Books written in French
« The History of Luxeuil Monastery and of its Abbots ( 590-1790 ) »
by Docteur Gilles CUGNIER .
Grand Prize for History by the National Academy in Rheims :
How did a humble monastery, set up at the foot of the Vosges mountains round about 590 by the Irish monk St Columbanus and his twelve companions become an authentic spiritual and cultural beacon of western civilisation in the early Middle Ages ?
Why was the abbey, which adopted the benedictine rule as early as the 7th century, such an important stake in the feudal struggles between the Holy Empire and the Kingdom of France, between the County of Champagne and the Duchies of Burgundy and Lorraine ?
For what reasons did noble families in Europe send their children to the monastery throughout the twelve centuries of its sometimes agitated existence ?
In the three volumes he wrote after several decades of a fundamental research which took him all over Europe, the author presents with passion the various aspects of monastic life in a famous monastery whose influence spread far and wide on the continent.
Abundantly illustrated (often with hitherto unpublished documents) and attractively made up, each volume becomes something of an art book, which satisfies both the eye and the mind.
Historian and Vice President of
« Les Amis de Saint Colomban ».
Volume 1+2+3 = 100 euros, Except postal charges
VOLUME 1. The First Three Centuries from 590 to 888.
Published in January 2004: 320 pages, 121 illustrations. 40 euros
This volume takes us from the setting up of the monastery, at the end of the 6th century, to the destruction of the abbey in 888.
It enables us to understand how a handful of Irish monks expanded into a network of about fifty monasteries on the continent.
With the arrival of Walbert, these became authentic educational centres with an active intellectual life; they were open to all, including those who had no desire to become monks. It was thanks to their efforts that Europe could recover from the fall of the Roman Empire. It is not surprising that Charlemagne should have taken up again this educational project and extended it to all his subjects.
Miniature du Ms 698,folio 6, Bibliothèque municipale The monastery created « the Luxeuil script »
de Saint-Omer (9th century) The Luxeuil Lectionary ( 5th century ).
VOLUME 2. From 895 to 1495.
Edition Guéniot, Langres, Published in January 2005 : 197 pages, 75 illustrations. 40 euros
Volume 2 relates the activity of the abbots who, despite all sorts of upheavals which occurred in the second part of the Middle Ages, succeeded in restoring the prestige of the old monastic school and gave the town administrative structures and new buildings.
The abbot’s crosier,
Evangéliaire de luxeuil
Luxeuil contributed to the Golden Fleece. The monastery caught in the upheaval of war :
the tombstone of Knight H. de Perdris ( 15th century ).
The cloister ( 15th century ).
Saint Peter’s Abbey Church, rebuilt in the 13th century
Birthplace of Cardinal Jean Jouffroy, who was a complex and sometimes ambiguous character ;
he was a friend of the Duke of Burgundy and of the French king Louis XI. Saint Peter’s Abbey Church, rebuilt in the 13th century
VOLUME 3. The Last Centuries -from 1495 to 1790.
Published in December 2005 by the association :
« les Amis de St-Colomban »., 28 pages, 135 illustrations. 40 euros
This volume with a limited run sums up the activity of the monastery and its abbots from the end of the 15th century to the French Revolution which destroyed it along with the monarchy.
Several chapters deal with how in 1634 it was reformed into a true benedictine monastery stricty following St Benedict’s rule.
Other chapters describe the continuous wars first with Lorraine then with France which culminated, on the thirteenth of June 1674, in uniting the « Franche Comté » with the kingdom of France under Louis XIV.
We can then see how the new benedictine community evolved, gradually attracted to Jansenism and new ideas.
Finally, some foreboding events are described which help us understand how society was gradually weakened until it utterly collapsed in 1789.
The last pages present a biography of Dom Herménégilde Grappin, who was a historian of the abbey and above all a keen partisan of the constitutional church.
J.L. de Clermont Tonnerre, last abbot in Luxeuil.
The grand organ in the abbey church
A bird’s eye view of the abbey.
Merci à M. Claude Zoppi pour la traduction