Jacob Wrestling the Angel
The Vienna Genesis, 
Probably made in Syria or Palestine.
Early 6th century. 
Tempera, gold, and silver paint 
on purple-dyed vellum,
approx 9"x12"
Osterreiche Nationalbibliothek, Vienna
Byzantine Style

see also Stokstad fig 7-35
Page with Rebecca at the Well

continuous narrative


Virgin and Child with Saints and Angel
icon second half of 6th century
Encaustic on wood, 27x18"
Monastery of Saint Catherine,
Mount Sinai, Egypt
Abbot of Cluny/Bishop Odo of Cluny and the Cluniac Reforms

The Cluniac Reforms (also called Clunian Reforms) were a series of changes within medieval monasticism of West focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art, and caring for the poor. The movement is named for the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy, where it started within the Benedictine order. The reforms were largely carried out by Saint Odo (c. 878 – 942) and spread throughout France (Burgundy, Provence, Auvergne, Poitou), into England, and through much of Italy and Spain.[1]

The impetus for the reforms was corruption within the church, particularly simony and concubinage. These abuses were thought to be a result of secular interference in the monasteries and of the Church's tight integration with the feudal and manorial systems.[2] At the same time, the Papacy wished to reassert control of all clergy and to stop the investiture of bishops by secular rulers.[3] Since a Benedictine monastery required land, it needed the patronage of a local lord. However, the lord would often demand rights and assert prerogatives that interfered with the operation of the monastery.[4] The Cluny reform was an attempt to remedy these practices in the hope that a more independent abbot would better enforce the Rule of Saint Benedict.

When Berno drew up his will in 926, he split the small collection of monasteries under his authority into two parts, leaving Odo the half that included Cluny, Massay, and Déols. Upon Berno's death in 927, Odo became abbot of Cluny and began to appeal to kings and popes for privileges to guarantee the provisions of Cluny's charter. In his very first year as abbot, he obtained a charter from the West Frankish king Rudolf (923–936) to this effect. In 931 he gained one from Pope John XI that went further, granting Cluny the right to receive any monk of any other monastery, because most of the others “swerve from their purpose.” Thus, Odo cultivated the image of Cluny as a model monastery, and he was soon called upon to reform or even take over (as abbot himself) a number of other monasteries and bring them to the observance of the Benedictine Rule. These were Romainmôtier (929), Aurillac (c. 930), Fleury (c. 930), Sarlat (c. 930), Tulle (c. 930), Saint-Allyre of Clermont (c. 933), Saint-Pierre-le-Vif (Sens) (c. 938), St. Paul Major (Rome) (936), St. Elias in Nepi (c. 940), Farfa (c. 940), St. Mary on the Aventine (c. 940), Montecassino (c. 940), and Saint-Julien of Tours (942). In general, these monasteries were expected to adhere to the requirements regarding diet, silence, prayer, chastity, and enclosure enjoined by the Rule as interpreted by the Cluniacs, whose particular emphasis was on prayer.

S. Gall Benedictine Abbey, St. Gall Switzerland 7th-8th C

A. High altar.
B. Altar of St Paul.
C. Altar of St Peter.
D. Nave.
E. Paradise.
FF. Towers.
G. Cloister.
H. Calefactory, with dormitory over.
I. Necessary.
J. Abbot's house.
K. Refectory.
L. Kitchen.
M. Bakehouse and brewhouse.
N. Cellar.
O. Parlour.               (over.
P1. Scriptorium with library  k,
P2. Sacristy and vestry.
Q. House of Novices--1.chapel;
2. refectory; 3. calefactory;
4. dormitory; 5. master's room
6. chambers.
R. Infirmary--1--6 as above in
the house of novices.
S. Doctor's house.
T. Physic garden.
U. House for blood-letting.
V. School.
W. Schoolmaster's lodgings.
X1X1. Guest-house for those of superior rank
X2X2. Guest-house for the poor.
Y. Guest-chamber for strange monks.
Z. Factory.
a. Threshing-floor
b. Workshops.
c, c. Mills.
d. Kiln.
e. Stables.
f Cow-sheds.
g. Goat-sheds.
h. Pig-sties. i. Sheep-folds.
k, k. Servants' and workmen's sleeping-chambers.
l. Gardener's house
m,m. Hen and duck house.
n. Poultry-keeper's house.
o. Garden.
q. Bakehouse for sacramental

s, s, s. Kitchens.
t, t, t. Baths.