Aurillac, Abbey of

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Former Benedictine monastery of Saint-Pierre (later Saint-Gèraud), founded c. 890 by Count gerald of aurillac in a valley where the present town of Aurillac was later to develop. Very early an integral part of the Cluniac Reform, the abbey flourished in the 10th century, numbering among its monks Gerbert, the future Pope sylvester ii. Aurillac remained a powerful benedictine abbey to the end of the 16th century, holding as many as 74 dependent priories scattered over various provinces of France. But decline set in with the practice of commendation and culminated in the secularization of 1561, which transformed the abbey into a collegiate church of secular priests. It was ruined during the wars of religion (1569), and the church was not restored until 1642. Since the suppression of its college of priests in 1790 during the French Revolution, the church, which has undergone modifications, has been the main church of Aurillac in the Diocese of Saint-Flour.

Bibliography: g. sitwell, ed. and tr., St. Odo of Cluny St. Gerald of Aurillac (New York 1958). Gallia Christiana, v. 113 (Paris 171585), v. 1416 (Paris 185665) 2:438447. g. m. bouange, Histoire de l'abbaye d'Aurillac, 2 v. (Paris 1899). p. fontaine, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 5:757760.

[l. gaillard]