Richard of Verdun (970–1046) was the abbot of the influential northeastern French Monastery of St. Vanne from 1004 to 1046. Richard entered the monastery of St. Vanne as a young man, and upon his arrival he was shocked and dismayed by the relatively poor state of the monastery. So great were his feelings that he had attempted to be transferred from St. Vanne, but was eventually talked out of it by Odilo of Cluny.
Saint Odilo of Cluny was the fifth Benedictine Abbot of Cluny, holding the post for around 54 years. During his tenure Cluny became the most important monastery in western Europe. Odilo actively worked to reform the monastic practices not only at Cluny, but at other Benedictine houses. He also promoted the Truce of God whereby military hostilities were temporarily suspended at certain times for ostensibly religious reasons. Odilo encouraged the formal practice of personal consecration to Mary. He established All Souls' Day in Cluny and its monasteries as the annual commemoration to pray for all the faithful departed. The practice was soon adopted throughout the whole Western church.
Richard succeeded Fergenius as abbot of St. Vanne in 1004. Due to his intimate connections with the local nobility, notably Gerard of Florennes, Bishop of Cambrai and Poppo of Stavelot, Richard was able to transform the simple monastery into a truly monumental repository of a variety of relics. His network of connections and contributors even included William the Conqueror and Robert II, Duke of Normandy. Modeling St. Vanne after Cluny Abbey, Richard undertook a number of building projects which some felt were overeager at best and needlessly wasteful and extravagant at worst. Peter Damian commented "...he had expended almost all his efforts constructing useless buildings and had wasted much of the Church's resources in such frivolities".
Gerard of Florennes, bishop of Cambrai as Gerard I, had formerly been chaplain to Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and helpful to the latter in his political negotiations with Robert the Pious, King of France. In 1024 Gerard called a synod in Arras to confront a purported heresy fomented by the Gundulfian heretics, who denied the efficacy of the Eucharist. The records of this synod, the Acta Synodi Atrebatensis, preserve a summary of orthodox Christian doctrine of the early eleventh century, as well contemporary peace-making practices. According to this text's author, the heretics were convinced by Gerard's explanation of orthodoxy, renounced their heresy, and were reconciled with the church.
William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son.
Robert Curthose, sometimes called Robert II, succeeded his father, William the Conqueror as Duke of Normandy in 1087 and reigned until 1106. Robert was also an unsuccessful claimant to the throne of the Kingdom of England. The epithet "Curthose" had its origins in the Norman French word courtheuse "short stockings" and was apparently derived from a nickname given to Robert by his father; the chroniclers William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis reported that William the Conqueror had derisively called Robert brevis-ocrea.
Despite his critics, Richard was generally well-regarded and considered to be a man knowledgeable of "...corporate religious ideals and the needs of a whole community". Like many of his Benedictine contemporaries, Richard viewed the cult of saints to be the best means of transmitting the Christian ideal to a nominally Christian populace. In fact, his most extravagant construction was built especially to house the bones of the monastery's many patron saints and former bishops. In 1027, he carried out his own pilgrimage to Jerusalem (at the head of a large group of pilgrims), further demonstrating his interest in the cult of saints and relics.
Many of Richard's reliquary acquisitions during his tenure as abbot of St. Vanne seem to be highly suspect; at times even illegal. According to Patrick Geary, Richard "...saw nothing contradictory or immoral about his theft or falsification of important relics". Instead, the overall spiritual power and protection that the relics of saints could offer outweighed any misgivings about the "rightness" of theft or falsification. In Richard's viewpoint, if the relic had not have chosen him to acquire it, it would have interceded on behalf of its original possessors.
In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shamanism, and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", and a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine that houses one or more religious relics.
Odo of Cluny was the second abbot of Cluny. He enacted various reforms in the Cluniac system of France and Italy. He is venerated as a saint by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. His feast day is 18 November.
