Piedra, Abbey of
PIEDRA, ABBEY OF
Former Cistercian monastery in the Diocese of Tarazona, Saragossa province, Spain; founded in 1194 by Abbot Gaufrido de Rocaberti and 12 monks from Poblet, who occupied the castrum de petra and the surrounding land donated by Alfonso II of Aragon. Peter II in 1203, James I (1213–76), the lords of Albarracín and Molina, and bishops favored the abbey, which held many privileges and absolute jurisdiction over many places. The officials of the abbey, which depended on the Holy See, were elected by the community. Peter IV (1319–87) defended the monks from local outbursts and made them limit their prodigality to pilgrims. Martin de Vargas, the 15th-century Cistercian reformer, came from Piedra. Most of Piedra's art treasures were lost in the lootings that followed its suppression in 1835, when it was still a center of monasticism and spirituality. The buildings, which have been converted into a government tourist inn, contain architectural elements of Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and churrigueresque styles. The setting, enriched by the famous cascades of the river Piedra, is remarkably beautiful.
Bibliography: j. pÉrez de urbel, Las grandes abadías benedictinas (Madrid 1928) 227–236. Enciclopedia universal ilustrada Europeo-Americana, 70 v. (Barcelona 1908–30; suppl. 1934– ) 44:724–731.
[j. pÉrez de urbel]