Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.

The Rule of Saint Benedict, Prologue


saint robert citeaux

VIIIe centenaire de l'ordre cistercien - 1898

Founded in 1098 by Robert of Molesme, the Abbey of Cîteaux, birthplace of the Cistercian Order, is located in the valley of the Saône, in the heart of Burgundy. Characterized by great poverty at its beginning, the community took flight thanks to the arrival of Saint Bernard and his companions in the spring of 1113.

Two years later, Bernard, at the head of 12 monks, was sent to found Clairvaux. In the following 30 years, the abbot would see his community grow to nearly 500 brothers. By means of his writings and their influence, Saint Bernard would be the source of a veritable school of spirituality with which we continue to be nourished. At the end of the 12th century, the Order had more than 500 monasteries. Interrupted for 100 years by the Revolution, monastic life was re-established at Cîteaux in 1898.  Today, a community of 35 brothers (of which 4 left in 2009 to “found” a community in Norway) give themselves to prayer and to work, living under the Rule of Saint Benedict in order to learn to love.



Icon of the three founders of Cîteaux: Robert, Alberic, and Stephen Harding, the Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and the earth, patroness of Cistercian monasteries.
Abbey of Maria Frieden

The four great periods of Cîteaux’s history:

- Foundation and expansion 11th – 13th c.
- Faithfulness and innovation 14th – 17th c.
- In the upheaval: ridicule and persecution 18th – 19th c.
- Re-foundation 20th – 21st c.

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