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The origin and center of a mediæval monastic reform movement, the Benedictine monastery at Cluny was endowed in 909/10 by William the Pious of Aquitaine; its first abbot, Berno of Baume (909-27), expected his monks to conform strictly to the Rule of Benedict. William exempted the monastery from its secular obligations to him as its overlord in the hope that the monks would and could then pursue spiritual good instead of material wealth. The second abbot, Odo (927-42), was responsible for the expansion of its reforms as he encouraged other monasteries to adopt the austere observances of his; Odilio (994-1048), the fifth abbot, was responsible for the development of a system of Cluniac houses in Europe. The order's opposition to simony and lay investiture had great appeal, as did the emphasis on strict clerical celibacy and increased monastic meditation. The Cluniac movement reached its temporal peak in the XII Century, when Cluny ran over 1,000 monasteries. Although the Cluniac houses of Spain played a role in the Reconquista, the movement gave way to other reform efforts after the death of Peter the Venerable (1156), considered the last great abbot of the mother house. The monastery was suppressed during the French Revolution and became a museum in the XIX Century.

Karen Rae Keck

See also: Cluniac reform movement.


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