History of the Abbey

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From its origins to the French Revolution

- 779: Abbot Nimphibius rebuilds the primitive monastery. Charlemagne promises his protection to the new abbey.

- IXth – Xth centuries: pinnacle of the temporal and spiritual power of the Abbey of Lagrasse.

- XIIth – XIIIth centuries: in the politico-religious conflict caused by the Cathar heresy, the Abbots play a peacemaking role.

- XIIIth – XVth centuries: after something of a decline, the abbey under Abbot Auger de Gogenx undergoes a spiritual reform and an architectural revival (the Gothic church dates from this period).

- XVIIth century: the Benedictine reform of Saint-Maur takes hold in 1663, providing spiritual and intellectual renewal.

- XVIIIth century: Armand Bazin de Bezons, Bishop of Carcassonne, becomes Abbot of Lagrasse; a new style (classical) is introduced (see the cloister), and new buildings enlarge the Abbey (see the court of honour and the conventual building).

1792: the French Révolution:

The monks are hunted down, contrary to the wishes of the people of Lagrasse. The Abbey is pillaged.

The buildings are split in two lots:

One third of the buildings (10% of the entire property) comprises the:
- the Abbot’s courtyard and chapel
- the monks’ dormitory
- the pre-Roman tower
- the northern transept of the church
Two thirds of the buildings (90% of the entire property) comprise:
- the church
- the cloister
- the conventual building
- the wings surrounding the court of honour
- the gardens

From the Revolution until today

Here is a list of successive proprietors or occupiers of the two lots following the French Revolution:

- 1795-1796: Military hospital with 400 beds (BAIL)

1796 François Berlioz (1760-1828) instals tanneries Bernard Sarrail (+ 1828) then his son Léon live there for a while; they put the abbey into tenant farming.
Beginning of the XIXth century The buildings were largely unoccupied and in a very poor state.
1822-1845 barracks for three gendarmes in the fore-courtyard. Nine tenths of the abbey were transformed into a farm.
1845-1893 Gout de Bize family
1894-1976 Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows (retreat house).
1928 Social work by the Médaillés militaires (orphanage)
1976 Departure of the religious
1979 Community of the Theophany
1981 The Mairie of Lagrasse
1990 Departure of the Theophany
1993 SIVOM (Community of communes)
1995 H and A Pregizer, Germans
2004 Community of the Canons Regular of the Mother of God.
The abbey is reopened to visitors.
2005 Conseil Général of Aude (which rents or lends out the premises for various activities totally independent of the Canons).