Brogne, Abbey of

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Former benedictine monastery in Saint-Gérard, Namur, Belgium, Diocese of Namur, originally the Diocese of Liège. It was founded by gerard of brogne, who had been trained at saint-denis-en-france. He transferred the relics of St. Eugene to Brogne and was abbot there from 923 until his death (959). The discipline of the new community attracted attention: the Duke of Lorraine asked Gerard to restore Saint-Ghislain in Hainaut; Count Arnold of Flanders solicited him to do the same for Saint-Bavon and Saint-Pierre in Ghent, for saint-bertin and saint-amand. Gerard's disciple Mainard restored the Norman monasteries of fontenelle, mont-saint-michel, and saint-ouen in Rouen. Gerard, however, founded no new congregation; he only introduced his "observance" into older houses. In 992 Emperor otto iii came to Brogne with Bp. Notker of Liège to meet his old teacher, Abbot Heribert. Bishop Nithard of Liège consecrated the abbey church on Nov. 14, 1038. The simoniacal abbot Guiremond, monk of Saint-Jacques (Liège), bought Brogne from Bishop Othbert, thus incurring stern reproaches from rupert of deutz. In 1131 Alexander of Juliers, Bishop of Liège, exalted the relics of St. Gerard (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores, 4:22). Material and spiritual decline set in later: wars between Burgundy and Liège (c. 1425) and the conflict between the Count of Namur and the Dinantais (c. 1475) hurt Brogne. The Germans (1525) and the French (1554) ravaged the abbey, which, soon after the creation of the Diocese of Namur, was made part of the episcopal mensa (income) in 1566 and was governed by a prior who had a three-year term of office. Thus began the interminable conflict between the bishops of Namur and the monks. In 1645 the abbot of liessies, Dom Gaspar Roger, restored Brogne, whose community had been reduced to six religious; he imposed the statutes of Francis Louis blosius, which were replaced in 1656 by those of bursfeld. In 1686 King Louis XIV issued an edict that accorded the monastery a third of its revenues, the other two-thirds going to the bishop: but in 1731, the bishop of Namur had Emperor Charles VI annul this edict. The French Revolution completely destroyed the abbey, which then had 12 monks.

Brogne is one of the few monasteries in Belgium for which there is a catalogue of books prior to 1200 (MS 46). It is now in the major seminary of Namur, which contains other notable Brogne codices (MSS 4350). Dom Eugène Massart (d. 1736), a maurist, was the last chronicler of the abbey.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:510511. f. baix, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 10:818832. u. berliÈre, "L'Abbaye de Saint-Gérard," in Messager des fidèles 5 (1888) 169181, 216223; "L'Abbaye de Brogne ou de Saint-Gérard," in Messager de Saint-Benoît 7 (1905). É. sabbe, "Étude critique sur la biographie et le réforme de Gérard de Brogne," in Mélanges Félix Rousseau 8 (1958) 497524. Saint Gérard de Brogne et son oeuvre réformatrice (Maredsous 1960), also in Revue Bénédictine 70 (1960).

[j. daoust]