Conques, Abbey of

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Former benedictine abbey, 24 miles north-northwest of Rodez, Aveyron, France; Diocese of Rodez. Founded in the early 9th century, the abbey came under the authority of benedict of aniane c. 820. It became a famous stopping place along one of the "roads to santi ago de compostela" after it was given the head of the Agenais virgin martyr Fides or foy (hence its name Sainte-Foy), toward the end of the 10th century. Most of the abbey buildings were erected during the next two centuries, notably the famous Romanesque abbey church whose portal of the Last Judgment dates from the end of the 12th century. The abbey suffered much from com mendation, instituted there in 1474. Because of their location in the Rouergue, the monastic buildings barely escaped burning by the Protestants (1568) during the Wars of Religion. By this date the abbey had been secularized (1537), but the collegiate church established there retained large property holdings and numerous dependencies until suppressed during the French Revolution (1790). The abbey church, restored in the 19th century by architects of the Viollet-le-Duc school, serves today as a parish church and since 1873 has been staffed by a small community of premonstratensians from Frigolet.

Bibliography: Gallia Christiana, v. 113 (Paris 171585), v. 1416 (Paris 185665) 4:288289. g. desjardins, Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Conques, en Rouergue (Paris 1879). É. mÂle, L'Art religieux du XII e siècle en France (5th ed. Paris 1947). m. aubert, "Conques en Rouergue," Congrès archéologique de France, 2 v. (Paris 1937) 459523. f. bousquet, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 13:472478.

[l. gaillard]