The Cistercian Evolution: The Invention of a Religious Order in Twelfth-Century Europe (The Middle Ages Series)

The Cistercian Evolution: The Invention of a Religious Order in Twelfth-Century Europe (The Middle Ages Series)


According to the acquired historical past, the Cistercian order used to be based in Cîteaux, France, in 1098 via a gaggle of Benedictine priests who needed for a stricter neighborhood. They sought a monastic existence that known as for severe asceticism, rejection of feudal sales, and handbook exertions for priests. Their 3rd chief, Stephen Harding, issued a structure, the Carta Caritatis, that known as for the uniformity of customized in all Cistercian monasteries and the institution of an annual normal bankruptcy assembly at Cîteaux.

The Cistercian order grew phenomenally within the mid-twelfth century, achieving past France to Portugal within the west, Sweden within the north, and the japanese Mediterranean, ostensibly via a technique of apostolic gestation, wherein individuals of a motherhouse might cross forth to set up a brand new condominium. The abbey at Clairvaux, based via Bernard in 1115, used to be by myself answerable for founding sixty eight of the 338 Cistercian abbeys in life through 1153. yet this well-established view of a centrally equipped order whose founders estimated the form and type of a non secular order at its top isn't borne out within the old record.

Through an research of early Cistercian files, Constance Hoffman Berman proves that no trustworthy connection with Stephen's Carta Caritatis appears to be like sooner than the mid-twelfth century, and that the rfile is prone to date from 1165 than from 1119. the consequences of this truth are profound. rather than being a constitution in which greater than three hundred Cistercian homes have been organize by means of a government, the rfile turns into a way of bringing below centralized administrative keep watch over a lot of loosely affiliated and already latest monastic homes of clergymen in addition to nuns who shared Cistercian customs. The most probably reason behind this administrative structuring used to be to examine the impact of the overdominant apartment of Clairvaux, which threatened the authority of Cîteaux via Bernard's hugely winning construction of recent monastic communities.

For centuries the expansion of the Cistercian order has been provided as a spontaneous spirituality that swept western Europe in the course of the energy of the 1st apartment at Cîteaux. Berman indicates as a substitute that the construction of the spiritual order was once a collaborative job, much less pushed by way of centralized associations; its formation used to be meant to unravel functional difficulties approximately monastic management. With the booklet of The Cistercian Evolution, for the 1st time the mechanisms are published in which the priests of Cîteaux reshaped truth to construct and administer some of the most strong and influential spiritual orders of the center Ages.

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