History behind ‘Army of God’: The Grandmontine Monks

The Grandmontines are one of the lesser-known monastic orders of the Middle Ages, founded in the early twelfth century by St Stephen of Murat, and which held around 98 houses.

They were one of the most austere orders, based on the principal of complete poverty where the community should live as hermits albeit within communal buildings and the religious should be limited to thirteen, the prior and twelve monks, to mirror Christ and his disciples.

They often sought out remote and inaccessible places; most of their priories were located in France, but three were set up in England. Despite their poverty, they were supported by royalty, particularly Henry II (also a keen supporter of the Knights Templar), who was buried in the mother house at Grandmont.

They were the object of papal scrutiny at the same time as the Templars as the order had become lax, but managed to survive through reform.

The Grandmontines were especially keen on collecting and distributing relics. They held a portion of what they believed to be the True Cross at Grandmont, acquired in 1174 from Jerusalem. In 1181, they managed to acquire part of St Ursula and no less that seven martyrs which they probably distributed around the daughter houses.

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External Links

Abbey and Order of Grandmont

Craswall Priory

Boni Homines

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