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Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay (World HEritage)

The Abbey of Fontenay is a former Cistercian abbey located in the commune of Marmagne, near Montbard, in the département of Côte-d'Or in France. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, and built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Of the original complex comprising church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium, refectory, dovecote and forge, all remain intact except the refectory and are well maintained. The Abbey of Fontenay, along with other Cistercian abbeys, forms a connecting link between Romanesque and Gothic architectures.

History
Foundation of the order

In the late 11th century during the heyday of the great church of Cluny III (a magnificent Benedictine monastery in Cluny, France), although Cluny had numerous followers, Saint Robert of Molesme, the subsequent founder of Cîteaux Abbey,[1] led a strong reaction against it. Saint Robert thought that Cluny was against the actual Rule of Saint Benedict: “to work is to pray”. As a result, Saint Robert, along with a group of monks who shared this belief, detached from Cluny.
Saint Robert established the Order of Cistercians in Citeaux, France. The new order strictly observed the Rule of Saint Benedict. As part of this rule, monks had to be poor and live a simple life. In order not to be distracted from the religious life, Cistercians built self-sufficient monasteries in isolated areas and refused to use servants. Cistercian monasteries were independent. They differed from Cluny in that all houses were under the direct control of the abbot, and each Cistercian monastery needed to take care of its own. Each of them was most likely an independent individual society.
Bernard of Clairvaux, an abbot and the primary builder of the reformed Cistercian order, shared the same faith with Saint Robert of Molesme. However, Bernard felt that Cîteaux Abbey was not austere enough and did not completely reflect the Rule of Saint Benedict. Thus, in 1118 he founded the Abbey of Fontenay in a Burgundy valley with strictly implemented austerity.

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Additional Photos by Csaba Witz (csabagaba) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 591 W: 172 N: 1399] (6554)
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