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Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, Abbey of

SAINT-FLORENT-LE-VIEIL, ABBEY OF

Former Benedictine monastery near Cholet, Maine et Loire, France, in the Diocese of Angers. The abbey was founded at Mont-Glonne, where Florentius, a disciple of martin of tours, had retired (c. 390); it was first mentioned in a charter (718). It was under Abbot Albaud (779810) that the original anchorites were organized into a community of monks and Saint-Florent became the model of reform for the abbeys of Aquitaine. Charlemagne reputedly rebuilt and adorned it. Partly burned by the normans c. 847 and pillaged by the Breton chief Nominoe, it was repaired by Charles II the Bald, who exempted it from episcopal jurisdiction. When it was pillaged anew by Normans (905), its monks fled, taking the relics of St. Florentius to Tournus, Burgundy. The religious split into two groups in the 10th century, the larger congregation founding saint-florent-lÈs-saumur; the original abbey, rebuilt by Guallo (1030), was reduced to priory status, dependent on the newer foundation, but retained the title "abbey" because of antiquity. King Louis XIII gave the abbey to Charles Bouvard, who introduced maurists (163739); it was suppressed and destroyed in the French Revolution (1791).

Bibliography: f. uzureau, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912) 1:1386. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:2675. g. jacquemet, Catholicisme 4:1357. g. bÖing, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 4:171.

[g. e. gingras]

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