Saint-Maximin, Abbey of
SAINT-MAXIMIN, ABBEY OF
Now the basilica and priory of St. Mary Magdalene, in the village of Saint Maximin-la-Baume, Department of Var, France, a pilgrimage shrine founded to house the relics of St. Mary Magdalene. The abbey is a monument of Gothic architecture, begun in 1295 and finished about 1500. At the Holy Grotto (St.-Baume) on Mount St. Cassian, monks from the 5th century and later on Benedictines guarded the relics in nearby St. Maximin's Church. King Charles II of Naples, Count of Anjou, replaced the Benedictines with Dominicans (1295), and began a new church. Charles III gave it a rich manuscript library. King René of Naples, Duke of Anjou, founded its college (1476); sixtus iv confirmed it (1477). The relics were encased in increasingly precious reliquaries until desecrated during the french revolution. Partially saved, they were restored on Jan. 3, 1804. The church and priory were declared national monuments and were returned to the Dominicans.
Bibliography: l. rostan, Notice sur l'église de Saint-Maximin (3d ed. Brignoles, France 1886). j. h. albanÈs, Le Couvent royal de Saint-Maximin en Provence (Marseilles 1880). m. h. laurent, "La Bibliothèque du couvent de Saint-Maximin …," Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum 1 (1931) 350–364.