Gembloux Abbey was a Benedictine abbey founded about 945 by Saint Guibert or Wibert and dedicated to Saint Peter and the martyr Saint Exuperius. In 954 the Hungarians threatened to pillage the monastery. Guibert not only saved it from harm but also converted some Hungarians to Christianity. On 23 May 962, Guibert died at Gorze and his remains were brought for burial to Gembloux.

Olbert (1012-1048) built a new abbey church in 1022, organized a rich library, and by encouraging sacred and secular learning gave the first impulse to the subsequent flourishing condition of Gembloux. During the period of its greatest intellectual activity the abbey was ruled by Mysach (1048-1071), Thietmar (1071-1092), Liethard (1092-1115) and Anselm (1115-1136).

Under Thietmar flourished the famous chronicler Sigebert of Gembloux (1030-1112), who in a neat Latin style wrote a chronicle of the world from 381-1111, a history of the abbots of Gembloux and other historical works of great value. His chronicle was continued by Abbot Anselm till 1136, and his history of the abbots of Gembloux by the monk Gottschalk, a disciple of Sigebert. The learned prior Guerin, a famous teacher at the abbey school, was a contemporary of Sigebert.

In 1157 and again in 1185 the monastery was destroyed by fire, and though rebuilt, it began from this period to decline in importance. In 1505, under Abbot Arnold II de Solbrecg (1501-1511), it became affiliated to the Bursfeld Union.

The abbey was pillaged by the Calvinists in 1598, and was partly destroyed by fire in 1678 and again in 1712. It was just beginning to recover from these heavy misfortunes when in 1793 the Revolutionary government suppressed it.

The buildings, which largely survived, are used for the Agronomical University of Gembloux.

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Founded: 945 AD
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

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