Bernard of Clairvaux
- Mary Berry
(b Fontaines-lès-Dijon, 1090; d Clairvaux, 1153). French theologian, reformer and mystic. He was educated at Châtillon by the canons of St Vorles. In 1112 or 1113 he entered Cîteaux, and in 1115, in obedience to his abbot, St Stephen Harding, he left it to found Clairvaux, which was to become one of the most famous houses of the Cistercian order. Bernard was its first abbot, ruling over it until his death. Many of his written works were designed for delivery in the chapter house before his own monks. His influence, however, extended far beyond the confines of Clairvaux. He travelled throughout Europe, from Speyer to Palermo and from Madrid to Bordeaux, crossing and recrossing the Alps and the Pyrenees. He made active contributions to synods and councils, notably at Troyes (1128), Pisa (1135), Sens (1140) and Reims (1148). At Troyes he was responsible for establishing the Order of the Knights Templar and he may have been the author of their Rule. He supported Pope Innocent II against the antipope Anacletus II at the disputed election after the death of Honorius II in ...