Sites present: Germany: Anrode, Heisterbach, Maulbronn, Bronnbach, Neukloster, Pforta; Belgium: Aulne, Clairefontaine, Clairefontaine Cordenoy, Grandpré, Herkenrode, Villers, Italy: Chiaravalle della Colomba, Sweden Skokloster, Vreta; Spain: Oia, Piedra; Portugal: Alcobaça São Cristóvão de Lafões, France: Aumône or Petit Cîteaux, Beauvais (barn), Bouchet, Breuil-Benoît (Le), Cherlieu, Cîteaux, Clairmont, Collège des Bernardins, Crête (La), Etoile (L’), Fontaine-Guérard, Fontaine-Jean, Noirlac, Pontigny, Prée (La), Preuilly, Royaumont, Signy, Val (Le), Valmagne, Vaucelles, Vauluisant
Sites represented: Germany : Altenberg, Altzella, Arnsburg, Bebenhausen, Bredelar, Buch, Ebrach, Eberbach, Hardehausen, Herrenalb, Kamp, Marienstatt, Marienthal, Salem, Schöntall St Marienthal ; Belgium : La Paix-Dieu ; Sweden: Askeby ; France : Aulps, Barbery, Bonnefont, Bonport, Escaladieu, Koad Malouen, Langonnet, Relecq (Le), Timadeuc
The Chairman particularly welcomed:
– The heads of political, historical and archaeological organisations, and cultural and tourist units of the Aube department.
– Dom Vladimir Gaudrat, Father Abbot of Lérins, invited as the Chairman of ARCCIS (Association for Promoting Cistercian Culture) ;
– New Charter members,
– Members of the Clairvaux Revival Association who, working with Jean François Leroux, had magnificently organised this AGM;
– Speakers following the formal part of the AGM, notably Dom Vladimir Gaudrat, Father Abbot of Lérins, Régis Martin owner of Breuil Benoit Abbey, and one of the key architects of Historical Monuments, Bernard Peugniez friend of Vaucelles Abbey and author of the guide to Cistercian Europe, Mme Ana Pagarà, recently nominated as director General of Alcobaça Abbey and Jean-François Leroux, our honorary President.
He thanked them all for having contributed to the success of this AGM, and for all those who formed the core of the members, and who were again present: Maulbronn, Heisterbach, Preuilly, Clairefontaine, Fontfroide Valmagne, etc.
About seventy abbeys were present or represented. The Chairman stressed the importance to the Charter of the diversity of operating models. These included:
– Diversity of Owners (national, publicly owned, local regional, lay and religious organisations and private owners),
– Diversity of Languages and Countries,
– Diversity of Focus of Interest (historical, tourist, religious architecture and others).
All this gave an extraordinary uniqueness and richness. Being united within the same association and sharing experiences (in terms of animation, management, communication, and others) enabled each one to feel involved and be custodian of a vast European network of Cistercian tangible and intangible heritage.
Who could have imagined 25 years ago that such an event – a national commemoration – on such a subject as the ninth centenary of the founding of the Abbey of Clairvaux – could take place in France, which was often focused on the concept of secularism?
From a French viewpoint, the last 25 years had not been deficient in this area. One thought of the Cistercian exhibition in 1990 in the Conciergerie in Paris, and the Fontfroide symposium in 1992, which provided an outstanding opportunity for a meeting between historians, religious, owners and abbey organisers.
One thought also of Cîteaux ‘98 which, in addition to tourism, brought together the efforts of an entire region, Burgundy, for a few months to focus on the importance of Cistercians in its history.
Today “Clairvaux 2015” with meetings, seminars, exhibitions, tours offered and other events, went far beyond anything so far encountered.
The Chairman believed that the “Clairvaux 2015” project, which was initiated by the joint actions of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Justice and the General Council of Aube Department deserved our approbation and even more so that these institutions had been able to cooperate with all relevant people involved (including religious, scientists, historians, owners and organisers of abbeys and Cistercian sites). By placing it in a European perspective, it offered in each country a different context and a different story, and if it was one of the objectives of the Charter to understand and share, we appreciate that we are still very far from the idea of a European focus. What was certain was that the Charter of which we were members, tirelessly continued to work to ensure that the heritage of which we were custodians was a living heritage and respected throughout Europe. (more…)