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Abbey of Ferrieres

Situated in the Diocese of Orleans, department of Loiret, and arrondissement of Montargis

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Ferrieres, ABBEY OF, situated in the Diocese of Orleans, department of Loiret, and arrondissement of Montargis. The Benedictine Abbey of Ferrieres-en-Gatinais has been most unfortunate from the point of view of historical science, having lost its archives, its charters, and everything which would aid in the reconstruction of its history. Thus legend and emdulity have had full play. But it is interesting to encounter in the work of an obscure Benedictine of the eighteenth century, Dom Philippe Mazoyer, information perhaps the most accurate and circumspect obtainable. According to Dom Mazoyer there was formerly at Ferrieres a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under the title Notre-Dame de Bethleem de Ferrieres. With regard to the foundation of the abbey, he thinks it cannot be traced beyond the reign of Dagobert (628-38), and he rightly regards as false the Acts of St. Savinian and the charter of Clovis, dated 508, despite the favorable opinion of Dom Morin. Some have based conjectures on the antiquity of portions of the church of Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Ferrieres, which they profess to trace back to the sixth century, but this is completely disproved by arches ological testimony. On the other hand the existence of the abbey about the year 630 seems certain, and rare documents, such as the diploma of Charles the Bald preserved in the archives of Or-leans, bear witness to its prosperity. This prosperity reached its height in the time of the celebrated Loup (Lupus) of Ferrieres (c. 850), when the abbey became a rather active literary center. The library must have benefited thereby, but it shared the fate of the monastery, and is represented today by rare fragments. One of these, preserved at the Vatican library (Reg. 1573), recalls the memory of St. Aldric (d. 836), Abbot of Ferrieres before he become Archbishop of Sens. There is here also a loosely arranged catalogue of some of the abbots of Ferrieres between 887 and 987, which, imperfect though it is, serves to rectify and complete that of the “Gallia Christiana“. Among the last names in the list of the abbots of Ferrieres Is that of Louis de Blanchefort, who in the fifteenth century almost entirely restored the abbey. Grievously tried during the wars of religion, Ferrieres disappeared with all the ancient abbeys at the time of the French Revolution. Its treasures and library were wasted and scattered. Today there are only to be seen some ruins of the ancient monastic buildings. At the time of the Concordat of 1802 and the ecclesiastical reorganization of France, Ferrieres passed from the Archdiocese of Sens to the Diocese of Orleans.

H. LECLERCQ


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