Saint-Claude, Abbey of
SAINT-CLAUDE, ABBEY OF
Former benedictine monastery, forerunner of the present Diocese of Saint-Claude, suffragan of Besançon, in the department of Jura, France. The monastery was founded by SS. romanus and Lupicinus as the Abbey of Condat c. 425–450, and was later known as Saint-Oyende-Joux [S. Eugendi (or Augendi ) Jurensis ] after its third abbot, eugendus (oyend) of condat. It was renamed Saint Claude c. 1213 when the relics of the 12th abbot, claudius of condat, were interred there. It was the motherhouse of Lauçonne, La Balme, and romainmÔ-tier. It developed, c. 510, its own rule, which was adopted by Agaune, but Saint-Claude subsequently adopted the benedictine rule. As a pilgrimage center (14th–16th centuries), it was visited by Anne of Brittany, wife of King Louis XII. An autonomous territory of the Holy Roman Empire, it became part of France only in 1674. Subsequently religious life grew lax under commendatory abbots, e.g., Cardinal d'Estrées (1681–1742). Pope Benedict XIV erected the abbey into the bishopric of Saint-Claude (1742), suffragan of Lyons, and the count-bishop inherited abbot's rights, with the cathedral chapter holding the abbey's dependencies until the French Revolution. It was this abbey that was central in the controversy over mortmain involving Voltaire. Only the cathedral of St. Peter, built between the 14th and the 18th centuries, remains standing.
Bibliography: p. benoit, Histoire de l'abbaye … de Saint-Claude, 2 v. (Montreuil-sur-Mer 1890–92). l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:2635. r. van doren, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912–) 12:1072. g. bardy, Catholicisme 2:1171–72.
[g. e. gingras]