Odilon DE CLUNY

Family tree of Odilon DE CLUNY

Priest, nun, rabbi, imam...

FrenchBorn Odilon DE MERCOEUR

Fifth Benedictine Abbot of Cluny

Born on 963 in Mercoeur, France , France

Died on December 31, 1048 in Souvigny, France

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Odilo was descended from the nobility of Auvergne. He early became a cleric in the seminary of St. Julien in Brioude. In 991 he entered Cluny and before the end of his year of probation was made coadjutor to Abbot Mayeul.



Shortly before the latter's death (994) Odilo was made abbot and received Holy orders. The rapid development of the monastery under him was due chiefly to his gentleness and charity, his activity and talent for organizing. He was a man of prayer and penance, zealous for the observance of the Divine Office, and the monastic spirit. He encouraged learning in his monasteries, and had the monk Radolphus Glaber write a history of the time. He erected a magnificent monastery building, and furthered the reform of the Benedictine monasteries. Under Alfonso VI it spread into Spain. The rule of St. Benedict was substituted in Cluny for the domestic rule of Isidore. By bringing the reformed or newly founded monasteries of Spain into permanent dependence on the mother-house, Odilo prepared the way for the union of monasteries, which Hugo established for maintaining order and discipline. The number of monasteries increased from thirty-seven to sixty-five, of which five were newly established and twenty-three had followed the reform movement. Some of the monasteries reformed by Cluny, reformed abbey; thus the Abbey of St. Vannes in Lorraine reformed many on the Franco-German borderland.

...   Odilo was descended from the nobility of Auvergne. He early became a cleric in the seminary of St. Julien in Brioude. In 991 he entered Cluny and before the end of his year of probation was made coadjutor to Abbot Mayeul.



Shortly before the latter's death (994) Odilo was made abbot and received Holy orders. The rapid development of the monastery under him was due chiefly to his gentleness and charity, his activity and talent for organizing. He was a man of prayer and penance, zealous for the observance of the Divine Office, and the monastic spirit. He encouraged learning in his monasteries, and had the monk Radolphus Glaber write a history of the time. He erected a magnificent monastery building, and furthered the reform of the Benedictine monasteries. Under Alfonso VI it spread into Spain. The rule of St. Benedict was substituted in Cluny for the domestic rule of Isidore. By bringing the reformed or newly founded monasteries of Spain into permanent dependence on the mother-house, Odilo prepared the way for the union of monasteries, which Hugo established for maintaining order and discipline. The number of monasteries increased from thirty-seven to sixty-five, of which five were newly established and twenty-three had followed the reform movement. Some of the monasteries reformed by Cluny, reformed abbey; thus the Abbey of St. Vannes in Lorraine reformed many on the Franco-German borderland.



On account of his services in the reform Odilo was called by Fulbert of Chartres the "Archangel of the Monks", and through his relations with the popes, rulers, and prominent bishops of the time Cluny monasticism was promoted. He journeyed nine times to Italy and took part in several synods there. Pope John XIX and Benedict IX both offered him the Archbishopric of Lyon but he declined. From 998 he gained influence with the Emperor Otto III. He was on terms of intimacy with Emperor Henry II when the latter, on political grounds, sought to impair the spiritual independence of the German monasteries. For Germany the Cluny policy had no permanent success, as the monks there were more inclined to individualism. Between 1027 and 1046 the relations between the Cluniac monks and the emperor remained unchanged. In 1046 Odilo was present at the coronation of Henry III in Rome. King Robert II of France allied himself with the Reform party.



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