June 13 - Eastern Orthodox Church calendar - June 15
June 21 - Eastern Orthodox Church calendar - June 23
Saint Maurus, O.S.B., was the first disciple of Saint Benedict of Nursia (512–584). He is mentioned in Saint Gregory the Great's biography of the latter as the first oblate; offered to the monastery by his noble Roman parents as a young boy to be brought up in the monastic life.
August 18 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - August 20
October 4 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - October 6
Hirsau Abbey, formerly known as Hirschau Abbey, was once one of the most important Benedictine abbeys of Germany. It is located in the Hirsau borough of Calw on the northern slopes of the Black Forest mountain range, in the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg. In the 11th and 12th century, the monastery was a centre of the Cluniac Reforms, implemented as "Hirsau Reforms" in the German lands. The complex was devastated during the War of the Palatine Succession in 1692 and not rebuilt.
Christianity in Medieval Scotland includes all aspects of Christianity in the modern borders of Scotland in the Middle Ages. Christianity was probably introduced to what is now Lowland Scotland by Roman soldiers stationed in the north of the province of Britannia. After the collapse of Roman authority in the fifth century, Christianity is presumed to have survived among the British enclaves in the south of what is now Scotland, but retreated as the pagan Anglo-Saxons advanced. Scotland was largely converted by Irish missions associated with figures such as St Columba, from the fifth to the seventh centuries. These missions founded monastic institutions and collegiate churches that served large areas. Scholars have identified a distinctive form of Celtic Christianity, in which abbots were more significant than bishops, attitudes to clerical celibacy were more relaxed and there were significant differences in practice with Roman Christianity, particularly the form of tonsure and the method of calculating Easter, although most of these issues had been resolved by the mid-seventh century. After the reconversion of Scandinavian Scotland in the tenth century, Christianity under papal authority was the dominant religion of the kingdom.
Fleury Abbey (Floriacum) in Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, Loiret, France, founded about 640, is one of the most celebrated Benedictine monasteries of Western Europe, which possesses the relics of St. Benedict of Nursia. Its site on the banks of the Loire has always made it easily accessible from Orléans, a center of culture unbroken since Roman times. Today the abbey has over forty monks and is headed by the abbot Etienne Ricaud.
Gorze Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Gorze in the present arrondissement of Metz, near Metz in Lorraine. It was prominent as the source of a monastic reform movement in the 930s.
Saint Eugenia was an early Christian Roman martyr whose feast day is celebrated on December 25 in the Roman Catholic Church, on December 24 in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and on January 23 in the Armenian Apostolic Church. She is included in the Golden Legend.
Saint Majolus of Cluny was an abbot of Cluny.
Saint Berno of Cluny or Berno of Baume was the first abbot of Cluny from its foundation in 909 until he died in 927. He began the tradition of the Cluniac reforms which his successors spread across Europe.
The Abbey of St. Evre, Toul was a Benedictine, later Cluniac, monastery in Toul, France. Established in or just before 507, it was the oldest monastery in Lorraine and of great significance in the monastic and religious reforms in the Rhine and Moselle region of the 10th and 11th centuries.
Saint Poppo was a knight of noble descent who turned to a monastic life after experiencing a spiritual conversion. He became one of the best known abbots of Stavelot and was one of the first recorded Flemish pilgrims to the Holy Land. Liturgically, he is commemorated on the 25th of January.
Redon Abbey, or Abbey of Saint-Sauveur, Redon, in Redon in the present Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, France, is a former Benedictine abbey founded in 832 by Saint Conwoïon, at the point where the Oust flows into the Vilaine, on the border between Neustria and Brittany.
Saint Gibrian was an Irish saint associated with Reims and the Marne region.
Hugh of Anzy le Duc OSB was a French Benedictine monk, who had a significant influence on monastic reform in the 9th and 10th centuries. He is also known by the name of Hugh of Autun. His birthdate is unknown. He was a native of Poitiers in France. He died in the year 930. He was a friend of Berno of Cluny, the first abbot of the Benedictine monastery at Cluny. His feastday is on April 20.