Cistercian hymns and hymnals

The Cistercian movement, originating at the beginning of the 12th century, was founded on the desire to return to the rule of St Benedict (see Rule of Benedict*), which gave instructions for the chanting of Ambrosian hymns during the Offices of Nocturn, Lauds and Vespers. Cistercian brothers went to Milan to seek out St Ambrose*’s compositions, returning with a list of hymns. However, because of additions made during the intervening centuries, the Cistercians adopted a mixture of more recent Milanese hymns and those dating from St Ambrose’s time. This first recension, established under the direction of the second Abbot of the order, Stephen Harding (ca. 1060-1134), was adopted around 1113;...

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