Cluniac Reform

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The Cluniac reform was one of the Burgundian Benedictine Cluny outgoing spiritual reform movement of the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, and then the first monastic life the Papacy recognized. The reform was triggered by the moral decline of the church in the so-called Dark Century of church history, when, after the end of the Carolingian Empire between 882 and 962, church life had sunk to a morally low point and serious grievances had developed.

The main ideas of the reform were:

  1. strict observance of the Benedictine rule
  2. utmost conscientiousness in the daily church services
  3. Deepening the piety of the individual monk
  4. Reminder of the transience of the earthly with the warning: Remember that you have to die .

In addition, there was a reform of the monastery economy and the detachment of the monasteries from the bishops' claim to rule; the monasteries were placed directly under the protection of the Pope. In the dispute between the emperor and the pope ( investiture dispute ), Cluny failed to take sides , but stood on the side of the reform popes in questions of simony and celibacy .

History of reform

Already with the first abbot Berno (919–925) a turn to old monastic ideals was begun, which was then continued by Abbot Odo (927–942). The consuetudines Cluniacenses spread quickly in the south of France and also found breeding ground in Italy. Here especially in the monasteries of St. Maria Aventinese in Rome and Montecassino . In addition to the return to Benedictine principles (in the variant of Benedict von Aniane ) and increased spirituality (including the ceremonial service and belief in miracles), the liberation from worldly dependence was quickly pursued, which in addition to the exemption from the responsible diocesan district also the rounding off of the Monastery ownership and the claiming of jurisdiction for the dominion included.

The movement emanating from Cluny coincided with a development in canon law that made use of the pseudoisidoric decretals (around 835-850), a collection of partially forged decrees, synodal resolutions and papal letters to establish a papacy that had priority in every respect Based on this, to also demand a strengthening of the bishops , but above all in relation to the corresponding secular rulers and always with a view to a strong papacy, from which the independence of the smaller bishoprics was believed to be best preserved. (Other collections in this context are the Hispania Gallica Augustodunensis , Capitula Angilramni and the collection of Benedict Levita ).

With the 11th century, especially under Abbot Odilo (994-1049), the reform took a turn in church politics. This can be traced back to the frequent presence of the exiled monks in Rome, where the monks, little restricted by secular rulers, found a Pope who, as the spiritual head of his church, was by no means free from such constraints. In particular, the election and appointment of the Pope was almost entirely in the hands of the Roman city nobility. Other non-church influences were added. The fight against these influencing factors, against simony and Nicolaitism , in turn clericalized what was once a monastic reform. Under v. a. the participation of Humbert von Silva Candida , Anselm von Lucca and Hildebrand thus influenced the Cluniac reform as monastic reform and the Gregorian reform as church reform.

Similar endeavors can be found in other places. The Lorraine reform, for example, only lacked the requirement of papal independence. The reform movement only penetrated Germany later, as there was much resistance to this in the old Benedictine monasticism (especially in the St. Gallen Abbey ). A continuation was then found in the so-called Hirsauer Reform .

See also