Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, Cistercian Order




Well, as usual, next week we're going to have them on different days, because it's Holy Week, and then the following two weeks we don't have class. So we miss four class periods, because I won't be here. So it's important that I get next week's in. Now I give you a choice, whether you want them both on Monday morning and get them out of the way, whether you want Monday and Tuesday, both days. If we have it Tuesday, we kind of like to have it at 9 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock, this one time. So why don't you think about it during class, and towards the end of class I'll ask how many want a doubleheader on Monday and get it out of the way, or the Monday-Tuesday thing. And then you get an Easter break, so true solemn week. All right, now.


What? Oh. What was that? Well, let's see. What's important that we get the class going. Um, so today we're on number 20. There are 27 numbers altogether, by the way, in my outline. Um, Cistercian monasticism. After Cistercian monasticism we're going to, we're going to go back to England, is it? No, we look at the Gregorian reform and then we go back to England, and then look at Byzantine and Orthodox monasticism just in general, and then we move very quickly through the rest of the centuries because it's a very sad and fast history for monasticism from the 15th century onwards. And only now in the 20th century is it coming back into its own.


So, we're going to backtrack just a little bit, as we had to do periodically, because we're going to go back to the beginnings of the Cistercian reform, which was, you know, synchronous with a number of the reforms I talked about last time. Remember that a number of them were employing Cistercian methods in their own Benedictine reform, without going Cistercian. A number of them wanted to be Cistercian and were not accepted into the Cistercian order, which became very, very big in no time at all. The Cistercian movement, the Cistercian reform, which becomes a Cistercian movement, which becomes a Cistercian order, starts out with Benedictines. A Benedictine abbot of Molheim Abbey, Saint Robert of Molheim, and you have his dates


on the board, who became a monk at Molheim at the age of 15. And he became prior, excuse me, it wasn't at Molheim, he joined at Saint-Michel-de-Ponaire Abbey at 15. He became prior, then he became abbot of that place. And then he gradually assumed the guidance of a number of hermits. If you remember correctly, I've mentioned it twice in different contexts, a group of hermits who were just sort of loosely gathered together, living in the woods of Molheim. He becomes their spiritual guide, and they ask him eventually to be their abbot, which he does in the year 1074. He becomes the abbot of this group of hermits in the woods, which becomes Molheim Abbey. At first it was a very small house, only 13 monks, and they lived extremely frugal lives,


very austere. And then new disciples came and donations started to come in, and they got lands, and Robert began to get worried, because he liked it very poor and very small. And finally, the community got to a point where they had two camps, those who liked what was happening, and those who wanted to go back to a much simpler and smaller structure. It's odd that what becomes the Cistercian order, it started by a number of people who wanted to keep things small and frugal. He left the abbey, where he's abbot, because he basically wants that other, go back to the old frugal ways, and he takes his prior of the abbey with him, who is Elric, and also


his sub-prior, who is Stephen Hardy, who is an English monk who joined the house of Molheim, because he couldn't find any houses that really suited him until he got to Molheim, and he found this small group in the forest that was living very frugally and very primitively, and he liked that very much. So all three of these wanted to go back to the old ways. And with the consent, they had the consent of the papal legate in the area, they chose a spot in the wilderness near Dijon, named Citeaux, for their new foundation, and there they built what was called the New Monastery, in English, and that's how it came to be known, the New Monastery. And they started monastic life there in the year 1098, on the feast of the Transientus


of Benedict, March 21st, 1098. Well, Molheim, the Molheim monks, by this time, are PO'd. They want their abbot back, and they want to live the way they're living. And they're not envious of this new group, but there's some kind of rivalry going on. Well, they're all former members of the same community. And so the monks of Molheim go to the Pope, plead their case, are very legalistic about it, and really the Pope's hands are tied in this sense. He is the abbot of that house. And Robert Molheim is ordered by the Pope to go back to his abbey and be abbot where he was, where he's supposed to be, because that was his first duty.


And so with heavy heart, Robert of Molheim went back to Molheim and stayed there until he died as their abbot. When he left Citeaux, he quickly got into juridical channels and political assurities for this group of Citeaux in order to protect them from Molheim or from anybody else. And he works all that out in his early years back at Molheim and gets Citeaux protected so that nobody is going to mess around with the new foundation, the new monastery. Part of this, because he wanted to remain in a good reformed house, part of this process took him off on a far journey, I think it was to Rome.


