Floreffe Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery. When Norbert of Xanten, founder of the Premonstratensian Order, was returning from Cologne in the year after its foundation with relics for his new church at Prémontré, Godfrey, Count of Namur, and his wife Ermensendis received him in their castle at Namur. He made such an impression on them that they asked him to found a house at Floreffe nearby. The charter by which they made over a church and house to Norbert and his order is dated 27 November 1121, so that Floreffe is, chronologically speaking, the second abbey of the order. Norbert laid the foundations of the church.
The chronicles of the abbey relate that while celebrating mass at Floreffe, Saint Norbert saw a drop of blood issuing from the sacred host onto the paten. Distrusting his own eyes, he said to the deacon who assisted him: 'Brother, do you see what I see?' 'Yes, Father' answered the deacon, 'I see a drop of blood which gives out a brilliant light'. The altar stone on which the saint celebrated mass is still preserved at Floreffe.
Saint Norbert made Richard, one of his first disciples, the first abbot. The second abbot, Almaric, was commissioned by Pope Innocent II to preach the gospel in Palestine. Accompanied by a band of chosen religious of Floreffe, he journeyed to the Holy Land and founded the abbey of St. Habacuc (1137). Philip, Count of Namur, gave to Weric, the sixth abbot, a large piece of the True Cross which he had received from his brother Baldwin, Emperor of Constantinople. The chronicles record that twice, namely in 1204 and 1254, blood flowed from this relic on the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross, the miracle being witnessed by the religious and by a large crowd of people. At the suppression of Floreffe Abbey, the relic was removed to a place of safety. When, years later, the Norbertine canons, who had been expelled from France, bought an old Augustinian monastery at Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, it was restored to them.
Louis de Fromantau, elected in 1791, was the fifty-fifth and last abbot of Floreffe. When the French Republican army invaded Belgium the religious were expelled, and the abbey was confiscated along with all its possessions. Put up for sale in 1797, it was bought back for the abbot and his community by Canon Richald masquerading as a Republican. After the Concordat of 1801 the abbot and a few of the monks returned to the abbey, but the difficulties were so great that after the death of the last of them the abbey became the property of the Bishop of Namur, who set up a seminary here.
The seminary is no longer in operation. It has become a school (elementary and secondary). Much of the earlier buildings survives and the authorities of the school welcome visitors.
The abbey beer 'Floreffe' is produced for the abbey by Brasserie Lefebvre, it is available in various styles: blonde, double, triple, blanche and prima melior. Despite its name, the abbey has no ties with the cheese of the same name.References:
The Walled City of Jajce is a medieval fortified nucleus of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with citadel high above town on top of pyramidal-shaped steep hill, enclosed with approximately 1,300 metres long defensive walls,. It is one of the best preserved fortified capitals of the Bosnian Kingdom, the last stronghold before the kingdom dissolved under the pressure of military advancement at the onset of Ottoman Empire takeover.
The entire complex of the Walled city of Jajce, with the citadel, city ramparts, watchtower Medvjed-kula, and two main city gate-towers lies on the southern slope of a large rocky pyramid at the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas, enclosed by these rivers from the south-southwest, with the bed of the Pliva, and east-southeast by the river Vrbas gorge.
The fortress was built by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, the founder of Jajce. However, the city became the seat of the Bosnian kings, hence the royal coat of arms decoration on the citadel entrance. A part of the wall was built by the Hungarian King, while the Ottomans erected the powder magazine. The walls are high and the castle was built on a hill that is egg shaped, the rivers Pliva and Vrbas also protect the castle. There is no rampart on the south and west.
Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the Black Death.
The first reference to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic; the Ottomans besieged the town and executed him, but held it only for six months, before the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus seized it at the siege of Jajce and established the Banovina of Jajce.
Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by Ivaniš Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.
During this period, Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary"s Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. The town then lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further north and west.
Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.
The Walled city of Jajce is located at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. It was founded and started developing in the Middle Ages and acquired its final form during the Ottoman period. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. It is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as the old Jajce city core, including the waterfall, and other individual sites outside the walled city perimeter, such as the Jajce Mithraeum, it is designated as The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce and proposed as such for inscription into the UNESCO"s World Heritage Site list. The bid for inscription is currently placed on the UNESCO Tentative list.