Mellifont, Abbey of

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cistercian monastery, County Louth, Diocese of Armagh, Ireland, founded in 1142 by SS. bernard of clairvaux and malachy of Armagh. Its first abbot was Christian O Connairche. The generatio Mellifontis rose to 25 monasteries. After the Anglo-Norman invasion, regular observance declined. A complete breakdown of monastic discipline led to the visitation of Stephen de lexinton in 1228, which deprived Mellifont of her filiations until 1274. Discipline restored, the abbey flourished until the 15th century when it became relaxed, but abbots Roger Boley (c. 14711486) and John Troy (14861501) reformed the house. This community, however, which numbered 110 persons in 1228, comprised only 15 when the abbey was suppressed (1539). A line of titular abbots was maintained until 1718. Part of the old abbey lands

(in Collon) was acquired by the trappists of mount mel leray abbey in 1938, and Mellifont was reborn, becoming an abbey in 1945. Remains of the original monastery include the chapterhouse, part of the cloister arcade, and a unique lavabo.

Bibliography: f. cognasso, "Acta Cisterciensia," Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 26 (1912) 58*80*, 114*143*, 187*206*. j. m. canivez, ed., Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis cisterciensis, 8 v. (Louvain 193341) 8:329330. b. griesser, "Registrum epistolarum Stephani de Lexinton," Analecta Sacri Ordinis Cisterciensis 2 (1946) 1118. c. Ó conbhÚi, The Story of Mellifont (Dublin 1958), including complete bibliog; The Abbatial Succession at Mellifont, 11421539 (Dundalk 1963).

[c. Ó conbhÚi]