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VII   The Gregorian Reform and the
         Foundation of Citeaux

Pope Gregory 7th (1073-1085) is the instigator of what is known as the Gregorian reform. This reform was, for the monks, a return to the simplicity of the first apostolic church, to poverty and to a rediscovery of hermetical life. These characteristics influenced the founder of the Carthusians (Saint Bruno, 1030-1101) and the founders of Citeaux (Saint Robert, Saint Alberic and Stephen Harding). Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1080 – 1153) is the most renowned Cistercian of the twelfth century. He founded 68 monasteries in Europe and wrote letters, treatises and sermons on monastic and spiritual life. During the 11th century, there was a schism between the Eastern and the Western Christian Churches. Traditions of monasticism in the Eastern Churches still exist, like the monks of Mount Athos in Greece.

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Image from Our lady of Bellefontaine Abbey,
Bégrolles en Mauges, France