Chelles, Convent of

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Former royal Benedictine abbey, in the canton of Lagny, arrondissement of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), France; in the old Diocese of Paris, modern Meaux (Latin, Calae ). It was founded in 656 by Queen bathildis; its first abbess was bertilla, who came with nuns from jouarre-en-brie (658659), a foundation following the rule of St. columban. Chelles was a double monastery and represented a step in the progress of Columbian monasticism into Burgundy. The abbey early attracted many young women from England; its scriptorium was notable. Having become Benedictine, it was often ruled by Carolingian princesses; after being plundered by the normans, it was restored. St. Elizabeth Rose (d. 1130) was professed a religious there. Reforms in the 12th and 14th centuries culminated in the reform of fontevrault (14981500), which Chelles, with its 90 nuns, had in large part propagated. In 1543, however, its abbesses began once again to be appointed for life. Chelles was suppressed in 1792; only vestiges of the cloister, some tombstones, and several buildings bought by private individuals remain.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:753755. r. van doren, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 12:604605. r. gazeau, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacquemet (Paris 1947) 2:103335. e. a. lowe, Codices latini antiquiores. A Palaeographical Guide to Latin Manuscripts prior to the Ninth Century (Oxford 1934) 6:xxixxii. b. bischoff, "Die Kölner Nonnenhandschriften und Chelles," Karolingische und Ottonische Kunst, v. 3 of Forschungen zur Kunstgeschichte und christlichen Archäologie (Baden-Baden 1952) 395411.

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Chelles, Convent of

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