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Benedictine Offshoots

Cluniac monasteries meanwhile increased so rapidly that in the twelfth century they numbered three hundred and fourteen, and were to be found in nearly every country of Europe. Always a separate and independent organization, Cluny, however, was never anything but a part of the Benedictine Institute. It was this idea of a separate living entity in the whole Benedictine body that gave rise to the various offshoots or "Orders" which took St. Benedict as their founder and his Rule as the basis of their life.

The chief of these Orders in the eleventh and twelfth, centuries were the Camaldolese, Vallumbrosians, the Order of Fontevrault, and the Cistercians, while in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries arose the Silvestrines, Celestines and Olivetans. By far the most important of these Orders was the Cistercian, founded at Citeaux in 1298 by St. Robert of Molesme. All these bodies have a history of their own that, though strictly Benedictine in its character, is sufficiently individual for each to claim a separate treatise and only passing reference here.

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