And while he was gone, his monks at Molheim attacked the community, their former brothers at Citeaux, and beat them, and ruined some things and whatnot. And Albert at that time, who was the former prior, was the new abbot, he took over when Robert died. They even put him in prison and put the prior in prison. Notice it, Saint Albert. And Saint Robert and Saint Stephen, these other guys are not saints back at Molheim, not from this time in history. And Robert was very successful, when he came back he was a little bit angry, and he rectified things, and he made sure that everyone knew how Citeaux was protected by the church hierarchy.


And they started out, in those early years, once they had that firm footing under Albert, they were very, very, very poor, very destitute. A number of monks, early vocations, died. They froze to death, they starved to death. But they hung on, and got some help for this reformed house from a local, the Duke of Burgundy. We've met a number of Dukes of Burgundy who have helped monastic foundations in these centuries. He actually built for them their first stone church at Citeaux. They were just a little wooden things in the first years. And he also procured, that is the Duke of Burgundy, procured another bowl of protection


from the Pope himself, Pope Paschal II, and that was in the year 11... No, I don't have a year for that. Interestingly, Pope Paschal II, in the year 1113, I only know this from the research I'm doing, is the same Pope who sets up the Commodolese congregation. So it's just a couple years after this, that this same Pope Paschal II sets up Commodolese and all the houses that Romuald founded during the earlier century, or who took on the Romualdian reform in any of the ensuing years, put them all under Commodole, all under the prior or abbot of Commodole, of the hermitage of Commodole, and constituted the Commodolese congregation. It's at that time, it's at this time then, that we actually have a Commodolese order.


Because before that, Commodole was just one of hundreds of houses, and it really wasn't even, it was almost the most insignificant of all of them. It was one of the last foundations of Romuald, and it's just how history worked that it became the century. Before this, they were the Romualdian reform, the Romualdian movement. Romuald wouldn't have even known what a Commodolese order was. It came a hundred years afterwards. Not quite a hundred, almost a hundred. Eight or nine years afterwards. Anyway, the same pope. He did this for a number of monastic, to get them set, to get them organized, to get them protected. Also, the same pope, when he sets up the Commodolese order, we're getting off track. He sets up the Commodolese order, he says, nobody messes with this congregation.


They're on me only. They have the protection. He does the same thing for the Cistercians. So he really sets them apart and gives them, both of these groups, the Commodolese and the Cistercians, the protection to live what they profess to be living without all the hassles of politics, bishops who want their land, etc. And the Bishop of Arezzo is going to try to address various things from the Commodolese, the later Bishop of Arezzo. And one of our own saints, Raniero, the prior of a house in Arezzo, San Michele, I think, actually lies under oath to papal delegates in order to protect the land of Commodole from the later Bishop of Arezzo.


Not that Commodole didn't have a reason to keep their lands, and the bishop was kind of horny in a roundabout way, trying to work politically and whatnot, but Raniero, and this is not the Raniero that our Raniero is named after, actually lies and says he's seen a document at the Hermitage of Commodole and the deed from the original count of Moldolo and all that's fabricated. There's no such thing. And it might very well have been that there was a count of Moldolo, but nobody knows, and there's no evidence of that, no documentation. And actually, we do have documentation. It has to do with when the thing was dedicated and when it was deeded over. We have documentation from the Bishop of Arezzo, who consecrated the church of the Sacra, Arezzo, much later, 10 years later, 15 years later.


That we have evidence of, that they wanted to get it earlier so as to keep the later bishop, a century later, out of it. Anyway, the pastoral second, once and for all, protects these people. And that's what it's going to do to Citeaux also. And nobody can mess with them. Nobody. The third abbot who was elected after Albert died in 1109 was Stephen Harding, who was the original sub-prior. It's under Stephen Harding that things really get set up. Under Robert Gunner, beginning in absentia, he solidified and protected them as much as he could. Under Albrecht, they lived through the hard times, some of them dying, but made it through, got settled, cleared the forests, drained the swamps, etc., to get their land tillable.


It's under Harding that things really take off. He was an Anglo-Saxon who had fled England after the conquest. Well, he was only, if this year is right, he was only six years old when England was conquered by the Normans, that is. And he had been exposed to both Anglo-Saxon monasticism and Celtic monasticism. So he comes with quite a bit of background. And also, he was educated in France, where the new learning was in effect. So he had a very good education, and he had this monastic background. And he joined Boleyn, and then went on to Citeaux, the original group. He had great talents for organization, and he was a good scholar.


