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Abbaye Saint Pierre d'Hautvillers

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Order  Benedictine
Disestablished  1789
Abbaye Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Heritage designation  Classé monument historique
Location  Hautvillers, Marne, Grand Est, France
Similar  Château de Boursault, Gare d'Épernay, Château de Saran, Montagne de Reims Regional, De Castellane

The Abbaye Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers or the Abbey of Saint Peter of Hautvillers is a former Benedictine abbey in the Hautvillers commune of the Marne in north-eastern France. The abbey remained active between 665 and the French Revolution of 1789. It housed the relics of Saint Helena, Empress and mother of Constantine, between 841 and 1819. One of its monks, Dom Pérignon, contributed to the development of sparkling wine in the Champagne region. The building has been classified as a monument of historical value since 1983.

Middle Ages

The abbey was founded in 650 by Saint Nivard, Bishop of Reims. According to legend, a dove indicated where to build an abbey that would follow the order of Saint Benedict and Saint Columbanus. The abbey flourished under the Carolingian Dynasty and drew great renown thanks to its manuscripts, such as the Ebbo Gospels and perhaps the Utrecht Psalter.

Saint Rieul joined the abbey in 662, before succeeding Saint Nivard as Archbishop of Reims in 669. In 841 a priest from Reims stole the relic of the body of Saint Helena from Rome and the reliquary was transferred to the abbey. The relics attracted pilgrims and the revenues allowed the abbey to purchase lands and vineyards in the vicinity (40 hectares).

The remaining relics of St. Helena stayed in the monastery until the French Revolution broke out. The monastery was destroyed but the cellarer was able to hide the relics until they could be safely transported to Paris for public veneration again. They were then entrusted to the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and installed in their church, Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles in 1819.


Abbaye Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers Wikipedia

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