A hauntingly beautiful set of photos, appearing on DailyMail, shows two Cistercian monks, Father Joseph and Brother Bernard, visting the ruins of a former Cistercian Abbey in England that had been destroyed during Henry VIII’s reign.

Rievaulx Abbey was Founded in 1132 by twelve monks from Clairvaux Abbey and It quickly became one of the most powerful and spiritually renowned centres of monasticism in Britain, housing a 650-strong community at its peak.

The abbey was dissolved by King Henry VIII on December 3, 1538. At that time there were reported to be 72 buildings occupied by an abbot and 21 monks, attended by 102 servants, with an income of £351 a year. Henry ordered the buildings to be rendered uninhabitable and stripped of valuables such as lead.

Images via Getty Images – See More Here

A new museum has been built on the site that displays artifacts and chronicles the rise and fall of the Cistercian Monastery.

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  1. Look, I understand that there is religious disagreement (and plenty of it is well-founded and well-meaning), but let’s be very clear about Henry VIII. He did not have religious disagreement as the reasoning behind the horror of what he did…he had personal entitlement as his reasoning He was a pig of a man who manipulated and murdered his way through life and he still wasn’t happy. When I see these destroyed monasteries, I don’t see disageement between religious ideologies, I see a bitter, spoiled, hateful, raging pig of a man and the people who allowed themselves to be manipulated by him into raping, pillaging and making homeless untold numbers of people and possessions in the name of greed, not in the name of Jesus Christ.

  2. What happened to the land after the Abby was destroyed? Could it be returned to them? It would be wonderful to see it rise again!

    • The abbeys were distributed among the nobility who supported Henry’s break with the Church. Henry took the best of them and let the nobility take the rest. People always talk about how much wealth the Church has but in fact Queen Elizabeth II has the most in the world. You might be interested in reading “The Stripping of the Altars”by Eamon Duffy. A bit deep but an excellent and informative read.

  3. Not only did he unlawfully lust after other women/girls, he also lusted after the wealth of the Church. Thomas Cromwell gave Henry the encouragement and rationale to loot the monasteries. A guilty conscience probably induced the King to destroy them.

  4. I visited the site in the summer of 1980 … A very long time ago. I was very moved by the beauty of the former Abbey and could only dream and think what it must have been like back at its height! St. Bernard and St. Aelred, pray for us.

  5. This is in the North York Moors, directly north of York. I’m going to Leeds in a month and this looks like a place to visit.

  6. Ce idee frumoasa, imi place!E prima data cand vad asa ceva aici si ma bucur sa pot participa.Iubesc culorile, mai putin roz si imi place tot ce e facut manual, iubesc bijuteriile si ornamentele.Si din atata iubire si eu la randul meu fac ornamente de iarna mai bine spus globuri pentru minunatul brad de Craciun si sunt sigura ca partenerul meu va fi incantat de cadoul meu []

  7. I know Henry was a “colorful” character, but was reported to be very knowledgeable in theological issues. I think Pope Leo creating an “Office of Indulgences” and appointing a relative to be responsible for raising money for the financing of the rebuilding of the Basilica of St. Peter by selling “tickets to get to Heaven” is even more a tragedy. He makes the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of none importance when he decides he will sell “indulgences to cover sin.” Can we all agree that this behavior is obviously ridiculous? That was one of the main reasons causing the split in the church to begin with. God will not be bought. He is the one who paid the price and we need to rejoice for that. The trouble here is that power corrupts—absolutely. Whether it is an English King or a Roman Catholic Pope, man is not equiped to make decisions God was meant to make. We need to face it and withdraw support from such events. We need to call them out for being wrong and make people aware so these events will not be repeated.

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