Bernard of Cluny  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Bernard of Cluny (or of Morlaix) was a Benedictine monk of the first half of the twelfth century, poet, satirist, and hymn-writer, author of the famous verses On Contempt for the World.


His parentage, native land, and education are hidden in obscurity. He is frequently called Morlanensis, which title most writers have interpreted to mean that he was a native of Morlaix in Brittany, though some credit him to Murlas near Puy in Béarn. A writer in the "Journal of Theological Studies" (1907), VIII, 354-359 contends that he belonged to the family of the Seigneurs of Montpellier in Languedoc, and was born at Murles, a possession of that distinguished family; also that he was at first a monk of St. Sauveur d'Aniane, whence he entered Cluny under Abbot Pons (1109-1122). It is certain that he was a monk at Cluny in the time of Peter the Venerable (1122-1156), for his famous poem is dedicated to that abbot. It may have been written about 1140. He left some sermons and is said by some to be the author of certain monastic regulations known as the Consuetudines Cluniacenses,( also of a dialogue (Colloquium) on the Trinity) yet recent dating of said customary proves otherwise.

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