- Stephen Harding
death_date=28 March 1134
caption=A painting commemorating the
1111founding of the monastery of Citeaux, showing saints Robert, Alberic, and Stephen Harding venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary.
CistercianOrder; Wrote Carta caritatis, 'Charter of Love,' a principal document for the CistercianOrder
Robert of Molesme
Church of St. Stephen Harding in Apátistvánfalva, Hungary, district of Szentgotthárd.
Saint Stephen Harding (died
March 28, 1134), is a Christian saintand monastic abbot, one of the founders of the CistercianOrder.
Stephen Harding was born in
Dorset, England. He was a speaker of English, Norman French, and Latin. He was placed in the abbey of Sherbourne at a young age, but eventually put aside the cowl and became a travelling scholar. He eventually moved to the abbey of Molesmein Burgundy, under the abbot Saint Robert of Molesme (c. 1027 – 1111).
When Robert left Molesme to avoid its corruption and laxity, Stephen and
Saint Albericwent with him. Unlike Alberic, Stephen was not ordered to return, and he remained in solitude with Robert. When twenty-one monks deserted Molesme to join Robert, Harding, and Alberic, the three leaders formed a new monastery at Citeaux.
Robert was initially abbot at
Citeaux, returning to Molesme after a year. Alberic then took over, serving as abbot until his death in 1108. Stephen Harding, the youngest of the three men, became the third abbot of Citeaux. As abbot, Stephen Harding guided the new monastery over a period of great growth. Bernard of Clairvauxcame to visit in 1112and brought with him his followers. Between 1112 and 1119, a dozen new Cistercian houses were founded to contain the monks coming to the new movement. In 1119, Stephen wrote the " Carta Caritatis", ('Charter of Love') an important document for the Cistercian Order, establishing its unifying principles. Stephen served the house at Citeaux for twenty-five years. While no single person is considered the founder of the Cistercian Order, the shape of Cistercian belief and its rapid growth in the 12th centurywas due to the leadership of Stephen Harding. In 1133, he resigned the head of the order, due to age and disability. He died the following year.
feast dayin the Roman Catholic calendar of saintsis March 28. The north aisle of St Sepulchre-without-Newgatechurch in London, U.K.was formerly a chapel dedicated to him (it became the Musicians' Chapel in the 20th century).
Hungary, into the village Apátistvánfalvais a Catholic Baroque Church by 1785, his patron saint Stephen Harding. The village, and the country Vendvidékat one time was Cistercian lordship.
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