Groenendael, Abbey of

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Augustinian monastery located five miles from Brussels in the forest of Soignes, founded in 1350 by two priests, Jan van ruysbroeck, the Dutch mystic, and Francone de Coudenberg, as a priory of canons regular dependent on the abbey of saint-victor of Paris. The site had been a hermitage since 1304, and the founders, after retiring from the collegiate church of St. Gudule in 1343, had lived there under the patronage of John III, Duke of Brabant. The first prior was Ruysbroeck, who held the office until his death in 1381. In 1412 the monastery joined the congregation of windesheim, remaining a simple priory. Its religious were famous as copyists and writers, and it had a rich library. In the disturbances of the 16th century it was sacked by the Calvinists, but restored by imperial authority. At the time of its suppression by the French revolutionists in 1796, it was in a state of decadence.

Bibliography: É. de moreau, Histoire de l'Église en Belgique (Brussels 1945) v. 3.

[c. falk]