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Saint-Ouen, Abbey of


Former Benedictine monastery in the city of rouen, France. Originally dedicated to St. Peter by Bishop Filleul (533542), it was later known as Saint-Ouen from the relics of Bp. ouen of rouen (d. 684), who was buried there. After the Viking raids of 841 monastic life was suspended until the early 11th century. This abbey played an important part in the revival of Norman monasticism, and several monks went from there as abbots to other houses. It remained an influential intellectual center, having papal approval of its theology school in the 13th century. In the 15th century it maintained a grammar school. Pope Alexander IV made it a mitered abbey in 1256, and it enjoyed special privileges in both spiritual and secular Norman assemblies. After 1462 a number of distinguished prelates held it in commendation, and in 1562 the Calvinists pillaged it. Conventual life was resumed only under the maurists (1660). New buildings were begun in 1753, but the work was interrupted by the French Revolution when the abbey was suppressed (1790). The monks' lodging became the Town Hall of Rouen. The extant abbey church, one of the finest in France, was begun in 1319 after a succession of disastrous fires. It was completed (except for the façade added in the 19th century) only at the end of the 15th century.

Bibliography: f. pommeraye, Histoire de l'Abbaye royale de Saint Ouen de Rouen (Rouen 1662). Gallia Christiana, v.113 (Paris 171585), v.1416 (Paris 185665) 11:135155. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:254750. a. masson, L'Abbaye de Saint-Ouen de Rouen (Rouen 1930).

[d. j. a. matthew]

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