Order of Cluny
On 11 September 909 (or 910), William, Duke of Aquitaine, "the Pious", lay abbot of Brioude, donated his land to the apostles Peter and Paul for the construction of a Benedictine abbey that would be under the sole authority of the Pope. The Order was founded by the first abbot of Cluny, Berno, who was chosen by William the Pious. In 931, Berno was granted the right to render justice and administrate any monastery placed under his protection, which allowed him to rapidly establish a powerful network that consisted of both small monasteries and actual abbeys : Vézelay, Moissac, Saint Martin des Champs amongst others. The Cluniac Order reached the height of its power in the 11th century and the first half the 12th century, when its influence extended to Spain, Italy and England (10,000 monks). Accused of excessive opulence and of slackening moral standards, the Order lost its spiritual influence with the introduction of new orders that were inspired by ideals of poverty and austerity. The French Revolution finally put an end to the Order of Cluny.