Thursday, June 30, 2011

Esrum Abbey, Esrom Kloster, Cistercian Monastery Museum, Nature Center

Esrum Abbey
Esrom Kloster
Cistercian Monastery Museum, Nature Center

Esrum Abbey was founded in 1153 as a Cistercian Abbey.  Of a large complex, only a small brick section remains; but there are many outbuildings that show the age of the farming and other agriculture that supported the Abbey. See

An Archbishop Eskil was impressed with the Order of Cistercians at Clairvaux, and asked Bernard de Clairvaux to send monks to begin an Order here.  The location is near Hillerod, north Zealand.  FN 1

By 1536, the Abbey owned 300 farms, and many churches and lucrative mills, in the surrounding area. 

We like to think that religion where monks were up at 2AM for prayers because their superiors were serving the interests of God, submitted to punishments for infractions because God demanded, and worked hard as the Rules of the Abbey or group required. We like to think that all those foundations would be part of an institution that itself valued abstinence, doing without, harsh life.  Not so.  It became wealthy, wealthy. 

Update:  There is a book on this topic, reviewed today in delivery July 23, but dated July 24, 2011 page 14, Book Review in the New York Times, Render Unto Rome, The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, by Jason Berry, see  As in other areas of corruption, he addresses institutional and groupsecrecy and non-accountability as not a product of divine will, but human avarice. Is that so?

Were these the offices, or are they caretaker residences?

After the Reformation, the Lutherans allowed the monks to continue their life here until it was closed in 1559. Down came the buildings, and the materials reused at Kronborg Castle and other places. A handy quarry-brickyard.

Since its closing, the Abbey has been used as a stud farm, a tax office, to billet soldiers, and now a museum and nature center.

Buildings are kept in the old manner, with thatch roofs still doing good service.

Fn 1

Bernard de Clairvaux.  Bernard of Clairvaux.  What follows is commentary, not a travel matter, except to the degree that extensive travel lets someone put pieces of a puzzle together.

Still:  Why do we just say, "Ah-h-h.  Bernard."

No free ride.  Bernard de Clairvaux is the clarion call after  The Great Schism, in 1054 AD or so, the split of the Orthodox Christians, from the Roman (think Empire) Christians, see

Bernard issued the The Call of All Clergy (Roman) for its newly on-its-own religious machine to gain power, prestige, turf, converts at any cost.  Is there anything in the dogma that reflects what the Founder did, said.  Is sleep deprivation for monks brainwashing, or devotion.
Check history, check psychological control processes.  See Bernard and what he preached -- killing an evildoer is not killing a person, so on with crusades and kill any who do not believe with us -- that extended not only to the middle east, but to France (heretic wars) and to the north of europe.
In the north of Europe, Northern Crusades converted people, not theology, not merit.
In some areas, Christians that were already converted, but by Central European Orthodox missionaries, not Rome, were targeted.  See a view of Bernard as instigator and institutional promoter, not (is this also true? following the model of the Founder)
End of rant.  Instead of reinstating a renovation for a Cistercian Monastery, Denmark could establish a women's abuse shelter.

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