Count Wilfrid II of Barcelona founded c. 880 a Benedictine monastery
dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Ripoll (or Rivapolli), Catalonia. He gave
the monks books and the raw materials (precious metals and jewels) to make
liturgical vessels. In the X Century, Ripoll expanded, adding a
scriptorium and a mill to its structures, and the monks began to translate
Arabic works into Latin. Monks from Ripoll founded a daughterhouse at
Montserrat. In 951, Agapetus II removed the monastery from the rule of
bishops and gave it papal protection. The monastery reached the height of
its fame under Abbot Oliva (1008- 1046) , who encouraged scholarship,
built a new church, and persuaded Sergius IV to place the monastery under
papal jurisdiction. The XII-Century
Visitatio sepulchri, a complex mystery
play about the resurrection, may have been written at Ripoll, which began
to decline in the latter half of that century because of quarrels between
the monks and the monastery's patron, Bernard II of Besalý. Bernard made
the monastery a dependency of St-Victor in Paris. Having suffered from bad
abbots and the effects of wars, Ripoll joined in the XVI Century a
congregation of 30 Benedictine monasteries. During the Carlist wars of the
XIX Century, the monastery was destroyed, and any manuscript not sent to
Paris or Barcelona was burned.
Karen Rae Keck
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