Historical Context Essay

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The Cistercians are a monastic religious order founded by Saint Robert of Molesme (1028-1111) at Cîteaux near Dijon in France in 1098 together with a group of monks from the abbey of Molesme who were critical of the moral laxity of the Benedictines and sought to return to the strict application of St. Benedict’s Rule [see our entry on Benedictines]. Most Benedictine convents looked more like secular courts, and despite continued efforts to worship God, most monks had become very secular in their lifestyle.

Saints Albéric (ca. 1050-1108) and Stephen Harding (by origin English, 1059-1134) who succeeded Robert as abbots, gave the Cistercian order its characteristics of white-robed poverty, reflection in solitude, fasting, good works and manual labor for the monks. The Cistercians

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Citation: Classen, Albrecht. "Cistercians". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 January 2004 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

1328 Cistercians 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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