Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Cistercians. Part Three.

Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

Founded in Portugal in 1153.
Created by: Portuguese_eyes.
Upload by: User:Rei-artur.
Foto: Flickr
This File: 25 February 2008.
User: Waugsberg.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In Yorkshire, Rievaulx Abbey was Founded from Clairvaux in 1131, on a small property "in a place of horror and dreary solitude". This land was donated by Walter Espec, with the support of Thurstan, Archbishop of York. By 1143, three hundred Monks had entered Rievaulx, including the famous Saint Ælred, who became known as the "Saint Bernard of England". From Rievaulx was Founded Melrose Abbey, the earliest Cistercian Monastery in Scotland. Located in Roxburghshire, it was built in 1136 by King David I of Scotland, and completed in less than ten years. Another important offshoot of Rievaulx was Revesby Abbey in Lincolnshire.

Fountains Abbey was founded in 1132 by Benedictine Monks from Saint Mary's Abbey, York, who desired a return to the austere Rule of Saint Benedict. After many struggles and great hardships, Saint Bernard agreed to send a Monk from Clairvaux to instruct them, and, in the end, they prospered exceedingly. Before 1152, Fountains had many offshoots, of which Newminster Abbey (1137) and Meaux Abbey (1151) are the most famous.

English: Rein Abbey, Austria.
The oldest surviving Cistercian Community in the World.
Great West Door of the Abbey Church.
Deutsch: Die Außenfassade der Stiftskirche von Rein.
Photo: 7 September 2012.
Author: Janos Korom Dr.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In the Spring of 1140, Saint Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, visited Clairvaux, becoming a personal friend of Saint Bernard and an admirer of The Cistercian Rule. He left four of his companions to be trained as Cistercians, and returned to Ireland to introduce Cistercianism there. Saint Bernard viewed the Irish at this time as being in the "depth of barbarism":
. . . never had he found men so shameful in their morals, so wild in their rites, so impious in their Faith, so barbarous in their laws, so stubborn in discipline, so unclean in their life. They were Christians in name, in fact they were pagans.
Mellifont Abbey was founded in County Louth in 1142. Thence were founded the affiliated Monasteries of Bective Abbey in County Meath (1147), Inislounaght Abbey in County Tipperary (1147–1148), Baltinglass in County Wicklow (1148), Monasteranenagh in County Limerick (1148), Kilbeggan in County Westmeath(1150) and Boyle Abbey in County Roscommon (1161). Saint Malachy's intensive pastoral activity was highly successful:
Barbarous laws disappeared, Roman laws were introduced: Everywhere Ecclesiastical customs were received and the contrary rejected . . . In short, all things were so changed that The Word of The Lord may be applied to this people: Which, before, was not My people, now is My people.
As in Wales, there was no significant Tradition of Benedictine Monasticism in Ireland on which to draw; although, in the Irish case, this represented an insecure foundation for Cistercian expansion. Irish Cistercianism would eventually become isolated from the disciplinary structures of The Order, leading to decline in the 13th-Century.

English: The "pure", unadorned style of Cistercian architecture at the 12th-Century
Español: Veruela - Iglesia abacial de Santa María de Veruela - Vista desde el pie.
Photo: 6 October 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: ecelan.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile, the Cistercian influence in The Church more than kept pace with this material expansion. Saint Bernard had established the unique position as mentor of Popes and Kings, and, in 1145, King Louis VII's brother, Henry of France, entered Clairvaux. That same year, Saint Bernard saw one of his Monks ascend The Papal Chair as Pope Eugene III. Eugene was an Italian of humble background, who had first been drawn to Monasticism at Clairvaux by the magnetism of Bernard. At the time of his Election, he was Abbot of Saints Vincenzo and Anastasio, outside Rome. When news of the Fall of Edessa reached him in Viterbo, he addressed The Papal Bull Quantum praedecessores to King Louis VII, with the result that a European Monarch took up a Crusade for the first time.

A great reinforcement to The Order was the merger of The Savigniac Houses with The Cistercians, at the insistence of Pope Eugene III. Thirteen English Abbeys, of which the most famous were Furness Abbey and Jervaulx Abbey, thus adopted The Cistercian Rule. In Dublin, the two Savigniac Houses of Erenagh and Saint Mary's became Cistercian. It was in the latter case that Mediaeval Dublin acquired a Cistercian Monastery in the very unusual suburban location of Oxmantown, with its own private harbour, called The Pill.

By 1152, there were fifty-four Cistercian Monasteries in England, some few of which had been Founded directly from The Continent. Overall, there were 333 Cistercian Abbeys in Europe – so many that a halt was put to this expansion. Nearly half of these Houses had been Founded, directly or indirectly, from Clairvaux, so great was Saint Bernard's influence and prestige. He has come almost to be regarded as the Founder of The Cistercians, who have often been called Bernardines. Saint Bernard died in 1153, one month after his pupil Pope Eugene III.

English: Cistercian architecture was applied, 
based on rational principles.
Deutsch: Aufriss des Langhauses der Zirsterzienser-Klosterkirche von Kloster Arnsburg.
Date: 1888.
Source: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, aus: Dehio/v.Bezold: Die kirchliche
Baukunst des Abendlandes, Stuttgart, Atlas II, 1888, Tafel 199,4
Author: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

From its solid base, The Cistercian Order spread all over Western Europe: Into Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Croatia, Italy, Sicily, Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Portugal. One of the most important Libraries of The Cistercians was in Salem, Germany.



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    in Domino.


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