Hugh of Cluny

Hugh (13 May 1024 – 29 April 1109), sometimes called Hugh the Great or Hugh of Semur, was the Abbot of Cluny from 1049 until his death. He was one of the most influential leaders of the monastic orders from the Middle Ages.

Hugh of Cluny
Hugo-v-cluny heinrich-iv mathilde-v-tuszien cod-vat-lat-4922 1115ad.jpg
Semur-en-Brionnais, Brionnais (now Saône-et-Loire), France
Died29 April 1109[1]
Cluny, Brionnais (now Saône-et-Loire), France
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Canonized6 January 1120 by Pope Callixtus II
Feast29 April
PatronageAgainst fever


The interior of the abbey of Cluny

Hugh was descended from the noblest families in Burgundy. He was the eldest son of Count Dalmas I of Semur and Aremberge of Vergy,[2] daughter of Henry I, Duke of Burgundy.

His father wanted him to be a knight. But at the age of fifteen, he took his monastic vows and later became an abbot.[3]

Abbot Hugh built the third abbey church at Cluny, the largest structure in Europe for many centuries, with funds provided by Ferdinand I of León. He was the driving force behind the Cluniac monastic movement during the last quarter of the 11th century, which had priories throughout Southern France and northern Spain.[citation needed]

Political influenceEdit

Hugh's relationship to Ferdinand I and Alphonso VI of León and Castile, including the release of Alphonso from his brother, Sancho's prison.[4] His influence upon Pope Urban II, who had been prior at Cluny under Hugh, made Hugh one of the most powerful and influential figures of the late 11th century.

As the godfather of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, he also played a role as a mediator during the conflict between Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV, though he was not successful. Additionally, he was an active diplomat to Germany and Hungary on behalf of the church. He died on 28 April 1109. Many of his relics were pillaged or destroyed by the Huguenots in 1575.

After Clementia of Burgundy was married, she gave Hugh the Flemish monastery of St. Bertin.[5] This act spread the Cluniac order north of the Loire and initiated monastic reform in Flanders.[5]

His feast day is April 29.



  • Bouchard, Constance Brittain (1987). Sword, Miter, and Cloister:Nobility and Church in Burgundy, 980-1198. Cornell University Press.
  • Iogna-Prat, Dominique (2002). Order & Exclusion: Cluny and Christendom Face Heresy, Judaism, and Islam. Cornell University Press.

External linksEdit