de Cluny :
earliest reform, which became practically a distinct order,
family. It originated at Cluny, a town
in Saone-et-Loire, fifteen miles north-west of Macon, where
in 910 William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine, founded an abbey
and endowed it with his entire domain. Over it he placed
St. Berno, then Abbot of Gigny, under whose guidance a somewhat
new and stricter form of Benedictine life was inaugurated.
reforms introduced at Cluny were in some measure traceable
to the influence of St. Benedict of Aniane, who had put forward
his new ideas at the first great meeting of the abbots of
the order held at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in 817, and their
at Cluny resulted in many departures from precedent, chief
among which was a highly centralized form of government entirely
foreign to Benedictine tradition.
The reform quickly spread
beyond the limits of the Abbey of Cluny, partly by the founding
of new houses and partly by the incorporation of those already
existing, and as all these remained dependent upon the mother-house,
the Congregation of Cluny came into being almost automatically.
Under St. Berno's successors it attained a very widespread
influence, and by the twelfth century Cluny was at the head
of an order consisting of some 314 monasteries. These were
spread over France, Italy, the Empire, Lorraine, England,
Scotland, and Poland. According to the "Bibliotheca Cluniacensis" (Paris,
1614) 825 houses owed allegiance to the Abbot of Cluny in
the fifteenth century. Some writers have given the number as
but there is little doubt that this is an exaggeration. It
may perhaps include all those many other monasteries which,
though no joining the congregation, adopted either wholly
or in part the Cluny constitutions, such as Fleury, Hirschau,
Farfa, and many others that were subject to their influence.