The Abbey of Cluny, is located in the town of Cluny, in the country of France .The church at the Cluny Abbey was once the biggest in the world. Cluny Abbey remained the largest religious building in the entire Christian world until Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome was constructed in the 16th century. The site also includes pleasant gardens and a museum with Romanesque artefacts. Abbey of Cluny is big in size and also big in influence over the Catholic Church, becoming at one time almost as powerful as the Pope. Now the site offers a prestigious heritage, a Museum of Art and Archaeology housing Romanesque sculpture, a Medieval City rich in Romanesque and Gothic houses, and two churches . This Benedictine abbey was founded in September 909AD by Duke William the Pious of Aquitaine Count of Auvergne who appointed Berno as the first abbot and placed the Abbey under command of Pope Sergius III. This Benedictine abbey was a part of the Benedictine order ( founded by Benedictine monks, to observe a closer adherence to Benedictine rules).It was a significant center of a major monastic movement in the middle ages, the mother house for over 1000 monasteries and the leader of western monasticism and a very important location in the history of Christendom. The Abbey was Controlling over 10,000 monks from Poland to Scotland, the monastery was once the greatest power in Europe.
The Abbey of Cluny was built in three stages:
Abbot Berno, the first abbot of Cluny, began construction of the abbey in 910 AD. Many monasteries in Europe at that time were dominated by a nearby king or nobleman. It was intended that Cluny should be independent of all but papal jurisdiction.
Cluny was completed under his successor Odo (born 879 at Tours, monk in 909, abbot in 927, died 18 November ) Under his guidance Cluny attracted many men seeking to follow its discipline, and Abbot Odo was instrumental in introducing the Cluniac observances into many Italian monasteries
In 963 AD, the fourth abbot of Cluny, Maïeul, started building Cluny II in order to replace the previous building which became too small for the growing monastery. Under his guidance, Cluniac influence expanded.
The construction of Cluny III was built between 1085 and 1120, meaning it’s a Romanesque Church. under Abbot Hugh of Semur. In 1095, Pope Urban II devoted its main altar and 3 chapels in the middle of the yard of Cluny Abbey. The construction was finished and consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1131. Around 1145 and stopping about 1225 a narthex was added. This brought Cluny III to a total length of over 613 feet! The height was over 131 feet,and covered 25 acres.
Though the building is primarily in its ruins now, What is seen today is what rests of Cluny III. as much of it Cluny III was destroyed in the 18th century(1790) during the French revolution. One of the architectural tragedies of history was the damage with the burning of the Church furnishings and the wracking of the tombs, and what remains today is just a shell of it former self. It was in great part demolished under the First Empire , Currently, only one transept of the 12th century abbey church remains, along with 15th century Abbots’ residences and convent buildings of the 18th century, plus the high octagonal tower, the chapel of Bourbon and the ruins of the apse still remain.