la Ferté, Abbey of
LA FERTÉ, ABBEY OF
First daughter abbey of cÎteaux (Latin, Firmitas ), founded in 1113 in the Diocese of Châlon-sur-Saône (now Autun) by the counts of Châlon, who donated a fourth of the forest of Bragny. Under the administration of the first abbot, Philibert, the domain was enlarged by donations from noblemen of the region. In 1120 the number of religious was large enough to enable the abbot, Opizo, to found the first Cistercian house outside France, the abbey of Tigliedo, located south of the Alps in the province of Genoa, the Diocese of Acqui. In 1124 the third abbot, Peter, was promoted to the archbishopric of Tarentaise. That same year the abbey of Locedio was founded from La Ferté in Piedmont in the Diocese of Vercelli. In 1132 the abbey of Maizières was founded in Burgundy in the Diocese of Châlon (modern Diocese of Dijon). When the general chapter at Cîteaux in 1191 learned that the abbeys of Lombardy had held a separate chapter, it requested that the Abbey of La Ferté make an inquiry there summoning all the abbots in order to forbid such reunions. A struggle for power within the Cistercian Order continued between the abbot of Cîteaux and the first four daughter abbeys, La Ferté, pontigny, clairvaux, and morimond (all founded by St. stephen harding; d. 1134). Innocent III checked the controversy (1215), but it flared up again in 1265, to be settled by Clement IV's bull Parvus fons (P. Cousin 375). In 1207 the abbey of Barona was founded in Lombardy in the Diocese of Pavia. The last daughter abbey, Saint-Serge, was founded in Syria in 1235. The monastery was built on a grand scale by the abbot Simon (1208–29). Several of its daughter abbeys founded still other houses, and the Abbey of La Forté eventually had a filiation of 16 monasteries.
When the Peace of Brétigny (1360), between France and England, came to an end, La Ferté was plundered and ravaged by roving companies of mercenaries. In 1415 the duke of Burgundy, John the Fearless, fortified the abbey with a moat and two walls. In 1439 the general chapter designated the abbot, John, along with three other abbots, to attend the Council of Florence as the representatives of the order from France. In 1562, during the Wars of Religion, the abbey was plundered by the Huguenots. Several years later (1567) Admiral de Coligny seized La Ferté; the abbey was pillaged and burned. Abbot Claude Petit (1677–1710) rebuilt the monastery, preserving the 13th-century church, adding to it a new contemporary façade. At the beginning of the French Revolution there were only about 15 religious left at La Ferté. The buildings were sold, and the library was scattered. Today all that remains of the monastery is the 18th-century abbatial palace.
Bibliography: Sources. g. duby, Recueil des pancartes de l'abbaye de la Ferté-sur-Grosne, 1113–1178 (Paris 1953). t. hÜmpfner, "Exordium Cistercii cum summa cartae caritatis et fundatio primarum quattuor filiarum Cistercii," Analecta Sacri Ordinis Cisterciensis 2 (1946) 119–145. Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis cisterciensis, ed. j. m. canivez, 8 v. (Louvain 1933–41). Literature. j. l. bazin, "Notice historique sur l'abbaye de la Fertésur-Grosne," Mémoires de la Société d'histoire et d'archéologie de Châlon-sur-Saône (1895) 1–70. a. a. king, Cîteaux and Her Elder Daughters (London 1954) 106–147. b. stÜrzer, "La Fertésur-Grosne," Cistercienser-Chronik 7 (1895) 225–231, 257–264, 289–296, 321–334, 353–360. k. spahr, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 6:729.
[m. a. dimier]