Orval, Abbey of

views updated


A Cistercian abbey in Luxembourg province, Belgium, founded in 1070 by Count Arnulf II of Chiny for some Benedictine monks from Calabria. Orval (Aureavallis, Güldenthal) passed into the possession of the Clerks Regular in 1110 and eventually was taken over by Cistercians from the Abbey of tre fontane in 1132. The first Cistercian abbot was Constantine (d. 1145), a disciple of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was noted for holiness. In 1251 or 1252 Orval was burned, and the monks dispersed. Under succeeding abbots it flourished and was well governed except during the decline following the Reformation in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Its spirit was restored by Abbot Bernard de Montgaillard (d.1628), but the buildings were again destroyed by Huguenots in 1637. Abbot Carl von Benzeradt (d. 1707) drew up new statutes of strict observance for Orval. During the rule of Abbot E. Henrion (d. 1729), it was a focal point of Jansenism, but in 1750 those monks infected with the heresy were removed. Orval prospered and in 1750 it owned 300 towns, from which it derived a rich income. It fell victim to the French Revolutionists and was suppressed in 1796. In 1926 Trappists from the Abbey of sept-fons built a priory upon its ruins.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:214849. n. tilliÈre, Histoire de l'abbaye d'Orval (6th ed. Gembloux 1958). c. grÉgoire, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 7:1258.

[e. d. mc shane]