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The town of Cluny or Clugny lies in the modern-day departement of Saône-et-Loire in the region of Bourgogne, in east-central France, near Macon.

Table of contents
1 Cluny and Monasticism
2 Further Reading
3 External link

Cluny and Monasticism


William I the Pious, count of
Auvergne and duke of Aquitaine, founded the Benedictine monastery of Cluny, the motherhouse of the Congregation of Cluny (sometimes referred to as the Cluniac Order), in A.D. 910. William gave Cluny the remarkable privilege of releasing the house from all future obligation to him and his family other than prayer. He appears to have made this arrangement with Berno, the first abbot, in order to free the new monastery from secular entanglements.


The monastery of Cluny differed in two ways from other Benedictine houses and confederations: in its organizational structure and in its execution of the liturgy as its main form of work. While most Benedictine monasteries remain autonomous and associate with each other only voluntarily, Cluny created a large, federated order in which the administrators of subsidiary houses served as deputies of the abbot of Cluny and answered to him. These priors, or chiefs of priories, met at Cluny once a year to deal with administrative issues and to make reports.

The customs of Cluny also represented a shift from the earlier ideal of a Benedictine monastery as an agriculturally self-sufficient unit in which each member did physical labor as well as offering prayer. Cluny's agreement to offer perpetual prayer (laus perennis, literally "perpetual praise") meant that specialization went further at Cluny.

Cluny and the Arts

The fast-growing monastery at Cluny demanded buildings on a large scale. In building the third and final church at Cluny, the monastery constructed the largest building in Europe before the rebuilding of St. Peter's in Rome in the 16th century.

Cluny's Influence

Four monks of Cluny became popes: Gregory VII, Urban II, Paschal II, and Urban V

Further Reading

Kenneth J. Conant, Cluny. Les églises et la maison du chef d'Ordre (1968).
Barbara H. Rosenwein, Rhinoceros Bound: Cluny in the 10th Century (1982).

External link

Catholic Encyclopedia entry, Congregation of Cluny