He had a good brain, and vast experience. And he's the one who takes the order where it's going to go, that is, capital order. With a good, firm legal framework, he's the legislator. He gets things passed through, gets things organized and set up, which will become a model for, you remember, all the new orders, and also some of the monastic reforms. By the time of Stephen's death, in the year 1134, so how long had they been going? Well, 36 years. 36 years, by the time he's dead, they have 75 abbeys. And this is, the Cistercian movement is still a young movement. What they would do, is they would send a whole community off, and they built.


The whole community was there, they didn't have to wait for vocations. They would just send out 12 here, 15 there, and that's how they started. By the time he died, they had 75 abbeys built up, Cistercian abbeys. And lots of vocations left to the Cistercians during these early years, and during the years to come. It's going to expand in an unprecedented way. The 12th century is known as the Cistercian century. You'll find this in history, not just monastic history, but in history. The Benedictine century was the century before this, the 11th century. It's called the Benedictine century. When Stephen was in his fourth year as abbot, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Bernard of Clairvaux, a young man, he's 30 I guess,


don't have his age, 11, 13, 23 years old, 23 years old, shows up the door, wanting to be a member of the church. with 30 of his male relatives. So he brings them, 30 vocations with him. This is not atypical of what happened to the Cistercians. You'd have whole families, men, whole, I think they got a lot of men when they started later on too, whole towns, half the town would join the Cistercian organ, whole groups of artisans. Amazing phenomenon. And Bernard and his 30 family and friends movement joined the house, and later on in the year, let's see, I'm not going to get the year for you, I'm sorry.


But they're going to send him off to Clairvaux. That's why it's called Bernard of Clairvaux. He founds this monastery. Duke of Staines. Or he really gets it off, let's say that, let's put it that way, he really gets it going. But in his early years, some of the more famous houses that they're forming are Clairvaux, Pontigny, La Fete, and Monrymont. Those are the biggies in the early years of their foundations. But within five years, they formed these and five more avenues, just indicative of what's going on. How fast things expand. In the year 1119, another pope, Callistus II,


gives them even more protection. Just keeps larding it on and on, and nobody's going to mess with the Cistercians. And also, he confirms all their constitutions and capitula, all their organization they have on paper, especially through Stephen Harding's work, he confirms all of it, up to that point. He says, great, this should be a model for everyone. Nobody messes with this. Alright, let's move on then. What are some of the basic fundamentals of this Cistercian reform? What is it living? How is it living? What is it doing? Why is it different? One has to remember, in parenthesis, that whereas Cluny was a renewal of monasticism, that is, resurrecting monastic life in a time when it was almost extinct,


Citeaux is not facing that. Monasticism is not extinct, if you remember correctly. There's all kinds of reforms going on. The Benedictine Order is humongous right now. We just came out of the Benedictine century. And it's not degenerate everywhere. And in fact, when this gets started, Cluny is only half degenerate. It's just too big for its riches already. We're talking here about a reform of monasticism in a time when monasticism was humongous in numbers. They all start blocking the Cistercians. We're talking thousands and thousands of people. What did it proclaim? It proclaimed a return to the letter of the rule. That is, sort of a legalistic or fundamentalistic approach to living the rule. Strict adherence to the RB.


It demanded greater solitude, even normal things you hear with these reforms that come up. Solitude, poverty, silence, primitive approach to monastic life, basic fundamentals. Let's go back to the old days. And they were influenced also by pre-Benedictine monasticism. That is, just like the Carthusians had, the Cistercians also had this desert monasticism. You always have to know where that's in the background. Well, it is for a lot of Benedictines too. But for the Cistercians, it's very strong. It's strongest with the Carthusians. The Carthusians have come over. But what of the Capitula? The Capitula were the first things they got down on paper. And it's only 20 paragraphs long. What are some of the high points?


Here in the Capitula is the first time we run across the phrase conversi. In the Cistercian framework. In the Cistercian film. We're going to talk specifically about conversi at the end of this treatment of Cistercian monasticism. Here are the rules for making a new foundation that they set up. They have to put it on paper because they're going to make all kinds of mess of them. What do you want when you make a foundation? You want an abbot right off the bat. You send an abbot and 12 monks. And that's the founding family. You've got a whole community. In other words, you have a juridical community that's already with a chapter. It's all set up. That's how you start. You have some conversi. Don't forget, all the Cistercians worked as well.


