Moreruela, Abbey of

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Former monastery in Zamora province, Spain. It was originally founded at the end of the 9th century by (SS.) froilÁn and attilanus with 200 monks and dedicated to St. James, but it suffered from the raids of the Muslim al-Mans: ūr (9781002) and was in ruins in 1143 when Alfonso VII of Castile gave it to two monks, probably Benedictines. The cistercian reform was introduced from clairvaux before 1158. For many years the abbey flourished, governing towns and founding other Cistercian houses in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Sicily. It was head of the military order of Trujillo, which later joined the knights of alcÁntara. It belonged to the Congregation of Castile of Martin de Vargas from 1494 until suppressed in 1835. Moreruela is important in the history of Spanish Gothic architecture. Its large 12th-century church (now a parish church) has elements that seem to be neo-Visigothic or Mozarabic. Relics of a frieze with a braided design, marble jalousies, and volutes with a plant motif have also been preserved.

Bibliography: m. gÓmez-moreno, Iglesias mozárabes, 2 v. (Madrid 1919). m. cocheril, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 15:944948.

[j. pÉrez de urbel]