In addition, generous Benedictine hospitality was shown to layman, cleric, and traveling religious alike.Cluny made an enormous impression on the royalty and nobility of the day, who vied with each other in showing muniﬁcence to the abbey and its daughter houses. Seeing themselves as the benefactors of religion and the sponsors of a movement of fervent reformation ennobled many of the ruling class. In this way, the aureole of Cluny’s sanctity extended beyond its cloister at a time when the Christianization of Europe was being completed.Cluny’s suﬀragan monasteries, numbering as many as 1,200, were all over Europe by the late 1200s, when Cluniac piety permeated society on a grand scale. Priors of these monasteries assisted civil and ecclesiastical rulers in their various nations (including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Scotland, Poland, and Hungary), where many of them were appointed as bishops. In England, they inspired Saint Dunstan in his eﬀort at rebuilding monasticism where it had been so recently ravaged by the Viking invasions (the Norsemen had, among their vices, the nasty habit of looting monasteries). Te ﬁrst Bishop of Cracow, Blessed Aaron, was a monk of Cluny and a student of Saint Odilo, the ﬁfth abbot of Cluny. When feudalism was giving rise to chivalry (and far too many wars), the Cluniac reform positively inﬂuenced the way war was prosecuted. In 1027, Saint Odilo devised the “ruce of God,” whereby feudal lords pledged themselves to refrain from armed conﬂict on Friday to Sunday. Te “Peace of God,” which sought to protect sacred places and non-combatants from harm, was also a development of Cluny. Tese measures helped to calm the furor of war.Tis same Abbot Odilo, who would sell monastery property to feed the poor in time of famine, instituted the observance of All Souls Day on November 2 in all the monasteries of Cluny. From those houses it spread to other Benedictine foundations and ﬁnally to the Universal Calendar of the Latin Church. Another pious and brilliant monk of Cluny, the son of a uscan craftsman, was one Hildebrand. He spent time as a preacher at the court of Germany’s Henry III. Later, Pope Gregory VI brought him to Rome as his advisor. Returning to Cluny, he inﬂuenced the papacy in another important way. Henry III took the liberty, customary in this age of corruption, of electing as pope his own cousin, Bruno, Bishop of oul. Lay investiture was alive and well. Providentially, Bruno stopped oﬀ at Cluny on his way to Rome for his coronation. Hildebrand reproached him for illicitly accepting the papacy from the hands of a layman. Bruno humbly accepted the rebuke, took oﬀ the papal insignia, and took Hildebrand with him to Rome, where he was licitly elected Supreme Pontiﬀ and named the intrepid Cluniac who stung his conscience as his advisor. As Leo IX —
Leo IX (1049-1054) — Bruno worked to reform many of the abuses of the day with Hildebrand at his side. Leo’s six successors had the blessing of the Cluniac’s sage counsel, too. Finally, at the death of Alexander II, Hildebrand was elected to the Supreme Pontiﬁcate, taking the name Gregory VII (1073-1085).Readers are invited to consult Sister Catherine’s wonderful volume,
Our Glorious Popes
, to read the story of Pope Saint Gregory VII, after whom the Gregorian Reform is named. He engaged in an epic battle with that proud and trouble-making Hohenstaufen, Emperor Henry IV. Saint Gregory died in exile, but his eyes dimmed just before the dawn, for though his battle with Henry drove him to the grave, the cause of the freedom and exaltation of the Church against meddlesome civil leaders had been won.Te Gregorian reform of the papacy was one of the direct results of the Cluniac Reform of monasticism. Besides putting great men on the Chair of Peter (Saint Gregory VII, Blessed Urban II, Paschal II, and Blessed Urban V), the monks were advisors to popes, too — as we saw in the case of Hildebrand. Saint Hugh of Cluny was advisor to some nine successive popes. Known as “Hugh the Great,” he was one of the most inﬂuential ﬁgures of medieval society. Cluny’s grand third abbatial church, mentioned earlier, was built while Saint Hugh the Great was abbot.In 1086, Gregory VII’s second successor was raised to the Supreme Pontiﬁcate, taking the name Urban II. He, too, had been a monk of Cluny, and, as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, was an avid supporter of the Gregorian Reform. He had also been Prior of Cluny under Abbot Hugh the Great. Blessed Urban II is best known to history as the Pope who preached the First Crusade at Clermont in 1095.
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Pope Saint Leo IX