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Ripoll, Abbey of


An important former Benedictine monastery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, situated in north Ripoll (Rivipolli, Rivipullo ) in Catalonia, Diocese of Vich. It was founded (c. 880) by Count Wilfrid I of Barcelona, who subsequently enriched the monastery with gifts of books, silver, gold, and jewels for liturgical vessels. The abbey was expanded in the 10th century by the addition of cells, enclosure wall, scriptorium, and a mill, and montserrat became a daughterhouse. Agapetus II gave Ripoll papal protection (951), and in 1011 Sergius IV granted full exemption. It reached its greatest material and intellectual development under the noble Abbot Oliva (100846), who was bishop of Vich (101846). A new church was built (1032) and consecrated; the cloisters were enlarged and scholarship was encouraged. Count Bernard II of Besalù, a relative of Oliva, made Ripoll a dependency (116372) of saint-victor in marseilles after Oliva's death. Perhaps disagreement over this step was instrumental in the Count's decision to transfer the family burial place to Poblet. At any rate, the change caused Ripoll's fame to decline. In the early 16th century the abbey joined a congregation of 30 Benedictine houses in Aragon and Roussillon. Further decline set in as a result of the appointment of commendatory abbots (among them the future alexander vi) and on account of the sufferings caused by the wars of the 17th and 18th century. In 1835 during the Carlist wars the monastery was destroyed, and whatever MSS of its famous archival collection had not been sent to Paris or Barcelona were burned. The abbey church, reconstructed as a parish church (1887) on the old plans, retains the original great Romanesque doorway, the cloisters, and sections of the seven apsidal chapels.

Bibliography: p. f. kehr, ed., Papsturkunden in Spanien, 2v. in 4 (Berlin 192628) 1.1:120125. r. beer, "Die Handschriften des Klosters Santa Maria de Ripoll," Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 155.3 (1908); 158.2 (1908). r. abadal, Analecta Montserratensia 9 (Montserrat 1962). j. j. bauer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:131920. Enciclopedia de la Religión Católica, ed. r. d. ferreres et al., 7 v. (Barcelona 195056) 6:757759.

[c. m. aherne]

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