Definition of Cistercian in English:



  • A monk or nun of an order founded in 1098 as a stricter branch of the Benedictines. The monks are now divided into two observances, the strict observance, whose adherents are known popularly as Trappists, and the common observance, which has certain relaxations.

    • ‘Scholarship and high culture were the preserve of monastic communities like Ripoll, Gerona, and Tarragona in the north, which were receptive to the influence of French orders such as the Benedictines and Cistercians.’
    • ‘From Provence the Cistercians branched out into Catalonia in Spain and into Italy.’
    • ‘May we heed their call, and in so doing discover that in being better Cistercians we shall become better Anglicans.’
    • ‘The Abbe de Rance, a reformer of the Cistercians, was also a regular duelist before his move to La Trappe.’
    • ‘Monk and mystic, monastic theologian and papal counselor, hagiographer and polemicist, a renowned preacher in the cloister and beyond it, Bernard was the single most important impetus for the spread of the Cistercians.’
    • ‘Although austerity and asceticism were the aims of the order, in contrast to the luxury and ostentation of the Benedictines, the Cistercians, often through donations, became rich and important landowners.’
    • ‘Benedictines, Cistercians, Tironesians, Praemonstratensians were all out to colonize, and Scotland showed willing.’
    • ‘Later, from about 1130, the Cistercians - the ‘white monks' - were also introduced into England.’
    • ‘After visions like that described below, she became a nun, moving eventually to the stricter Cistercians.’
    • ‘At one end of the spectrum some communities, often developed from groups of hermits, scarcely differed, if at all, in their asceticism from new orders of reformed monks, such as the Cistercians.’
    • ‘In this account, we find on one hand the austere spirituality of the enclosed Cistercians rooted in credal Christianity and strict obedience to their Rule.’
    • ‘Both these books present the spirituality of the Benedictine monastic tradition, for both Benedictines and Cistercians live according to that same Rule.’
    • ‘The Cistercians, or white monks, had some 76 houses in England and Wales, often built in remote areas, and the remains of Tintern, Rievaulx, and Fountains are among the most beautiful in the country.’
    • ‘Until the Carthusians and Cistercians promulgated separate rules soon after 1100, there existed except in Ireland no other Western monastic organisation that might resent apparent deference paid to St Benedict.’
    • ‘The Cistercians were the cutting edge of medieval economic growth.’
    • ‘The Cistercian Order follows the reformed Benedictine Rule; Cistercians of the Strict Observance form the largest contemplative order.’
    • ‘The Cistercians had already received sample barrels, ordered specially from beer-making Trappist monks in Belgium.’
    • ‘One of the earliest orders was that of the Benedictines, established by St Benedict towards the end of the 5th century ad, followed later by the Cluniacs in the 10th century, and the Carthusians and the Cistercians in the 11th century.’
    • ‘Orders of monks and nuns multiplied over the years: Benedictines, Dominicans, Cistercians, Augustinians, Carmelites and others.’
    • ‘The reforming Cistercians or ‘white monks’ embraced the Rule of Saint Benedict in the eleventh century and added manual labor to the regular daily requirements.’


  • Relating to the Cistercians.

    ‘a Cistercian abbey’
    • ‘One of the primary causes of the great revival of European commerce in the twelfth century was the rise of Cistercian monasteries.’
    • ‘The networks spanned all types of religious organizations, from cloistered Cistercian nuns, to Dominican nurses and teachers, and finally the beguines, religious women living outside of orders.’
    • ‘It is not, however, merely a coffee-table book full of breathtaking photographs, but a comprehensive guide to every aspect of the early development of Cistercian life.’
    • ‘People are invited to a monastic weekend at St. Joseph's Abbey, Roscrea to experience at first hand what Cistercian life is like.’
    • ‘The fabric and landscape of the 12 th century abbey, one of the best examples of early Cistercian architecture, is being restored thanks to a grant of more than £3m from Heritage Lottery Fund money.’
    • ‘This ancient Cistercian building, one of three in the Galloway area, was founded in 1273.’
    • ‘This building was originally the gatehouse for Kirkstall Abbey, an important Cistercian monastery.’
    • ‘A more inventive response to illustrating a text is found in the historiated initials of an early twelfth-century Cistercian manuscript of Pope Gregory the Great's Moralia in Job, already discussed above.’
    • ‘By the end of our period there were about thirty-five Cistercian abbeys in Ireland, eleven in both Wales and Scotland, and about sixty in England, including Savigniac houses, which the larger order absorbed in 1148.’
    • ‘But far from consolidating the structure of the 13 th century Cistercian masterpiece, it hastened the deterioration of the stonework.’
    • ‘In taking up the Cistercian rule Merton assumes a way of life that, without equivocation, stands over against that of his former world.’
    • ‘He goes on to offer selected passages from Cistercian writings for reflection.’
    • ‘Visitors will be able to explore its three floors and discover how Cistercian monks from the Abbey used the mill for flour from the mid 12 th century with life-size reconstructed mill machinery.’
    • ‘In accordance with Cistercian principles, the spaces of the new abbey are arranged around a cloister with a church as the focal point and heart of the project.’
    • ‘The galleries are reminiscent of Cistercian vaults in their awesome simplicity.’
    • ‘They are the most complete remains of a Cistercian abbey in Britain.’
    • ‘She divides her selections into twelve brief chapters beginning with considerations of Cistercian anthropology and ending with the ‘perfection of love.’’
    • ‘It is thought that she died at Carraigahowley Castle about 1603 and is buried in the ruins of the Cistercian abbey on Clare Island.’
    • ‘Through painstaking fieldwork the authors also discovered a ‘softer’ side to the normally austere Cistercian brotherhood, who had the Abbey's refectory walls painted a soothing pink colour.’
    • ‘That a Benedictine, even a cloistered one, would pen a story about Cistercian life seems inherently risky.’


From French cistercien, from Cistercium, the Latin name of Cîteaux near Dijon in France, where the order was founded.