The building became a national monument with the monks as custodians of its treasures. In 1944 during World War II it was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino and the building was destroyed by Allied bombing. It was rebuilt after the war.
After the reforms of the Second Vatican Council the monastery was one of the few remaining territorial abbeys within the Catholic Church. On 23 October 2014, Pope Francis applied the norms of the motu proprio Ecclesia Catholica of Paul VI )1976) to the abbey, removing from its jurisdiction all 53 parishes and reducing its spiritual jurisdiction to the abbey itself—while retaining its status as a territorial abbey. The former territory of the Abbey, except the land on which the abbey church and monastery sit, was transferred to the diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo.Principality of Salerno
The Lombard Principality of Salerno was a South Italian state, formed in 851 out of the Principality of Benevento after a decade-long civil war.
The port city of Salerno owed allegiance to the Western Emperor, but throughout its history was practically independent and for brief periods even entered into the vassalage of the Byzantine Empire.Prior
Prior, derived from the Latin for "earlier, first", (or prioress for nuns) is an ecclesiastical title for a superior, usually lower in rank than an abbot or abbess. Its earlier generic usage referred to any monastic superior.Priory
A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or nuns (such as the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans, and Carmelites, for instance), or monasteries of monks or nuns (as with the Benedictines). Houses of canons regular and canonesses regular also use this term, the alternative being "canonry".
In pre-Reformation England, if an abbey church was raised to cathedral status, the abbey became a Cathedral Priory. The bishop, in effect, took the place of the abbot, and the monastery itself was headed by a prior.Reform of a Religious Order
Reform of a religious order is the return of the order from a mitigated or relaxed observance to the rigour of its primitive rule. An example of this includes the Cluniac Reforms.Tonary
A tonary is a liturgical book in the Western Christian Church which lists by incipit various items of Gregorian chant according to the Gregorian mode (tonus) of their melodies within the eight-mode system. Tonaries often include Office antiphons, the mode of which determines the recitation formula for the accompanying text (the psalm tone if the antiphon is sung with a psalm, or canticle tone if the antiphon is sung with a canticle), but a tonary may also or instead list responsories or Mass chants not associated with formulaic recitation. Although some tonaries are stand-alone works, they were frequently used as an appendix to other liturgical books such as antiphonaries, graduals, tropers, and prosers, and are often included in collections of musical treatises.Wangford Priory
The Cluniac Priory of Wangford was a small religious house in Wangford in the English county of Suffolk. It was founded before 1159 as a dependency of Thetford Priory. In 1376, it was naturalised before being dissolved in 1540,Zwiefalten Abbey
Zwiefalten Abbey (German: Kloster Zwiefalten, Abtei Zwiefalten or after 1750, Reichsabtei Zwiefalten) was a Benedictine monastery situated at Zwiefalten near Reutlingen in Baden-Württemberg in Germany.