by Simon
Lien-yueh Wei





The Benedictine Reforms of Cluny and Citeaux




The Benedictine reforms of Cluny

It had a single abbot for a great number of monasteries. In each of the daughter monasteries, the leader is a prior or “first” monk who was already trained and prepared to be a leader of a daughter monastery. The leader was subject to the abbot of Cluny. The abbot obeys to the Pope alone. The purpose of this system was to prevent the appointment of abbot by lay persons. The Cluny monks also refused to take appointments as bishops and cardinals, so that they were not involved in the affairs of the church. Hence, they and their monasteries can avoid the outside control.


The Benedictine reforms of Citeaux

They develop a union of monasteries. Althought each monastery had its own abbot, all the abbots meet every three years at Citeaux, so that problems could be solved and the level of religious observance could be maintained. If one monastery establishes a new monastery, the abbot of the founding monastery is responsible for it and had to visit it in order to make sure that its religious observance was maintained. Moreover, the monks doall their own work and cut themselves off from economic affairs in the secular society. Thus, their monasteries not only can be independent from the outside persons, but also can maintain the proper level of religious observance. 



Burns, Patout, Lectures of “The Formation of Christian Tradition” in Vanderbilt Divinity school, 2004 Fall.


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