“Founder and Head of Many Monasteries”

Steven Vanderputten

in Imagining Religious Leadership in the Middle Ages

Published by Cornell University Press

Published in print June 2015 | ISBN: 9780801453779
Published online August 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780801456305
“Founder and Head of Many Monasteries”

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter examines various accounts that describe Richard as institutor et rector—“founder/master and head”—of many monastic communities. Sigebert of Gembloux claimed that Richard was “preaching everywhere in the fervor of holy observance,” which makes him a source of inspiration for many others who were involved in the government of monastic institutions. Also, the anonymous author of the Vita Richardi added that Richard was forming an institutionalized “movement” through yearly meetings at Saint-Vanne of all his associated abbots. Several other authors from the twelfth century would also allude to Richard's supposed role as founder/master. The chapter argues that his primary motivation in leading many monasteries was to create efficient and secluded communities of ascetic monks.

Keywords: institutor et rector; monastic communities; Sigebert of Gembloux; Vita Richardi; monasteries; ascetic monks; Richard of Saint-Vanne

Chapter.  14902 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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