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A member of an order founded as a stricter branch of the Benedictines, the reforms being particularly associated with the influence of St Bernard of Clairvaux, who was particularly critical of elaborate decoration in ecclesiastical buildings. The monks are now divided into two observances, the strict observance, whose adherents are known popularly as Trappists, and the common observance, which has certain relaxations.

The name comes (via French) from Cistercium, the Latin name of Cteaux near Dijon in France, where the order was founded.

Subjects: History — Christianity.

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