Sant' Eutizio di Norcia, Abbey of
SANT' EUTIZIO DI NORCIA, ABBEY OF
Originally a convent, then a Benedictine monastery after 536, in the Diocese of Spoleto, six miles from Norcia, in the Italian Campania. It was founded, according to tradition, by an Abbot Spes, who is mentioned by St. gregory in the Dialogues (3.38), on a site in the Castoriana valley, near the birthplace of St. benedict. Its second abbot and cofounder was (St.) Eutychius, a former hermit who, legend says, had come from Syria and had been a companion of (St.) Lawrence, the founder of the Abbey of farfa, an establishment with which the monastery of Sant' Eutizio always maintained close relations. The monastery came under cluniac influence in the 11th century, the period of its greatest splendor and achievement. The abbey was at this time a cultural center with an important scriptorium and library, holdings extending to the Adriatic and a monumental complex of buildings, among them the church restored by Abbots Teodino I and Teodino II in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. On abolition of the abbey's property holdings by innocent iv in 1257 a period of decline set in. In 1327, after bitter clashes and the use of armed force, john xxii put it under the Duke of Spoleto and later, the Curia. After an attempt at reform by Abbot Anastasius (1448–49), the abbey was put under commendation, beginning in 1449. Thenceforth, despite the efforts of the commendatories, the process of disintegration was inexorable. In 1820 Pope pius vii in recreating the Diocese of Norcia made the bishop abbot in commendam of Sant' Eutizio. Of the library and archives, there remains only a very small portion that was, fortunately, given to baronius in 1595. Of the buildings there remains the ancient and remarkable Romanesque church, restored and reopened in 1956.
Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:2669. p. pirri, L'Abbazia di Sant' Eutizio in Val Castoriana (Studia anselmiana 45; 1960).
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