In the month of march in the year 1098, a small group of friars started their journey through the woods and marsh of Cȋteaux. They are led by Robert, the former conductor of Molesme abbey. The exhausting start in Cȋteaux is the start of a religious departure, which, within the lifespan of a man, captured entire Europe.
And still today, more than 900 years later, the remarkable stony witnesses are not the only ones who recall the amazing history of the Cistercian Order. The religious, cultural and historical importance, yes, even the importance of the Cistercians for universal history cannot be valued highly enough.
These pages want to invite their reader to enter a medieval world, which is estrange and fascinating at the same time. They want him to feel the spirit of an immediate Christian movement, which is still fascinating countless people today. Even if history is not able to return to the events to which it is relating it still bears a promise within it, pressing for it's completion again and again. Probably no other movement has tried to live a life so deeply devoted to faith, as the Cistercian Order in it's first hundred years.
Indeed, I am no Cistercian and no friar either, only just an evangelic theologian. Still, since the very misterious encounter with the walls of the convent of Bebenhausen (it being not far away from Tuebingen, the place of my studies), the Cistercian's world has sought for me again and again. I have rediscovered this world in numerous visits to these monasteries. They were formed depending to their locality but were still part of a well-ordered world, which is the same everywhere and thus feels familiar everywhere.
Maybe you, dear visitor, are more intimate with this world than I am? Then feel free to correct me, if I have indicated some things wrongly due to my ignorance or if I have been mislead by literature. I would be grateful if you e-mailed me your corrections and also other suggestions, as well as pictures or material (with indicated copyright). The pictures and texts published on this page originiate from myself, if they are not marked otherwise.
And now enter the paradise, as the abbey in the bright valley will already give you a fortaste of paradise today.
Yours sincerely, Achim Fürniss, Backnang, Württemberg, Germany