Odo of Cluny

From New World Encyclopedia

Saint Odo of Cluny (ca. 878 –– November 18, 942), a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, was the second abbot of Cluny Abbey. He enacted various reforms in the Cluniac monastery system of France and Italy and demonstrated through his literary works, liturgical music, and hymns that living for the sake of others by having a profound love for beggars, one of whom was St. Martin of Tours, as well as an intense enthusiasm for monastic life propelled his spirituality toward holiness.


He was the son of a feudal lord of Deols, near Le Mans, and received his early education at the court of William I of Aquitaine or William the Pious, duke of Aquitaine, then studied at Paris under Remigius of Auxerre. About 909, he became a monk, priest, and then superior of the abbey school in Baume, whose abbot, Abbot Berno, was the founder and first abbot of Cluny Abbey in 910. Odo followed him to Cluny, bringing his library. There he became abbot upon Berno's death in 927.

Authorized by a privilege of Pope John XI in 931, Odo reformed the monasteries in Aquitaine, northern France, and Italy. The papal privilege empowered him to unite several abbeys under his supervision and to receive at Cluny monks from the Benedictine Order not yet reformed; a greater number of the reformed monasteries, however, remained independent, and several became centers of reform. Odo became the great reforming abbot of Cluny, which became the model of monasticism for over a century and transformed the role of piety in European daily life.

Between 936 and 942 he visited Italy several times, founding in Rome the monastery of Our Lady on the Aventine and reforming several convents, such as Subiaco in Italy and Monte Cassino. He was sometimes entrusted with important political missions, for instance, when peace was arranged between Hugh of Arles and Duchy of Spoleto (Alberic I of Spoleto).

Writings and musical compositions

Among his writings are a biography of St. Gerald of Aurillac and three books of Collationes (moral essays, severe and forceful). He is noted to have written a few sermons, an epic poem on the Redemption (Occupatio) which appears in several books edited by Swoboda, 1900, and twelve choral antiphons in honor of St. Martin of Tours.

His Roman Catholic feast day and mass is celebrated on November 18th each year.


It is claimed that Odo of Cluny invented the spoon.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Frassetto, Michael. 1998. Medieval Purity and Piety: Essays on Medieval Clerical Celibacy and Religious Reform. NY: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-815-32430-8
  • Joannes, Monk of Cluny, Saint Abbot of Cluny Odo, and Gerard Sitwell. 1958. St. Odo of Cluny; Being the Life of Saint Odo of Cluny. NY: Sheed and Ward. OCLC 1266242
  • Noble, Thomas F.X. and Head, Thomas. 1995. Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press. ISBN 0-271-01344-3

External links

All links retrieved November 17, 2022.


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