Saint Mihiel Abbey

Saint Mihiel Abbey is an ancient Benedictine abbey situated in the town of Saint-Mihiel, near Verdun in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.

The benedictine abbey was built in 708 or 709 by a Count Wulfoalde and his wife Adalsinde, probably to house the relics that Wulfoalde had brought back from Italy. [1] It was dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, a popular saint at the time, as can be testified by the establishment of the abbeys of Mont St Michel in Normandy and the Abbey of Honau in Alsace in the same period.[2] In 1734 the tombs of both Wulfoalde and Adalsinde were discovered in the abbey. [3]

The abbey was placed under the authority of Fulrad of St Denis, chaplain to Charlemagne. [4] In 755 a mayor Wulfoald, probably a relative of the founder of the abbey, was accused of high treason and plotting against Pepin the Short, was condemned to death. When Fulrad intervened to save his life, Wulfoald expressed his gratitude by giving King Childéric II his possessions, including the Abbey. [5]

The Abbey is best known for its abbot Smaragdus, who moved there around the year 814 with his monks from the monastery on Mt. Castellion.

Some time between 816 and 826 Smaragdus obtained royal protection for the abbey from Louis the Pious, ensuring that wagons, pack-horses and ships would be exempt from customs taxes on goods transported between the monastery and its lands. [6]

Smaragdus achieved fame as a writer of homilies, and for his writings on the Rule of St Benedict.

Smaragdus, who died around 840, was succeeded as Abbott by Hadegaudus, who was probably elected by the monks themselves. [7]

Abbots in the tenth century included Odon I, followed by Sarovard, followed by Odon II, who died in 995.

Over the years, the abbey proved very popular with royalty, emperors and kings and dukes. In the 11th century, for example, it came under the protection of Gérard, Duke of Lorraine.

During the Middle Ages, the Abbey was famous for its relics, not least of which concerned Saint Anatole, Bishop of Cahors, whose body was reputed to have been transferred to Mihiel in 779. [8]

The Abbey was dissolved during the French revolution.

The Church of Saint Michel

The Abbey Church is known as the Church of Saint Michel. Part of the 11th century porch still remains. The nave was rebuilt in the 16th century and modified in the 17th century.

The Church contains a walnut sculpture of the swooning of Mary by Ligier Richier dated 1531 (or 1537).

Eglise Saint-Michel Saint-Mihiel 271108 03

Altar of the Abbey church of Saint Michel, Saint Mihiel.

Saint-Mihiel - église abbatiale (44)

Church of Saint Michel with organ loft.

Saint-Mihiel - église abbatiale (26)

Detail of the organ.

Saint-Mihiel - église abbatiale (12)


Pâmoison de la Vierge Ligier Richier 301008 1

Swoon of the virgin by Richier

The library

Today the Abbey is best known for its library. The library is still on the original site, which it now shares with a school and, since 1978, with the town hall. The collections include 8780 books including 86 incunabula, 74 manuscripts from the ninth to the sixteenth centuries. It is housed in a purpose-built building, constructed in 1775. It is managed as a special collection by the municipal library. A number of the more valuable works are available online in digital form. The most famous of these is a 9th-century manuscript on the Holy Trinity by Pseudo-Athanasius, which was stolen during World War one, but discovered in a Hamburg bookshop in 2007 and reintegrated into the collection. [9]

Cartulary of Saint Mihiel

A cartulary of Saint Mihiel was composed towards the end of the 11th century and is preserved in the Meuse Departmental Archives at Bar-le-Duc.

