Cluny: In Search of God's Lost Empire

Edwin Mullins, Author . BlueBridge $24.95 (245p) ISBN 978-1-933346-00-7

During the Middle Ages, the abbey at Cluny, in southern France, towered over every other church in Christendom, both physically and spiritually. An architectural marvel, the abbey also served as the headquarters for a steadily growing monastic movement directed by the Rule of Benedict of Nursia. By the end of the 12th century, however, the abbey's fortunes had begun to decline, thanks to external challenges to the authority of the church and internal conflicts about Cluny's mismanagement of financial resources. By turns prosaic and lively, this loving paean to Cluny by Mullins, a former art correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, traces the abbey's history from its inception in 910 to its ultimate destruction in the late 18th century. In particular, Mullins provides an intimate portrait of Hugh the Great, whose administrative and political skills as well as his theological sensibilities fostered the dramatic rise of Cluny. At his death, close to 1,500 Cluniac monasteries and 10,000 monks could be found scattered throughout England, France, Spain and Germany. During Hugh's tenure, Cluny provided money and spiritual support for the First Crusade. By the time Peter the Venerable succeeded Hugh, the abbey had begun its decline because of divisiveness among the monks and financial losses. Mullins's affection and admiration for Cluny provide a glimpse into a mostly forgotten medieval abbey. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/31/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 245 pages - 978-1-933346-17-5
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