Filiation (Cistercians)

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The filiation ( Latin filia , daughter) was an essential feature of the tight centralized management structure of the Cistercian order . Subsidiary monasteries remained connected to their mother monastery and could in turn become the starting point for the establishment of branches. This resulted in many important filiation series over the centuries, which can be traced back to their origins in Cîteaux . The principle was laid down in the Carta Caritatis from the 12th century.

The first four branch monasteries of the Cîteaux Abbey - and thus of the Cistercian order in general - were the four primary abbeys : La Ferté (1113), Pontigny (1114), Morimond and Clairvaux (both 1115).

Due to the wide geographical spread of the order and the associated difficulty of central leadership, national congregations were founded as early as the late Middle Ages .

The structure based on filiation was finally dissolved by the French Revolution with the destruction of the ancestral monasteries in France, as well as the secularization in Europe of the 19th century. Remnants have been preserved in Austria alone.

Today the Cistercian Order of General Observance consists of various congregations, e.g. B. the Mehrerau Congregation , at the head of which is an elected Abbot President . At the head of the overall order is the Abbot General, elected by the General Chapter and based in Rome on the Aventine . With the numerically stronger Cistercians of stricter observance ( Trappists ) the filiation principle has been preserved. At its head there is an also elected Abbot General based in Rome, who still bears the title of Archabbot of Cîteaux .

Example of newer filiations

Other medals

Following the example of the Cistercians, other orders also adopted this principle, especially the Premonstratensian order founded by Norbert von Xanten in 1120 , but also the Cluniac Benedictines .

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