External links


  1. ^ Monique Goullet (2004). La Chronique de Saint-Mihiel (PDF). Picard. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  2. ^ Philippe-André Grandidier (1777). Histoire de l'église et des évêques princes de Strasbourg: depuis la fondation de l'évêché jusqu'à nos jours. Levrault. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  3. ^ Joseph del'Isle (1757). Histoire de la célébre et ancienne Abbaye de St Mihiel [en Lorraine], précédée de cinc discours preliminaires, avec l ́abrégé de la vie du Cardinal de Retz et de plusieurs grands hommes. Haener. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  4. ^ Matthew Ponesse (2013). Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  5. ^ Monique Goullet (2004). La Chronique de Saint-Mihiel (PDF). Picard. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  6. ^ Matthew Ponesse (2006). Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel and the Carolingian Monastic Reform. Revue Bénédictine. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  7. ^ Michèle Gaillard (2006). D'une réforme à l'autre (816-934): les communautés religieuses en Lorraine à l'époque carolingienne. Publications de la Sorbonne. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  8. ^ Joseph de l'Isle (1757). Histoire de la célébre et ancienne Abbaye de St Mihiel [en Lorraine], précédée de cinc discours preliminaires, avec l ́abrégé de la vie du Cardinal de Retz et de plusieurs grands hommes. Haener. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  9. ^ Pseudo-ATHANASIUS, De Trinitate libri VIII, et alia. Palaeographia. 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-10.

Coordinates: 48°53′21″N 5°32′29″E / 48.88917°N 5.54139°E

Gerard, Duke of Lorraine

Gerard (c. 1030 – 14 April 1070), also known as Gerard the Great, was a Lotharingian nobleman. He was the count of Metz and Châtenois from 1047 to 1048, when his brother Duke Adalbert resigned them to him upon his becoming the Duke of Upper Lorraine. On Adalbert's death the next year, Gérard became duke, a position that he held until his death. In contemporary documents, he is called Gérard of Alsace (after his familial homeland), Gérard of Chatenoy (after an ancestral castle near Neufchâteau), or Gérard of Flanders (after his wife's homeland).He was the second son of Gérard de Bouzonville, count of Metz, and Gisela who was possibly a daughter of Theodoric I, Duke of Upper Lorraine. Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, invested Adalbert with Lorraine in 1047 after confiscating it from Godfrey III. Godfrey did not back down, however, and killed Adalbert in battle. Henry subsequently bestowed it on Gérard, but the deposed duke continued to stir. Godfrey had the support of a faction of the nobles who did not want a strong hand at the ducal helm and Gérard was imprisoned. Gérard, however, had the support of the chiefest of his bishops, that of Toul, Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg (later the sainted Pope Leo IX), who procured his liberation in 1049. The emperor gave him troops to assist him in his fight, for the rebels had the support of some elements in the church. Gérard himself remained, as his brother had, faithful to the end to the imperial dynasty and his descendants would remain so as well even into the Hohenstaufen years.

His alliance with the church was regular but inconstant and he afforded his protection to Moyenmoutier Abbey, Saint-Mihiel Abbey, and Remiremont Abbey. The former was the abbey of Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, who excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, Michael I Cerularius, in 1054, thus precipitating the Great Schism, and the latter was his own final resting place.

On 18 June 1053, Gérard and Prince Rudolf of Benevento led papal and Swabian troops into battle on behalf of Pope Leo. This was the Battle of Civitate and it was a disastrous loss for the pope. His enemy, the Normans, under Humphrey of Hauteville and Richard of Aversa, defeated his allies and captured his person, taking him prisoner in Benevento. Gerard, however, returned to Lorraine.

Among his other construction projects, was that of the castle of Prény, in the centre of the duchy, the beginnings of the capital city, Nancy. He died at Remiremont while trying to kill a revolt. Poisoning was suspected. The date of his death is either 14 April or 11 August.

He was married to Hedwige of Namur (or of Flanders), daughter of Albert II, Count of Namur, and Regelindis of Lower-Lorraine, daughter of Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine. This marriage helped patch up relations with the baronage. They had the following issue:

Theodoric II, Duke of Lorraine (c.1055-1115), successor in Lorraine

Gerard (1057–1108), count of Vaudémont

Beatrice, married Stephen I, Count of Burgundy, Mâcon, and Vienne

Gisela, abbess of RemiremontHe was the patrilineal ancestor of the line of dukes which ruled Lorraine until 1737 and of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty that ruled Tuscany (1737–1859), the Holy Roman Empire (1745–1807), Austria-Hungary (1780–1918), the Duchy of Parma (1814–1847), Duchy of Modena (1815–1859), and Mexico (1864–1867).


