Cluny

/klooh"nee/; Fr. /klyuu nee"/, n.
a town in E France, N of Lyons: ruins of a Benedictine abbey. 4000.

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Monastery founded in 910 by William the Pious, duke of Aquitaine.

Established as a pious donation for the cure of the souls of the duke and his wife and family, the monastery at Cluny came to offer a more austere reading of the Benedictine Rule. It was dedicated to the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and in practice it came under the protection of the pope. William also established the independence of the monastery from all temporal rulers, religious or secular, and allowed the monks to elect the abbot. These liberties enabled the community to develop its emphasis on the liturgy and prayers for the dead, which inspired a reputation for holiness and attracted numerous benefactors. Cluniac monks were sent to reform monasteries throughout Europe and created a great web of related communities. Cluny's influence on the church in the 11th–12th century has been widely recognized, and its abbots were greatly esteemed. Its predominance was eroded by the rise of the Cistercian order, and in the later Middle Ages the monastery declined. It was suppressed during the French Revolution and closed in 1790. Its Romanesque Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul (largely demolished in the 19th century) was the world's largest church until the erection of Saint Peter's Basilica.

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France
      town, east central France, Saône-et-Loire département, Bourgogne region, northwest of Mâcon. It owed its early importance to its celebrated Benedictine abbey, founded in 910 by Duke William the Pious of Aquitaine. The newly founded order introduced reform in a period of general monastic laxity, returning to a strict observance of the Benedictine Rule. The abbey, subject to no authority but that of the pope, developed a centralization previously unknown in the Benedictine order, and all Cluniac houses, called priories, remained subject to the mother abbey. The surrounding town of Cluny prospered from the prominence of the abbey and received a communal charter in 1090 from the abbot St. Hugh. Both town and abbey suffered during the religious wars of the 16th century, and the abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and closed in 1790.

      The Romanesque Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, built principally between 1088 and 1130, was the largest church in the world until the erection of St. Peter's in Rome. Cluny's basilica was in great part demolished in the early 19th century, but the ruins of the main southern transept, dominated by a great belfry tower, testify to its former glory. The economy of the modern town is based on the servicing of Cluny's agricultural hinterland: there is a national stud farm, a livestock market, and woodworking industries. Pop. (1990) 4,724.

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Universalium. 2010.

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