What did the Observant reforms mean in the context of the Cistercian Order?

Emilia Jamroziak, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (E.M.Jamroziak@leeds.ac.uk)

In the history and historiography of the Observant reform Cistercian order occupies rather peculiar place. Its emergence in the 12th century as the first religious order was intrinsically connected with the concept of reform. The adherence to the observance – in the sense of liturgical practices and internal life of the community – were the core concern of the General Chapter and frequent subject of discussions. The explicit reform programmes – both these initiated within and outwith the order from the second half of the 13th century exhibit elements of Observant reforms known from other institutional context. What is more significant were features of Observant practices that were employed by the Cistercians in different ways. Whilst there was also a significant difference between males and female Cistercian experience of Observance,  it is the character of these fragments that I will specifically focus on in my presentation.

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