They need some help. And you get all the books you need for a proper monastic life. Especially liturgical books. You dedicate your foundation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can call it Our Lady of Big Sur. Our Lady of Pacific Valley. You can do it that way or you can have other titles more specifically. You locate it in the sticks. That's part of the... You don't do it in the city. You locate it in the sticks. Away from villages or towns. Far away, if possible. You absolutely have strict enclosure. All the usages and all the customs are to be absolutely the same in all the houses. Sounds a lot like who me started, if you remember.


It's going to be the same everywhere so that we remain unified, we Cistercians. And so what we wear, what we eat, how we sing, how we pray, how we speak with our hands, sign language. It's all set up. And everybody does it the same. How do we make a living? By your hands. Manual labor. The Capitula approve a grange system. So you can have farms and stuff attached and people actually living out there and whatnot. And yet attached to that community. We're like tenant farmers. Kind of system. If any income is offered in any feudalistic setup.


Or any church income, church ecclesiastical income. Or any political bribe income. All that, you can't accept it. Cistercians don't take any of that. They just don't take any. And they live by the work of their hands. And they do no pastoral work, no parochial work. And here's one where it's debatable whether they kept this. But no ostentation in buildings. I suppose it all depends on what one means. If one means by ostentation, no plumiac vestments and gold and silver and all of that. Well then fine, they lived that. If one means no beautiful architecture, they didn't live it. Because Cistercian architecture is glorious. The classical Cistercian architecture. Absolutely beautiful.


They had very many talented people working on their foundations. They set up general chapters. And the general chapters from that year, from 1119 until 1151, so until two years before the conversion. They kept adding and refining this business, this legislation. They kept spelling it out. Articulating it. So that it finally ended up with 92 paragraphs in the Yerba Blanc. The Capitula, that is. Started out with, what was it, 12? 20. 20, and it ended up with 92. The institutes of the general chapter. These institutes, that is written norms, clarified various legal questions and political questions and procedural points for the order.


And so it spelled out how one holds the chapter meeting. How one acquires certain privileges. How we hold dissertations. How we punish one another when we need it. How we go about electing superiors. How we treat guests. Well, it's a custom. Sounds like a custom. And they articulate it all out. And they do it very clearly and in a very principled way. And they always keep the Cistercian ideal in the forefront. And they work through that. Through that prism. No children in the cloister. Why should they have to put that down? Well, monasticism has all kinds of kids in the cloister. In little schools and all wearing little habits and whatnot. And now, future monks. Monks all over.


Had for centuries now. And will continue to do that. Cistercian's law. No part of it. Two other sets of directives came up during these early years that were real important. The first one is the Ecclesiastica Ophitia. You'd be interested in the Cypriot. This is their liturgical code. And you may run into that in later studies. They've done some... The Cistercian publications have done a liturgical... What have they done? Eight volumes? Nine volumes or something like that. And a number of those things are researching stuff like this. The early documents. How they were embodied in various communities, etc. Or the music that actually came out of them. The other really important document. Well, there's more than one. But this one is real important. The Uzus Conversorum.


That is sort of a... Customary for the conversy. For the lay brothers. Along with the Instituta. So along with the Institutes I already mentioned. This forms the basic manual. The customary. The consuetudiness. And there wasn't anything really radically new. It's just that it's all nicely spelled out. It's all very clear, concise, simple. But they still didn't have... They had lots of descriptions. Finely honed descriptions of how they were going to live. But they don't have their real charter. Their Magna Carta of the Cistercian world. And that becomes what is called the Carta Carta. It's approved again in 1119.


1119 is a big year for early Cistercianism. This is traditionally attributed to Stephen Hardy. But only in the sense that he got it started. This is a long process. It took some 50 years to get this thing all ironed out. He started it. Well, he did not live it. The process outlived him. But they gave him credit for it. Between the years 1165 and 1190, you have the final touches put on this Carta Caritatis. And that chiefly becomes their constitutional framework. What does it say? Just the high points. It says, Cito is the head of this order. It's the heart and center of the order. Final authority rests with the annual general chapter.