Insming (German: Insmingen) is a commune in the Moselle department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

List of Benedictine monasteries in France

This is a list of Benedictine monasteries, extant and non-extant, in the present territory of France. It includes both monks and nuns following the Rule of Saint Benedict, excluding the Cistercians, for whom see List of Cistercian monasteries in France. Some monasteries however belonged at various times in their histories to both the Benedictines and the Cistercians.

At different times these religious houses have formed various orders, congregations or groups, of which the main ones, as far as French monasteries are concerned, are the following:

the Order of Cluny (Cluniacs)

the Camaldolese (now within the Benedictine Confederation)

the Olivetans (now within the Benedictine Confederation)

the Celestines (now within the Benedictine Confederation)

the Order of Chalais

the Order of Fontevraud (Fontevristes)

the Congregation of Tiron

the Congregation of La Chaise-Dieu (Casadéens)

the Congregation of Saint-Victor (Victorines)

the Bursfelde Congregation

the Alsace Congregation

the Cassinese Congregation (now within the Benedictine Confederation)

the Congregation of Chezal-Benoît

the Congregation of the Exempts of Flanders

the Congregation of the Exempts of France

the Société de Bretagne

the Congregation of St. Vanne (Vannistes)

the Congregation of St. Maur (Mauristes)

the English Benedictine Congregation in exile (1612–1791)

the Congregation of the Allobroges

the Affligem group

the Solesmes Congregation (now within the Benedictine Confederation; formerly known as the Congrégation de France)

the Subiaco Congregation (now within the Benedictine Confederation)

the Fédération du Coeur Immaculé de MarieThe dates in brackets indicate the start and end dates of an abbey's status as a Benedictine monastery, which are not necessarily the same as the dates of its foundation or suppression. All religious houses in France were suppressed during the French Revolution, most of them in 1791. Some communities were revived, and many more new ones established, during the 19th century, but were forced to leave France by anti-clerical legislation during the 1880s (principally the Ferry Laws), and again in the first decades of the 20th century under the Association Act, 1901 (the Waldeck-Rousseau Law).

Abbeys and independent priories currently in operation are indicated by bold type.

Dependent priories are not generally noted in this list, except for a few unusually significant ones.


Lièpvre (French pronunciation: ​[ljɛvʁ]; German: Leberau) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. A monastery was built here in the eighth century by Saint Fulrad, who filled it with relics of Saint Cucuphas and Saint Alexander.

October 30 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

October 29 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - October 31

All fixed commemorations below are observed on November 12 by Eastern Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar.For October 30th, Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar commemorate the Saints listed on October 17.


Saint-Michel is the name or part of the name of many places. Michel is French for Michael, and in most cases, these placenames refer to Michael (archangel).

Sculptures by Ligier Richier

Ligier Richier was a 16th-century religious sculptor working in Lorraine, France and known in particular for his depictions of scenes from the "Passion of Christ". The various episodes of the Passion, between the arrest and the crucifixion of Christ, as recounted in the Gospels (Matthew 27, Luke 22, Mark 15, John 19), were increasingly subject to representation in the Arts towards the end of the Middle Ages, in tandem with the growing popularity of the staging of theatrical mystery plays.

Little is known of Ligier Richier's personal life as a consequence of the scarcity of records available. Thus attribution of works to him faces the same constraints and often relies on the scholarship of people such as Paul Denis, particularly his thesis "l’artiste et son œuvre" published in Paris and Nancy in 1911. A good example of the scarcity of information available is the extent to which researchers have relied on the writing of the Troyes pilgrim Chatourop, recorded through the writings of dom Calmet, for information on the works at Notre Dame in Bar-le-Duc and Saint Pierre in Saint Mihiel. Paul Denis rejects the idea that Richier travelled to Italy and had contact with Michelangelo.

Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel

Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel (c. 760 – c. 840) was a Benedictine monk of Saint Mihiel Abbey, near Verdun. He was a significant writer of homilies, and on the Rule of St Benedict.

The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature [1] allows the possibility that Smaragdus was "perhaps Irish" but gives no further information for this.

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