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Saint Stephen Harding

Stephen Harding, Saint, c.1060–1134, English monastic reformer. He entered the abbey at Sherborne in his youth; later (c.1077) he went to the Molesme abbey (near Châtillon-sur-Seine) in Burgundy. In 1098 he joined his abbot, St. Robert (d. 1111), in founding at Cîteaux a new abbey, where the Rule of St. Benedict might be observed in primitive rigor. Stephen was abbot there from c.1109 and from his abbacy date the Cistercians; the spirit and organization of that order reflect St. Stephen's ideas. These are embodied in the Chart of Charity (c.1119); this, the main Cistercian constitutional paper, is a landmark in the course of Western monasticism. He supported with paternal affection the work of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Feast: Apr. 17; among Cistercians, July 16.

See C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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