Annual general chapter. Which meets every year in order to take problems, control of problems, to slap hands that need slapping, and to enact new legislation that's needed in the order. The annual visitation, annual visitation, is done by the Abbot of Cito. Well, that's soon becoming impossible. Cito would be visited by proto-abbots. That is, who are the proto-abbots? The proto-abbots are the abbots of the first four foundations, the biggies. La Ferte, Pontigny, Morimont, Clerval. Those are the proto-abbots. They visit the mother house.


Houses help one another when they're in need. As long as an abbot stays within all these various regulations and formats and customaries and whatnot, he is absolutely free to rule his house the way he wants to rule it, as long as he doesn't deviate from the Cistercian way. Then it also gives all the procedures for, the final procedures for how we do elections and what do we do if we've got a real problem, such as an abbot who's got to be removed. So that's the Carta. That's their constitutional framework. And the nice thing about it is it's all written, articulated, approved, and it becomes, again, a guide for others, for the new orders that are going to come about. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, that's correct.


You're getting very close. The Fourth Lateran is going to end up legislating for all monastic congregations, all monastic houses. Basically, some of these big things that the Cistercians put down in writing. Some of their structures. Expansion of the order. The first half of the Cistercian century was an incredible moment of devotional monasticism and monastic expansionism embodied in the Cistercian reform. It just sort of was a time when a lot of people wanted to be monks. And even though there were a lot of reforms going on,


and the Benedictine order is humongous, this new, strict, primitive ideal hits the hearts of so many in Europe. And it just moves like wildfire. As I mentioned already, Bernard of Clairvaux became the founder of the Third Foundation. Third of the usual list, as it's given, of the proto-abbys. And his foundation, Clairvaux, found 65 more abbeys. Just to his house. Remember now, keep in the back of your mind what it takes to form an abbey.


So each of those foundations, they're sending out at least 13 monks to each one of those. And Clairvaux, they're all making foundations. This is just Clairvaux's list. This is its 65 foundations. This is during Bernard's lifetime. We're talking just 20 or 30 years that he founds his monastery, and it makes 65 foundations, all with at least 13 monks. That's just an example, a statistical example. It's incredible. You should see the maps of Cistercian Foundation. I wasn't going to make copies. I had to make about 15 copies for each country. It's incredible. Just parenthetically, he was an incredible man. There's no doubt about it. Very, very powerful. Enigmatic and charismatic figure.


One of his own students, one of his own Cistercian pupils becomes Pope Eugene III. He really starts, and this is one a lot of people will say a black day in history, when he begins the Fourth Crusade, excuse me, the Second Crusade in the year 1147. What is that? It's the Crusade against the Albigensians. Fascinating time in history, bloody and horrible what they did to those people in the mountains in France. Who were, interestingly, I did major research on the Albigensians. They were, if you trace them back, they're a group of dualists who are basically Manicheans. They're a movement that spun off from Bohemia, the Bogle mills of Bohemia, and developed a whole, sort of like a monastic, monastic arcane network of religiosity.


Take it to an extreme. Take that dualism to the black hats and the white hats to the extreme. Fascinating what they developed as their religion. Just fascinating. And a very bloody time. It took the church to wipe them off the face of the earth, basically. Usually burning them in large numbers. Wasn't one of the big things that they said they couldn't find in the Bible, that there should be a successor to Peter the Cher? I think that was one of the huge things Well, they weren't even Christian. This group isn't even Christian, so... I mean, a lot of women said that, but that wasn't the biggest thing. Their big thing was that there's an evil god in the Buddha. I mean, there's two of everything. And they're at war.


And there's so many ways that you can you can get mixed up with that evil god. That evil god is the god of flesh. The man. So all of this is evil. All of this is dark. And so you don't have sex. You don't touch flesh. And so how do they get around dying out in a generation? Well, you don't have sex You don't have sex once you take your promise, your commitment. Well, many people would only do that at the death's door in order to live their lives before that. But this whole group of dark, black-caped individuals, the ones who had taken their last move, they could never sin. Once you did that promise, if you sin, there's no way to erase it. You're damned.


