Vaux-de-Cernay, Abbey of

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Former French Cistercian abbey present-day Diocese of Versailles. It was founded near Paris in 1118 by the reformed Benedictines of savigny. By 1137 it was able to found the abbey of Breuil-Benoît, near Evreux. Vaux-de-Cernay, as part of Savigny, joined the Cistercians in 1147. Abbot Guy (d. 1210), later Bishop of Carcassone, participated in the crusade against the albigenses, while his nephew, peter of vaux-de cernay wrote an Historia Albigensium. The abbey reached its height under the great ascetic, theobald of vaux-de-cernay (d. 1247). The Hundred Years' War left Vaux-de-Cernay ruined and depopulated. Before the work of reconstruction could be completed, the abbey was lost to commendatory abbots. Early in the 17th century the community of 13 monks joined the Cistercian Strict Observance (see trappists). The abbey regained a measure of its medieval reputation but was suppressed by the French Revolution in 1791. The remains of the 12th-century church and cloister are some of the finest monuments of early Cistercian Gothic.

Bibliography: l. merlet and a. moutiÉ, eds., Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Notre-Dame des Vaux de Cernay, 3 v.(Paris 185758). l. morize, Étude archéologique sur l'abbaye de Notre-Dame des Vaux de Cernay (Tours 1889). m. aubert, L'Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay (Paris 1934). u. chevalier, Répertoire des sources historiques du moyenâge. Topobiobibliographie, 2 v. (Paris 18941903) 2:324748. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:330809.

[l. j. lekai]