Cîteaux, Abbey of
CÎTEAUX, ABBEY OF
Chief abbey of the Cistercian Order, founded in 1098 in the Diocese of Chalon-sur-Saône (today the Diocese of Dijon), 23 kilometers south of Dijon, Burgundy, France. The Latin variants of the abbey's name are Novum monasterium, Cisterium, Cistellum. The first monks came from the Benedictine abbey of molesme with their abbot, robert of molesme, in order to observe the benedictine rule in its primitive simplicity. Land was donated by Raynard, Viscount of Beaune; Eudes I, Duke of Burgundy, was the great benefactor of Cîteaux. In 1099 Abbot Robert returned to Molesme but was succeeded by Albertic (1099–1109), who received from Pope Paschal II approbation of the Instituta monachorum cisterciensium de Molismo venientium. Under Alberic's successor, stephen harding (1109–33), the abbey experienced some difficult years at first because it was impoverished and lacked recruits, but in 1112 bernard of clairvaux entered Cîteaux with his 30 companions. As early as 1113 the Abbey of la fertÉ was founded; in 1114, pontigny; in 1115, the Abbeys of clairvaux and morimond. In 1119 Pope Callistus II approved the Charta caritatis, once attributed to Stephen Harding. It is the fundamental document of the order of Cîteaux, calling for autonomy of each abbey, annual canonical visitation, and an annual general chapter at Cîteaux, which chapter was to be the supreme authority in the order. The abbey grew prosperous; the domain was large, and the monks and conversi (lay brothers) cultivated many granges. At the death of Abbot Stephen (1134), the cistercians had 75 abbeys spread throughout every country of Europe. The first three abbots were entered in the Cistercian menology as "blessed." In 1164 conflict erupted between Cîteaux and its first four daughter abbeys. A bull of Pope Clement IV, Parvus fons (1265), ended the quarrel by modifying the constitution. During the 14th century the abbey was hard hit by the black death and the Hundred Years' War: in 1360, 1364, and 1392 the religious had to seek refuge in Dijon. Then commendation resulted in relaxation of spiritual life as well as in financial difficulties. The western schism caused a division within the order, and it became apparent that reform was necessary. In 1589 and 1595, during the Wars of Religion, the abbey was pillaged and burned. It was no longer possible for the annual chapter to meet, and a period of decadence followed. Abbot Nicolas Boucherat (1605–25) visited the abbeys to reform them, but his ideas was accepted by only a few: orval, Clairvaux, La Charmoye, and Châtillon. As a result a conflict that lasted 40 years erupted between the reformed abbeys and those that had rejected reform (see trappists). In 1636 Cîteaux was plundered by imperial troops. During the French Revolution (1791) the abbey was sold, and the surviving 12th-century buildings were destroyed. In 1841 Arthur Young, a disciple of F. Fourier, established a phalanstery at Cîteaux, and in 1846 the Abbé Joseph Rey opened a school for juvenile delinquents. In 1898 the reformed Cistercians repurchased the Abbey, and since that time they have occupied the large residence, constructed in 1772 by Lenoir le Romain, the first building of the grandiose plan that was interrupted by the French Revolution.
Bibliography: Sources. william of malmesbury, Gesta regum anglorum 4:334–337, in Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217 v. (Paris 1878–90) 179:1286–90. ordericus vitalis, Historia ecclesiastica 3.8.25, in Patrologia Latina 188:640–642. c. henriquez, Regula, constitutiones et privilegia ordinis cistertiensis (Antwerp 1630). p. guignard, Les Monuments primitifs de la règle cistercienne (Dijon 1878). j. m. canivez, ed., Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis cisterciensis, 8 v. (Louvain 1933–41). b. griesser, Exordium Magnum Cisterciense (Rome 1961). j. marilier, Chartes et documents concernant l'abbaye de Cîteaux, 1098–1182 (Rome 1961). Literature. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 1:787–790. beaunier, Abbayes et prieurés de l'ancienne France, ed. j. m. besse, v.12 (Paris 1941) 306–308. j. b. mahn, L'Ordre Cistercien et son gouvernement, des origines au milieu du XIII e siècle, 1098–1265 (new ed. Paris 1951). m. a. dimier, Recueil de plans d'églises cisterciennes, 2 v. (Paris 1949) 1:99. j. m. canivez, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–) 12:852–874. l. j. lekai, The White Monks (Okauchee, Wis. 1953). a. a. king, Cîteaux and Her Elder Daughters (London 1954). j. winandy, "Les Origines de Cîteaux et les travaux de M. Lefèvre," Revue Bénédictine 67(1957) 49–76. j. b. van damme, "Autour des origines cisterciennes," Colectanea ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum 20 (1958) 37–60, 153–168, 374–390; 21 (1959) 70–86, 137–156, c. oursel, Miniatures cisterciennes (Mâcon 1960).,
[m. a. dimier]