On the world’s side


Abbey church, CLUNY

Για Ελληνικά

Eleven centuries later…

In 2010 the monastic renewal of Cluny was duly celebrated as the Abbey was founded in 910. This anniversary was honoured in a variety of ways in many European countries. France issued, then,a special €10 coin, and the Holy Father Benedict XVI praised -in one of his regular catechetical homilies- Cluny’ s contribution to the life of the whole Church.

The vision of Cluny’ s spirituality was the perpetual worship and prayer by the side of the world, i.e. next to the world and not apart from it. Moreover, they tended for the achievement of the beauty of sanctity in all its forms.

Cluny Abbey gave to the Church a model of renewed Benedictine monastic life, which helped to the birth of other complementary orders, created a particular orderly form in the liturgical tradition and worship, promoted the arts to the service of religion, encouraged the pilgrimages, promoted the piety and devotion to the Most Holy Mother Of God, supported the power of the Successor of Saint Peter and handed down a central administrative structure.

At the same time, Cluny reforms attracted powerful protectors and sponsors and never forgot the spiritual as well as the material aid to the sick and the poor. Through the spread of daughter-monasteries (priories) in the whole of Europe, it was a successful organization in a Europe which was little-by-little becoming conscious of her cultural and national identity.

Four Holy Abbots

On May 11th the Church celebrates the feast of the holy Abbots of Cluny, namely, Saint Odo, Saint Maiolus, Saint Odilo and saint Hugh, who succeeded one another from 910 through 1109. Also, Peter the Venerable (1122-1156 was remembered), who although had never been canonized, the people honoured him like a saint. In 1862 Pope Pius IX confirmed this popular piety towards him.

Cluny, Saint Hugh

On the right you can see a fresco, 4m in height, representative of the style of Cluny from Saint Hugh’ s chapel in Brezé, where the saint’ s hermitage was.

It depicts a theme particularly dear and characteristic of the order’ s spirituality: Christ in his majesty, surrounded by his saints; with his right hand he blesses them, while with the left He gives a phylactery to Saint Peter.

Did you know…

Monks sign languageThe monks of Cluny Abbey, (beginnings of 10th century until beginnings of 12th c.), were the first to invent and use a silent sign language, not for the benefit of those who might have had hearing problems, but in order to safeguard the precious silence of their monastic rule, which forbade talk during certain hours.

With this sign language they were able to transmit precise information without the need to speak.

This “language” played a central role in the novices’ s training, exercising them in obedience and accustoming them to silence, which predisposed to the “opening up” of their inner space, so that they may listen to God’ s voice within themselves and pray better.

This practice quickly spread to many monasteries in Europe, with the result to have local variations and idioms of the original sign language, in time.

For Greek

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