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 .
- 1425 Congregation of Castile
- 1497 Congregation of St. Bernhard in Italy
- 1567 Portuguese Congregation
- 1616 Congregation of the Crown of Aragon
- 1618 Upper German Congregation
- 1623 Roman Congregation
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
Example Wettingen-Mehrerau monastery : Primary abbey is Morimond , mother monastery is Salem , daughter monasteries are currently Marienstatt , Parakeet and Hauterive
- The daughters of Marienstatt are the monasteries of Himmerod , Lichtenthal , Oberschönenfeld , Thyrnau and Waldsassen
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 .