Luxeuil, Abbey of

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One of the most illustrious Irish foundations of the medieval period in east central France, Archdiocese of Besançon. In c. 590 the Irish missionary St. columban established a monastic foundation on the site of the old Roman fort of Luxovium and dedicated it to St. Peter. He was succeeded as abbot by eustace of luxeuil and then by Waldebert, who introduced the benedictine rule at Luxeuil. The abbey became an influential religious and cultural center of eastern France. During the Arabic invasion (732), however, the monastery suffered a lapse and dispersal of its members. This epoch of destruction appears to have been the occasion also of a loss of a number of valuable MSS from the abbey's library. Fortunately, several of them have been recovered and are presently preserved in various libraries. Among these works is the Lectionary of Luxeuil, dating from the 7th century and first recognized by the Benedictine scholar Mabillon in 1685. The Lectionary (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat.9427) is important for its evidence of Mozarabic and Bobbian liturgical influences and practices of the time. (See P. Salmon's critical edition, Le Lectionnaire de Luxeuil, 2 v. Rome 194453.) Luxeuil's scriptorium seems to have been an important paleographic center, originating a distinctive book known as the "Script of Luxeuil"(E. A. Lowe, Revue Bénédictine 63:132142).

The abbey was restored under charlemagne but was again subject to incursion, this time from the normans, who sacked it in 888. From the 10th century, the abbots were princes of the empire. The abbey's discipline and economic status declined toward the end of the 15th century as a result of commendation. This condition of affairs continued until a reformation was instigated in 1631 by Abbot Philip of Baume and the abbey incorporated into the benedictine congregation of Saint-Vanne. With the coming of the French Revolution, Luxeuil, like most of the religious houses of France, was suppressed (1790). Today, Luxeuil's main buildings still stand and house a diocesan minor seminary. The abbey church, which dates from the 14th century, dominates the scene and has, since 1926, been designated a minor basilica.

Bibliography: Gallia Christiana 15:144162. E. DE BEAUSÉJOUR, Le Monastère de Luxeuil, l'église abbatiale (Besançon 1891). H. BEAUMONT, Étude historique sur l'abbaye de Luxeuil, (5901790) (Luxeuil 1895). H. LECLERCQ, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie (Paris 190753) 9.2:272287. A. BOSSUAT, "Philippe le Bon et l'abbaye de Luxeuil," Annales de Bourgogne 9 (1937) 723. L. H. COTTINEAU, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés (Mâcon 193539) 1:168485. B. DELLA CHIESA, A. MERCATI and A. PELZER, Dizionario ecclesiastico (Turin 195458) 2:756. D. MISONNE, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. J. HOFER and K. RAHNER (Freiburg 195765) 6:124647.

[b. f. scherer]