San Salvatore (Maggiore), Abbey of

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Former Benedictine monastery in the Diocese of Rieti, about 35 miles north of Rome in central Italy. Its foundation goes back to 735, and during the high Middle Ages the abbey was an important monastic center of great moral repute. In the first part of the 9th century, because of its strict monastic observance and its numerous dependencies, the abbey reached its zenith in both material and spiritual grandeur. There are, however, no descriptions of the buildings or of its church. charlemagne raised it to the rank of imperial abbey, and paschal i enriched it with liturgical vestments and the relics of the martyr St. hippolytus. The abbey had its own musical style, different from the Gregorian chant, a fact lamented by leo iv. On Pentecost, 872, Abbot Anastasius and his monks met the Emperor Louis the German at Farfa, obtaining from him confirmation of imperial privileges. Destroyed by the Saracens in 891, the abbey was rebuilt in 974. Its three-naved Romanesque church was decorated with paintings in the 11th century, and still later with cosmatesque works. However, the new abbey's discipline was far from vigorous, and during the investiture struggle it remained in the background. Nevertheless, the abbey contributed to the development of literary and artistic studies in the Duchy of Rome. The last abbot worthy of mention, Adinolfo (d. 1144), later made a cardinal, gave some luster to the abbey in the 12th century. In 1264 urban iv made it a diocesis nullius. Attacked by its vassals during the 14th century, the abbey was impoverished, and its economy collapsed. In the 15th century the popes annexed San Salvatore in commendation to the Abbey of farfa, but the patrimony of the abbey continued to diminish and monastic discipline slowly disappeared. urban viii suppressed it in 1629 and in 1632 used its possessions for the endowment of collegiate churches in the Marches. Today the abbey lies desolate, but its ruins continue to show unmistakable traces of its former glory.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:2875. i. schuster, Il monastero imperiale del Salvatore (Rome 1914). gregorio di catino, Il Regesto di Farfa, ed. i. giorgi and u. balzani, 4 v. (Rome 187992). Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217 v. (Paris 187890) 100:173174. Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 18861958) 2:59. g. silvestrelli, Città, castelli eterre della regione romana (Città di Castello 1914).

[s. baiocchi]