Charité-sur-Loire, Abbey of

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The former Benedictine priory of B. Maria de Caritate ad Ligerim, near Nevers, France, Diocese of Nevers. The basilican monastery founded in 706 was devastated in 771. At the request of Bp. Geoffrey of Auxerre and Count William of Nevers, it was restored (1056) by the monks of cluny under the direction of St. hugh of cluny. As one of the five "daughter" monasteries immediately dependent on Cluny, it in turn governed 52 monasteries. Pope paschal ii consecrated the church in 1107. By 1343 it numbered 80 monks, but this number had dropped to 18 in 1436. Jean de Bourbon, abbot of Cluny (145685), tried to reform the monastery but he could not stem the monastic and economic decline. Having been progressively ruined by the rule of commendatory abbots imposed in 1538, it was united to the Cluniac Congregation of Strict Observance March 13, 1634. It was suppressed in 1790. Most of the buildings of the cloister are still standing. The church, despite later changes, remains a model of Roman Burgundian architecture.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:705706. r. van doren, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 12:419421. h. h. hilberry, "La Charité-sur-Loire Priory Church," Speculum. A Journal of Mediaeval Studies 30 (1955) 114.

[r. grÉgoire]