Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Abbey of Ferrières
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Abbey of Ferrières
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Situated in the Diocese of Orléans, department of Loiret, and arrondissement of Montargis. The Benedictine Abbey of Ferrières-en-Gâtinais has been most unfortunate from the view of historical science, having lost its archives, its charters, and everything which would aid in the reconstruction of its history. Thus legend and the existence of the abbey about the credulity 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 Ferrières a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under the title Notre-Dame de Bethleem de Ferrières. 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 favourable opinion of Dom Morin. Some have based conjectures on the antiquity of portions of the church of Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Ferrières, which they profess to trace back the sixth century, but this is completely disproved by archeological 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 Orléans, bear witness to its prosperity. This prosperity reached its height in the time of the celebrated Loup (Lupus) of Ferrières (c. 850), when the abbey became a rather active literary centre. The library must have benefited thereby, but it shared the fate of the monastery, and is represented to-day by rare fragments. One of these, preserved at the Vatican library (Reg.1573) recalls the memory of St. Aldric (d. 836), Abbot of Ferrières before he become Archbishop of Sens. There is here also loosely arranged catalogue of some of the abbots of Ferrières 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 Ferrières is that of Louis de Blanchefort, who in the fifteenth century almost entirely restored the abbey. Grievously tried during the war of religion, Ferrières 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, Ferrières passed from the Archdiocese of Sens to the Diocese of Orléans.