There's no second chance. And so, actually, in actuality, many of them became great saints and incredibly powerful religious figures and preachers. But their religion is so strange. And I guess that's why it's so fascinating. It's also fascinating the documents we have. Their own documents, as well as documents of the various trials in the church, you know, before they burned them and whatnot. Or a study of their sacraments. If anybody wants to read the paper I did on this group, they'll be happy to get you. Just ask for it. Sin myself somewhat. He took the group that was supposed to go to the Holy Land. He funneled them into fighting those people and they beat the people over there to death. I remember I made that picture of Jericho, and it really hangs. No, it doesn't surprise me. He was very fiercely single-minded on this thing.


This is, as I understand it, the reason Robert got rid of his name, Benarach. That was Robert's first name. And then Paul. He changed it to Paul and then he changed it to Robert. I may be off. It's certainly one of the reasons why. That and probably some of the harsh things he said to some of his students. Robert just didn't want to be named after a person like that. The expansion, not just through burning, but at this time was phenomenal. One list gives as many as 742 abbots. In no time at all. Italy eventually had 88 sisters. Remember, this isn't an Italian order. This is France. Italy had 88 sisters and abbots.


Germany, or the Germanic lands at that time, had about 100. Hungary had 20. England and Wales had 76. Scotland, 11. Ireland, 43. Spain, 58 abbots. These are abbots. Portugal, 13. Scandinavia, 22 abbots. Bohemia, 13. Poland, 25. France, hundreds, exclamation point. Hundreds. Incredible, incredible phenomena. According to the most reliable information, the conversi always outnumbered the moths. The ratio was sort of 4 to 3. So if you had 12 monks, you'd have 16 on the island. 16 conversi also in the community.


They rose. In the year... I didn't write down the year, sorry. It would have to be before 1251. There were 3,000 monks. So in this year that I'm citing, there were 333 houses with 11,600 monks. So the conversi were about 14,000 at that time. In the year 1251, there were 647 abbeys with 20,000 monks. And so that would be 25,000 conversi added on to that. As the expansion increased, the quality of vocations, and this is typical, became quite... chapter forbade any more foundations to be made,


which they all promptly ignored and kept making foundations. Well, they didn't know what to do with all these people. They hadn't made foundations. The natural consequence of this was a lot of prestige, power, wealth. Sound familiar? Remember Cluny? It just took this group a little bit longer. And more and more activity in the church, and they have Cistercian cardinals and Cistercian bishops and Cistercian popes. And even though their ideal started out with absolutely no pastoral anything, a very, very primitive monastic ideal, but numbers and excitement of the huge, vast growth of phenomena always changed things. Another problem that they run into is that they accept other houses into their congregation,


into their order. Monastic houses who want to join the Cistercian and the reform movement. And they've got to put in so much economic, spiritual, and... When a person has a lot of ability to run things, what's that word? Administrative energies into these other foundations that already have a history, and now they want to be Cistercians. They've got to change. And that's going to cause a lot of problems for the Cistercians also, as if they don't already have enough problems. Also, one mistake they made at this time is they began to get so many foundations, and there were so many houses that were poor, still poor, while others were incredibly wealthy, that permission was given for incoming vocations to bring their money with them.


Once you start bringing in the monies and the revenues, and you start building up accounts and everything, the same thing happens. The ideal goes down quite naturally, the monastic ideal. Also, a lot of jealousy built up because you had rich houses and very destitute houses. Some just could barely make it. Excuse me. A lot of jealousy going on at certain times. And it would show up in these general chapter reports. That's how they knew this was going on, because they put everything in writing. It got to a point where visitations were so expensive, well, because of the distances, even if you're a delegate. I mean, there's some visitators that are on the road constantly, doing nothing but visitations, going from country to country alone.


And so, incredibly, many of them, look at all the houses, and all of these have to be visited every year. And you get to a point where you can't have, they just can't make it to the general chapter, because it costs all that they have in the bank just to send the people to the general chapter every year. They can't do it. What are you going to do when you're in Poland, and you have to get over to Seto, or Norway? It's not easy. We're not talking, hop on a SAS. It doesn't work that way. So you have some of these people, their whole lives are caught up with just traveling from meeting to meeting. And it gets ludicrous. For a Cistercian, that is. When you remember what their ideal is, I told you at the beginning, and here they do nothing but travel. They're involved in all of this, nothing but talking, talking and visitating and whatnot.


