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Every three years, the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (the OCSO, commonly known as the Trappist Order) meets for its General Chapter.  Abbots and abbesses from all over the world gather to discuss the business of the Order. The state of each abbey is reviewed and decisions are made regarding legislation, among other things. There are over 200 participants in the Chapter.

 

The General Chapter was instituted from the very beginning of the Order, in the early 12th century. It remains the main authority of the Order.  This year's Chapter is historic in that it is the first chapter in the history of the Order which has combined its male and female branches into a single Chapter with a single voice.

 

The wonderful flute music was improvised especially for this video by Mother Maria Gratia, abbess of the community of Maria Frieden in Germany. We thank her for her contribution, not only to this video, but to the liturgy of the entire Chapter.