chapter  5
The Papal-Frankish Alliance
Pages 13

Pope Urban II, a former grand prior at the Abbey of Cluny, returned to that monastery to consecrate the main altar of the new church being built there, the largest church in Christendom. The contemporary abbot of Cluny, Hugh the Great was second only to the pope in prestige and had considerably greater economic resources. In the impressive church at Cluny, long and elaborate liturgical services in magnificent surroundings were performed at regular intervals, both night and day. Cluny was at the height of its influence, the very model of how a fervent Benedictine monastic life should be carried out. The Cistercians sought to strip away from Benedictine monasticism the additions made since the Carolingian period, and to live the monastic life according to the letter of St Benedict's Rule. In 1200, the Benedictines still existed, enriched by the Cistercian interpretation of the Rule, but there was a wide variety of other choices.