Odo from Cluny

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Odo von Cluny (* around 878 at Le Mans ; † November 18, 942 in Tours ) was the second abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny and initiated the Cluniac reform of the monasteries. He was canonized in 1407 .

Church historical circumstances

Warlike raids by the Saracens in the south and raids by the Vikings in northern Europe did not leave church institutions unscathed. Decades of want and need led to a spiritual low in the monasteries - their secularization threatened. The Cluniac movement, which influenced all of Europe, had a strong impact on politics: many popes and bishops spread the reform idea based on Odo von Cluny, which was to play an important role in the burgeoning conflict between papal and imperial power until the investiture controversy.


Odo was initially a squire at the court of Wilhelm of Aquitaine . After joining the Benedictine order in 909, he studied in Tours and Paris. He was in the Benedictine monastery Baume-les-Messieurs the priests ordained . In 925 he was appointed third abbot of the Aurillac monastery , but had the post filled by his coadjutor and successor Arnulf.

After the death of the first abbot Berno in 927, Odo took over the sole management of the Cluny monastery, which was built in 910 and until then controlled by Baume. He ensured the strict observance of the rules of the order, introduced strict discipline, the requirement of silence and the strictest asceticism. Against resistance from monastic dignitaries, but with the approval of the nobles and the Holy See , Odo managed to place numerous monasteries under Cluny. Thus the influence of the reform ideas grew.

In addition to his religious duties, Odo took a liking to music; he composed chorales and wrote music-theoretical writings, including the Dialogus de musica , in which he introduced the tone letters that are used today as the names of the tones of the diatonic tone system of Euclid , which he knew through Boethius .

Remembrance day

Name day of the saint is November 18th. Odo is the patron saint of musicians. He is called upon in prayer for rain and against drought.


Odo is represented as an abbot with a book serving poor people.


  • Anne-Marie Bultot-Verleysen (Ed.): Vita sancti Geraldi Auriliacensis - Vita prolixior prima. Series: Subsidia Hagiographica No. 89, Édition critique, traduction française, introduction et commentaires; Société des Bollandistes, Bruxelles 1989, ISBN 2-87365-023-0 .
  • Dialogus de musica. In: Gerbert Scriptores. I, pp. 251-264.


Web links

predecessor Office successor
Berno von Baume Abbot of Cluny