Saint Hugh of Cluny

detail of stained glass window of Saint-Hugues de Semur, church of Saint Hilaire, Semur-en-Brionnais, France; date and artist unknown; photographed on 3 January 2011 by Jackydarne; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Hugh the Great
  • Hugh of Cluni
  • Hugh of Semur
  • Hugues de Cluny



Born to the Burgundian nobility. Eldest son of Count Dalmatius of Semur and Aremberge of Vergy. His father wanted him to become a knight and secular leader; his mother was advised of a vision received by a local priest that her son was destined for religious life. When Hugh seemed more inclined to the Church than the hunt, his father sent him to his grand-uncle Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre, France for education. Novice at Cluny Abbey at age 14. Monk at 15 under Saint Odilo. Deacon at 18. Priest at 20. Benedictine. Abbey prior. Elected abbot on 1 January 1049.

Fought lay investiture, simony, and corruption among the clergy. Founded almost 2,000 new houses, led by like-minded religious, in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Fought against simony at the Council of Rheims in 1049. Participated in the Council of Rome in 1059 that set the method of election of Popes. Presided over the Synod of Toulouse, and participated in the 1063 Council of Rome. Served as peace maker between the Vatican and Henry IV. Advisor to nine Popes.





MLA Citation

  • “Saint Hugh of Cluny“. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 June 2020. Web. 6 May 2021. <>