Saint-Sever, Abbeys of

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The SS. Severus are mostly shrouded in legend. Severus, bishop of Barcelona (feast, Nov. 6), was martyred in 302 under diocletian; his relics were discovered in 1079, taken to the monastery of San Cugat del Vallés, and translated to Barcelona in 1405. Severus, 12th bishop of Naples, 363 to 409 (feast, April 29 or 30), received a letter from St. ambrose in 393 (Patrologia Latina, ed. J.P. Migne, 217 v., 16:123233); a book of his miracles was written c. 1046. Severus, 12th bishop of Ravenna (feast, Feb. 1), patron of weavers, since weaving was his own profession originally, and patron of spinners and police, attended the Council of Sardica in 343. A basilica was dedicated to him c. 580 in Ravenna; his relics, and those of his wife and daughter were translated to Mainz and Erfurt in 836; his vita was composed in Mainz soon after 586; in 1871 his relics were discovered in a 5th-century reliquary in Grado. Severus (d. c. 500), a Syrian monk, founded the flourishing abbey of Saint-André in Agde, which in 1064 came under saint-victor in marseilles; his relics are in the abbey of Saint-Sever in Agde, known in the 9th century, of which the bishops of Agde were for many years abbot and which became part of the chapter endowment in 1158. The shepherd Severus, bishop of Avranches, whose relics were venerated in Rouen, founded c. 523 a monastery in the Diocese of Coutances that Normans ruined and Benedictines restored in the 11th century.

The abbey of Saint-Sever (Gascony) in the Diocese of Aire has obscure origins. There was a Benedictine monastery (c. 700) near the tomb of a martyr on one of the roads to santiago de compostela in the place where one of the oldest Romanesque churches of southwest France now stands. Count William Sancho of Gascony began the abbey church c. 1000. In 1028 the abbey was attached to cluny and put under Abbot Gregory of Montaner (d. 1072), for whom was illuminated a famous MS of the Apocalypse (Paris BN Lat. 8878). It was restored by the maurists in 1645, and lasted until the French Revolution.

Bibliography: Archives, Department of Landes, H, 1130, 237238, l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:288889. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, ed. by The Benedictines of Paris, 12 v. (Paris 193556) 11:1011. a. rastoul, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912) 1:929. g. gordini and g. lucchesi, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 9:704.

[j. trÉmenbert-le braz]

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Saint-Sever, Abbeys of

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Saint-Sever, Abbeys of