Lobbes, Abbey of

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A Benedictine monastery near Thuin in Belgian Flanders, founded between 636 and 654 by St. Landelin in honor of St. Peter. Lobbes (Laubias, Laubacum) enjoyed a period of prosperity until the 9th century, when it fell victim to the custom of appointing laymen as abbots, and its possessions and reputation began to decline. From 885 to 960 the bishops of Liège held the abbatial office, and during this period the abbey's life was disturbed also by invasions of the region by the Normans and Hungarians. In 960 the abbey's independence was restored and it was again allowed to choose its own abbots. Under a succession of great leadersFolcwin (965990), Heriger (9901007), Richard (102032), and Hugh (103353)Lobbes again prospered. From its flourishing theological school came future bishops and abbots for other monasteries. Several important historical works were produced during this period: the Gesta abbatum Lobbiensium, written by Abbot Folcwin, and the Annales Laubacenses, a history of the Carolingian kingdom. The period of prosperity continued until the second half of the 12th century, when a decline set in, accompanied by continual financial difficulties which were not overcome until the accession of William Cordier to the abbacy in 1495. The monastery was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1546, but it was soon rebuilt under the energetic Abbot William Caulier (152050). In 1569 Lobbes united with other Benedictine monasteries in the Congregation of Exempt Monasteries of Flanders. When the French revolutionary armies destroyed the monastery and its rich library in 1794, there were still 43 monks in the community.

Bibliography: j. warichez, L'Abbaye de Lobbes depuis les origines jusqu'en 1200 (Tournai 1909). j. vos, Lobbes, son abbaye et son chapitre, 2 v. (Louvain 1865). u. berliÈre, Monasticon belge (Bruges 1890) 1:179228. m. dierickx, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 6:110809. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés (Mâcon 193539) 1:1632.

[c. falk]