This is a list of Cistercian notables from these early years. That is, writers, who are now, besides our big four over there. You can find these on the end, on the back of any Cistercian publications listing. They always put the final pages in there. They're all there. And you can get something by all of these in the Cistercian publication series. And we have most of them in the library, if you want to take a look. I just put them there in case you want to jot any of their names down, or just for the interest of the names, or so it rings a bell later on, whatever. We really don't have to say that. We're going to finish Cistercians today. Incredible. I thought it was going to be two classes. We're going to do the growing reform tomorrow. The conversing in the last five minutes. Under the Cistercians, the Lay Brothers were really instituted as such, legalistically set up. They got documents upon documents


defining what these are and how they met, and whatnot, receiving papal approval of their documents. This really gets conversing set up legally. And this was seen as part of their reform also, giving a real monastic life to people who can't make it otherwise. You don't have the brains to do the Latin, to know Latin, to be able to chant or whatever, or who don't want to live that way, just want to work in the fields, but live a monastic life. This offers that option. And that's why they had so many going in, so many conversing. More conversing than they had firearms. It worked. And it was a real option. It wasn't just slave power. It was a real monastic life, a part of the community. A second class part. But in the beginning years, that wasn't an issue. The Lay Brothers were instituted


as such in the order in the year 1101. So, wow, we're talking the fourth year, the year that they began at Citeaux, the first Lay Brothers were taken in. And in the year 1119, that golden year for a lot of these approvals of the various written-down rules and regulations, their exhortium parvum, which deals again with this conversing business, is approved by the Pope. They're to be treated as brothers, that is conversi, and equal partakers in all the spiritual and temporal goods of the community and the communal life. But they weren't monks as such. They didn't have chapter rights. I should say, they didn't have chapter duties. And they didn't have to live a lot of the hassle that choir monks had to live. They did more work. They had more out-of-doors and the fresh air. Not that all the Cistercians didn't in the early years, but conversing had more. So if that's what you wanted, you'd be a conversus.


Because that's the way you're going to get it. So the Cistercians were conversi in the oldest sense of the term, because the Cistercians forbade the taking of children in. So they're all coming at a later age. But remember, with Peter, Damien, and Ronald, that was the original meaning of conversi. Somebody who comes at a later age is not a little kid in the school. So with the Cistercians, it's still that way, although it comes to me much more defined as a vocation of such within the church, within the monastic world. So the first rule for conversi was the usus conversorum. Exhortium parvum, later on, hones it down and elaborates. And the regula conversorum in year 1174 is the final stage of the document about how we set this up and how they fit in. That is,


who are they? Well, they're considered primarily as worker monks. And they're drawn from the laboring classes. Well, that's natural enough. At the point in the year 1188, their general chapter had to forbid the taking of anybody else into the conversi, anyone who was educated. Evidently, a lot of people who were educated wanted just to live the simple stuff to get back. By that time, they were already saying, no, no, no, we need more choir monks. They forbid people to do that. Well, it seems to me that the conversi end up living with ideal more than the choir monks, but that's within a few decades. Their prayers were shorter, more time to work. Their fasts were less rigorous, more strength to work. Their cloister was less strict,


give them a break. They're considered religious, but not monks as such. Not juridically monks. They have a different habit. They have a habit, but it's different from the choir monks, and they're subordinated to the choir monks. There's a strict separation of classes at no time at all within the order. True classes of people in the order. They have no chapter rights, no electoral rights, education and literacy forbidden. We can keep them barefoot and, what is it? They're, who are the who's their superior? For the conversi the superior is the seller. Well, that makes sense too. So, well, look here who our workers are under. Bernard, the seller


not Robert at the same time. It's a natural thing to do under the circumstances. They were heads of the granges. The conversi ran the granges, they ran the farms. That was their territory. They weren't really under anybody. They were nominally under the seller, but that was their area and their territory. And they made it work. They made the Cistercian Order work. After the 15th century the numbers of conversi decreased dramatically so that by the 18th century they were very, very, very rare. Just quite a lot. And then in some of the 19th century forms, in the early 20th century you have a rebirth of having the labor of vocation and whatnot. In the early Trappist Foundations you have a rebirth of a lot of conversi. All of that's gone now.


For a while there you had a rebirth of the Cistercian conversi. And all the orders had conversi. Well, not all of them, but most of them had these two classes. People knew the work and the other ones enjoyed it. Tomorrow we do Gregorian reform. With all the requirements of We need to vote too, huh? With all the requirements of inquirance of the... No, well, it depends what part of history you're talking about. But no, not in the beginning. You mean priests? No. Oh yeah, okay.