Cluny Abbey to begin 1100th anniversary celebrations on Saturday

.- The French city of Cluny is preparing to begin a year of celebrations for the 1100th anniversary of the famous Cluny Abbey. The abbey, founded in the year 910, was instrumental in the spread of Christianity and the development of monasticism in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Bishop Benoît Rivière of Auton, Chalon and Mâcon will celebrate a Mass in Cluny on Saturday, the Italian bishops' news service SIR reports. The twelve gates of the city will be symbolically opened to mark the beginning of the Year of Celebrations.

Fr. Pierre Calimé, spokesman of the diocese, said celebrants want the anniversary to be “above all a spiritual event” and not only a celebration of a cultural and artistic heritage.

“The great work of Cluny is the life of thousands of monks entrusting themselves to the Rule of Saint Benedict,” he explained.

“Cluny 2010 must be an opportunity to rediscover what the heart of the abbey is: ‘Do you want the true life?’”

Fr. Calimé praised the virtues of Cluny’s founding abbot, St. Odo, and said the Benedictine Rule contains aspects and lessons still relevant to today’s laity. This relevance has inspired the idea of holding some workshops on the Benedictine Rule and of holding a talk on Cluny’s order.

Planned events include a High Mass for the dead on November 2 and the commemoration of St. Hugh, the sixth abbot of Cluny, on April 23, 2010.

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