CISTERCIANS. An order of monks founded Citeaux (109S) (Cistercium; whence the name), near Dijon, in Burgundy, by St. Robert. Robert became first a Benedictine monk. But he wished to introduce a stricter observance of the Benedictine rule than that which he found to prevail. In 1075 he retired to the forest of Molesme, near Chatillon, and founded a small colony of hermits there. But again he became dissatisfied with the way in which the rule was observed. He retired to Haur, a forest in the neighbourhood. only to be re called by the Bishop of the diocese. In 109S, however. with the permission of the papal legate, Archbishop Hughes of Lyons, he removed to Citeaux (Cistercium), near Dijon. Here be formed a community of hermits. who undertook to observe strictly the rules of St. Beue diet (see BENEDICTINES). Then a monastery was built, of which Robert became Abbot. But again he was recalled, and was obliged to return to Molesme, where in 110S he died. The successor of Robert at Citeaux. Alberic, succeeded in 1100 in having the monastery placed under the direct authority of the Pope. He also drew up the Statute Monachorum Cistertiensium, which adopted the strict observance of the rule of St. Benedict. The habit of the order was changed from grey to white (In the choir, but black in the streets). In the time of Alberic's successor, the Englishman Stephen Harding (t 1134), thirteen new monastries were founded. In 1113 Bernard, with a number of companions, was admitted into the Monastery of Citeaux. Two years later it became necessary to found four new monasteries, and Bernard was sent to found one of them at Clairvaux (whence his designation St. Bernard of Clairvaux).
Bernard gave a great impetus to the movement. "Led by St. Bernard, and following the Pope, the order occu pied one of the very first places in the Christian world. It crushed the heretics, Abelard, Arnold of Brescia, the Cathari, etc.; it preached the second crusade; it called into life the military orders of the Templars, of Cala trava, Alcantara, Montesa, Avis, and Christ. In 1143 the kingdom of Portugal declared itself a fief of the Abbey of Clairvaux; and in 157S the abbey actually tried to make good its claims " (Schaff-Herzog). After St. Bernard the members of the order are sometimes called Bernardines. The Cistercians, under the strict observ ance of the rule of St. Benedict, abstained from meat, fish, eggs and grease, and usually from milk. They fasted from September 14th to Easter. But after the middle of the thirteenth century the discipline of the order began to be relaxed, and the order itself began to decline. In 1475, by a brief of Pope Sixtus IV., the monks of Citeaux were allowed the use of meat. In 1485, by order of the general chapter, it was allowed in all convents on three days in the week. There were protests against this which in course of time took the form of new congregations (see FEUILLANTS, TRAP PISTS). There were at one time eighteen hundred Cistercian abbeys. In England at the time of the dis solution, there were about one hundred houses for monks or nuns. See Schaff-Herzog; Benham; the Oath. Diet.: Brockhaus.