The Cistercians and the Aftermath of the Second Crusade

  • Brenda M. Bolton


The failure of the Second Crusade made demands upon the resilience of those who had been its spiritual leaders. A close examination of a brief entry in the Continuano Premonstratensis of Sigebert of Gembloux,1 composed before 1155 in the diocese of Lyons or Rheims, will reveal some evidence of the consequences of this concern for Bernard and for the Cistercians. The chronicler refers to councils that were held throughout the Kingdom of France. Three were proposed, but only two seem to have taken place. The assembly at Chartres on May 7, 1150 was the largest and most solemn.2 Present were King Louis VII of France, one of the military leaders just returned from the Holy Land, and a great collection of senior churchmen, most notably Suger, abbot of St. Denis, and Bernard of Clairvaux. The Cistercian pope, Eugenius III, although not present in person, appears to have dominated the proceedings with his letter, Immensum pietatis opus, dated April 25, 1150 and circulated to the whole assembly.3 Eugenius, aware of all the difficulties, counselled extreme caution and stressed that nothing should be done without the tacit support of the king of France.


Spiritual Leader Military Leader Royal Palace Cistercian Pope Great Collection 
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Copyright information

© Michael Gervers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda M. Bolton

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