New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Hugh the Great


Confessor, Abbot of Cluny, born Semur, France, 1024; died, Cluny, France, 1109. Entering the monastery of Cluny at 14, he was ordained priest at 20, and in 1049 was elected abbot. He immediately engaied in the taik of clerical reform and vigorously opposed the investiture abuses, the source of many of the Church’s misfortunes. The improvement he effected in Cluny induced many cloisters to seek affiliation with his abbey, and these together with the monasteries he founded in Spain formed a powerful weapon in the hands of the popes in their struggle against imperial interference. Hugh’s reforming efforts won the approbation of the popes from Leo IX to Paschal II, and especially of Gregory VII, with whom he temporarily reconciled Henry IV. Through his assistance the Mozarabic Liturgy was replaced by the Roman in Castile, whose sovereign, Ferdinand the Great, made his kingdom tributary to Cluny. He imparted the utmost solemnity and splendor to the liturgical services in his abbey and his ordinance regarding the singing of the Veni Creator at Terce on Pentecost has since become universal in the Church. His fostering of the trade guilds and emancipating the abbey’s bondsmen and feudatories had an immense influence on the progress of civilization. Canonized 1120. Relics dispersed by the Huguenots, 1574. Feast, 29 April.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Hugh the Great”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 April 2013. Web. 15 June 2021. <>