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Cistercian Order
Coat of arms of the Cistercians
Abbreviation OCist or SOCist
Motto Cistercium mater nostra
Cistercium (Cîteaux) is our mother
Formation 1098 in present-day France
Type Roman Catholic religious order
Headquarters Piazza del Tempio di Diana, 14
Rome, Italy
Abbot General Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori
Website www.ocist.org

The term Cistercian is used to refer to an order of Roman Catholic monks. Officially the order is called Ordo Cisterciensis (OCist), or Sacer Ordo Cisterciensis (SOC). These people follow the same rules as the Benedictines, that is to say those of St Benedict. Over time, the Benedictines made some changes to the rules and the way of life.

The Cistercians reject these. They went back to what St Benedict had taught. Sometimes their rules were more strict than those St Benedict had given. They also went back to manual labour, especially work in the fields. Because of this, the Cistercians helped spread technologies around Medieval Europe. In 1882 certain monasteries formed a new order, called the Trappists. With time, they split completely from the Cistercians.

Cistercian architecture has made an important contribution to European civilisation. Architecturally speaking, the Cistercian monasteries and churches, owing to their pure style, may be counted among the most beautiful relics of the Middle Ages.

City growth

A 2016 study suggested that "English counties that were more exposed to Cistercian monasteries experienced faster productivity growth from the 13th century onwards" and that this influence lasts beyond the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. It has been maintained that this was because the Order’s lifestyle and supposed pursuit of wealth were early manifestations of the Protestant ethic, which has also been associated with city growth.

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