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Nonantola, Abbey of


Former Benedictine monastery outside Modena, north central Italy; since 1926 an abbey nullius perpetually united with the archbishopric of Modena. It was founded (752) by anselm (d. 803), the first abbot, and endowed by the Lombard King Aistulf, receiving the relics of Pope St. Sylvester I in 756. It soon achieved political and cultural importance, and its possessions extended as far as Constantinople. It was favored and controlled by the emperors until 1083; resident abbots replaced absentee appointees in 1044. matilda of tuscany brought the abbey to the side of the popes in the investiture controversy; the Liber de honore ecclesiae by Placidus (1111) defended papal rights. Nonantola was long a center of piety and learning with a famous library and scriptorium; it became an abbey in commendation (1449). Incorporation by the Cistercians (1514), reform by G. F. Bonhomini (1566), and the building of a seminary in 1567 by St. Charles borromeo (a commendatory abbot) did not stop the abbey's decline; and it was suppressed in 1797 by the Revolutionary government. Restored as an abbey nullius (1815), it was united with Modena (1821), secularized (1866), and again restored (1926). Nonantola now has its own chapter, ordinary, and minor seminary and serves 31 parishes (1964).

Bibliography: g. tiraboschi, Storia dell'augusta Badia di S. Silvestro di Nonantola, 2 v. (Modena 178485). Miscellanea di studi nonantolani (Modena 1953). g. gullotta, Gli antichi cataloghi e i codici della Abbazia di Nonantola (Vatican City 1955). j. ruysschaert, Les Manuscrits de l'abbaye de Nonantola (Vatican City 1955). p. grossi, Le abbazie benedettine nell'alto medioevo italiano (Florence 1957). u. chevalier, Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen-âge. Topobibliographie, 2 v. (Paris 18941903) 2123. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:208788. a. vasina, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 7:102526.

[l. j. lekai]

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