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Cistercians

Cistercians (sĬstr´shənz), monks of a Roman Catholic religious order founded (1098) by St. Robert, abbot of Molesme, in Cîteaux [Cistercium], Côte-d'Or dept., France. They reacted against Cluniac departures from the Rule of St. Benedict. The particular stamp of the Cistercians stems from the abbacy (c.1109–1134) of St. Stephen Harding. The black habit of the Benedictines was changed to unbleached white and the Cistercians became known as White Monks. St. Bernard of Clairvaux is often regarded as their "second founder." Through a return to strict asceticism and a life of poverty, the Cistercians sought to recover the ideals of the original Benedictines. They expanded greatly, especially during St. Bernard's lifetime, and at the close of the 12th cent. there were 530 Cistercian abbeys. The life and writings of St. Bernard were their guiding influence. They considered farming the chief occupation for monks and led Europe in the development of new agricultural techniques. (In England the Cistercians were important in English wool production.) The Cistercians were the first to make extensive use of lay brothers, conversi, who lived in the abbey under separate discipline and aided the monks in their farm system. In the 13th cent. relaxation of fervor diminished Cistercian importance, and by 1400 they had ceased to be prominent, their place being taken by the Dominican and Franciscan friars. Of later reform attempts, the most important was the movement begun at La Trappe, France (17th cent.); those accepting the greater austerities were known popularly as Trappists, officially titled (after 1892) Cistercians of the Stricter Observance [Lat. abbr., O.C.S.D.], as distinct from Cistercians of the Common Observance [Lat. abbr., S.O. Cist.]. Today the difference is not great. The unit of Cistercian life is the abbey. Its members compose a permanent communal entity, with the abbeys joined in loose federation. Houses of Cistercian nuns (founded beginning in the 12th cent.) have rules and customs paralleling those of the monks; they lead contemplative lives in complete seclusion from the world. A 17th-century reform of Cistercian nuns produced the remarkable development of Port-Royal. Famous Cistercian abbeys include Cîteaux, Clairvaux, Fountains, Rievaulx, and Alcobaa.

See M. B. Pennington, ed., The Cistercian Spirit (1970); C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism (1984).

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Cistercians

Cistercians (or ‘white’ monks) were a monastic order established in 1098 by Robert of Molesme at Cîteaux (Burgundy) in reaction to the perceived laxity of contemporary Benedictine monasticism. Their constitutions aimed at a literal observance of the Benedictine rule, and included the rejection of many types of revenue, including the possession of churches and manorial dues. Their estates were organized in self-contained ‘granges’ staffed by lay brothers (‘conversi’) who, while not monks, followed a rule and wore a distinctive habit. Early Cistercians owed much to contemporary eremitical practice and their administration, codified as the ‘Carta caritatis’ (‘Charter of Love’) during the abbacy of the Englishman Stephen Harding, by 1119, provided a clear command and disciplinary structure, articulated through annual visitations of daughter- by mother-communities. After initial difficulties the Cistercians enjoyed phenomenal success, particularly during the life of St Bernard, who entered Cîteaux in 1112 and was abbot of its daughter house of Clairvaux from 1115 till his death in 1153. By then c.300 abbeys had been founded across Europe (and in the crusading states), and though attempts were made in 1152 to limit new foundations there were c.530 houses by 1200. Thereafter the tide slackened and, though the Cistercians continued to influence other monastic groups, benefactions declined.

In England and Wales the first abbey was founded at Waverley (Surrey) in 1128, followed shortly afterwards by Tintern and Rievaulx. By 1152 there were about 40, as well as communities in Scotland (such as Melrose) and Ireland. Moreover, there were several nunneries following Cistercian customs, as well as thirteen abbeys of the order of Savigny which were taken over by Cîteaux in 1147. In the later Middle Ages Cistercian influence declined, though there were a few new, urban foundations (e.g. at Oxford and London). Their economy underwent drastic changes following the Black Death.

Brian Golding

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Cistercian

Cistercian. The monastic Order founded at Cîteaux in Burgundy (1098) as an offshoot of the Benedictine rules. Cistercian architecture was international, and plans and elevations were severely simple. Chancels had straight, rather than apsidal, ends, and chapels attached to the transepts were also squared off. The earliest surviving complete Cistercian church is Fontenay (1139–47), while one of the finest is Pontigny (c.1160–1200), both in Burgundy. Impressive ruins of large establishments can be found in England at Byland, Fountains, Kirkstall, and Rievaulx in Yorks., Furness in North Lancs., and Greyabbey, Co. Down. Other Cistercian houses include Fossanova (Italy), Heiligenkreuz, and Zwettl (both Austria).

Bibliography

P. Braunfels (1972);
Fergusson (1984);
C. Norton & and Park (1986);
Stalley (1987);
Tobin (1996)

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Cistercians

Cistercians. Roman Catholic monastic order, also called ‘White Monks’. The mother-house, Cîteaux (Lat., Cistercium) in Burgundy, was founded in 1098. In contrast to the comparative luxury of the monasticism of Cluny, then at its height, they were austere in diet, clothing, architecture, and liturgy.

In the 17th cent. a party of ‘Strict Observance’ emerged, advocating, among other rigours, total abstinence from meat. Its most important figure was A. de Rancé (d. 1700), abbot of La Trappe, whence is derived the name Trappists, applied from the 19th cent. onward to Cistercians of the Strict Observance.

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Cistercian

Cistercian a member of an order founded as a stricter branch of the Benedictines, the reforms being particularly associated with the influence of St Bernard of Clairvaux, who was particularly critical of elaborate decoration in ecclesiastical buildings. The monks are now divided into two observances, the strict observance, whose adherents are known popularly as Trappists, and the common observance, which has certain relaxations.

The name comes (via French) from Cistercium, the Latin name of Cteaux near Dijon in France, where the order was founded.

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Cistercian

Cis·ter·cian / sisˈtərshən/ • n. a monk or nun of an order founded in 1098 as a stricter branch of the Benedictines. The monks are now divided into two observances, the strict observance, whose adherents are known popularly as Trappists, and the common observance, which has certain relaxations. • adj. of or relating to this order: a Cistercian abbey.

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Cistercian

Cistercian Order of monks founded (1098) in Citeaux, France, by Benedictine monks led by St Robert of Molesme. Saint Bernard was largely responsible for the growth of the order in the 12th century. In the 17th century the order split into two communities: Common Observance and Strict Observance, the latter popularly known as Trappists.

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Cistercian

Cistercian pert. to (a monk of) the Benedictine order of Citeaux, founded 1098. XVII. — F. Cistercien, f. L. Cistercium Cîteaux, near Dijon, France (cf. medL. Cisterciensis); see -IAN.

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Cistercian

Cistercianashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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