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Gembloux, Abbey of


Benedictine abbey near Namur, Belgium; founded c. 922 by St. Guibert (Wibert), monk from the Abbey of gorze. On Sept. 20, 946, Emperor Otto I approved the foundation against the feudal claims of Guibert's relatives. Erluin (d. 986) succeeded Guibert after the latter's retirement to Gorze and obtained a charter of exemption from Pope Benedict VII. This right was surrendered to the friendly Notger, Bishop of Liège by Abbot Heriward (d. 990). Gembloux (Gemblours, Gemblacum) began its period of greatness under Olbert, who ruled from 1012 to 1048. He enlarged the monastery, built a new church, organized the library, and restored the discipline of the house, which had lapsed during the rule of his predecessor, Erluin II. During the rule of Abbot Thietmar, the Benedictine historian Sigebert (d. 1112) wrote the important chronicle of the world, and commenced the history of the abbots of Gembloux, which was continued by his disciple Gottschalk (see sigebert of gembloux). Prior Guerin, his contemporary at Gembloux, won fame at this time as a monastic teacher. In 1505 Abbot Arnold II of Solbrecg (d. 1511) affiliated his jurisdiction of Gembloux with the Abbey of bursfeld in Hildesheim. During the religious wars, Gembloux was pillaged by Calvinists. In addition to this devastation in 1598, damage by fires threatened its ruin in 1678 and 1712. It was suppressed in 1796, but the buildings are used as a state agricultural institute.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:126365. Sigeberti gesta abbatum Gemblacensium et vita Wicberti, Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 271 v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 160:591678 (to 1136). r. forgeur, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 4:643, bibliog.

[e. d. mcshane]

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