Abbot Oliba

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Oliba (c. 971–1046) was the count of Berga (998–1003) and Ripoll and later bishop of Vic (1018–1046) and abbot of Sant Miquel de Cuixà. He is considered one of the spiritual founders of Catalonia. And perhaps the most important prelate of his age in the Iberian Peninsula.

Oliba was a writer. From his scriptorium at Ripoll flowed a lot of works about his world. Most importantly, are the Arabic manuscripts. He translated it into Latin for the benefit of all Europe.

Family[change | change source]

Oliba was born in circa 971 in an rich family.[1] He was the third son of a Catalan count house. He abdicated his possessions to take up the Benedictine habit in the Monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll. He had three brothers and a sister.

Count life[change | change source]

In 988, the Count Oliba Cabreta takes the habits and retired to Montecassino with St. Romuald, which met in Cuixà.

Oliba begin to do his countal functions. So, while his brother Bernard inherited Besalú and Guifré Cerdanya, Oliva received Berga and Ripoll.

Between 988 and 1002, Oliva was count of Berga and Ripoll. He was associated with his brother Guifré.

Church life[change | change source]

Oliba promoted the movement of Peace and Truce of God (Catalan: Pau i Treva de Déu), towards 1022. In 1027 the agreement of this treaty with other bishops and noblemen took place in Toulouges (Roussillon). In this treaty was said that all agreed to make days in which nobody could fight with anybody and the fugitives could take refuge in churches.

So influential was Oliba, that, in 1023, King Sancho III of Navarre consulted him on the propriety of marrying his sister Urraca to her second cousin Alfonso V of León. The bishop objected, but Sancho ignored him. His letters to the various contemporaneous kings of Spain indicate to us that Alfonso and his successor, Vermudo III, were regarded as imperatore. And the king of Navarre was a mere rex.

Oliba founded or reformed the monasteries of Montserrat (1025), Fluvià, and Canigó. And he consecrated or patronized numerous other churches, such as the Collegiate Basilica of Manresa. It was he who created the Assemblies of Peace and Truce, the seeds of the future Catalan corts. He improved the decoration of his own church at Ripoll and rededicated it on 15 January 1032. He was a close advisor to Count Berengar Raymond I of Barcelona and reconstructed the cathedral of Vic with the support of his Countess Ermesinda. The new cathedral was rededicated to Peter and Paul on 31 August 1038. He died at his monastery at Cuixà in 1046.

Monk and abbot[change | change source]

In August 1002, when he was 31 years old he entered the Benedictine Order in the Monastery of Ripoll.

In 1008, after the death of Abbot Seniofré, Olive was elected abbot of the monastery. Shortly months later he was elected abbot of the Monastery of St. Miquel de Cuixà. Olive began a series of actions to promote a more austere discipline in monasteries.

The fame of the abbot made ​​the following year, 1009, also elected abbot of Sant Martí del Canigó. Other monasteries accommodate his style of government, such as the monasteries of Sant Feliu and Sant Sadurní Tavèrnoles.

Oliba devotes much of its efforts to defend the property and rights of churches to attacks by his manor. In 1011 he had the audience in the Vatican and the Pope Sergius IV won a number of bulls for their monasteries. These papal bulls had significant power: the Pope, God's representative on earth, said that the monasteries and lands owned were under the protection of St. Peter and the Vatican attack on the monastery was an aggression against authority of the Pope.

Santa Maria de Ripoll[change | change source]

Catalonia, in the late tenth century, became a major cultural center, direct access to Arabic science and importantly the accumulated prestige scriptoria monasteries placed the Catalonia Catalan culture as a leader in Europe.

Of all the Catalan scriptorium was the most important Ripoll. Pope Sylvester II introduced in Europe the Arabic numbers and the concept of zero, and the astrolabe thanks to lessons learned Ripoll. The library Ripoll was, at the time of Oliba, which comes to triple the number of volumes under its mandate, together with the Bobbio, one of the most important of all Christendom.

Sant Miquel de Cuixà[change | change source]

Under the mandate of Oliba, the Monastery suffered architectural modifications. Oliba did build a walkway around the sanctuary with three apses. Then, he built a dome over the altar and the crypt erected Nativity, Chapel of the Trinity and the two towers Lombard (of which only one is preserved).

Sant Martí del Canigó[change | change source]

The monastery of St. Martí del Canigó was founded by the brother of Oliba, Count Gifré II of Cerdanya-Conflent. Gifré took an old church at the foot of Canigó and became an important monastery. In 1009 had become church and its community was made ​​up of monks from Cuixà, which became abbot in Oliba community until 1014 in which the community already had enough monks appoint an abbot among them.

Gallery[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Conant, Kenneth John (27 April 1978). Carolingian and Romanesque architecture, 800 to 1200. Penguin Books. p. 473. Retrieved 16 March 2014.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Abbot Oliba at Wikimedia Commons