Anselme Dimier

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Anselme Dimier (born February 20, 1898 in Valenciennes , † May 4, 1975 in Chimay ) was a French Trappist , art historian , religious historian and archaeologist .

life and work

Joseph Dimier, whose father Louis Dimier (1865–1943) was a well-known art historian and member of Action française , attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris , volunteered for the army and fought on the front lines from 1917 to 1918. In 1919 he was (again voluntarily) an officer in a punishment company in Tunisia. In 1926 he entered the Trappist monastery of Tamié , made his solemn profession in 1931 (under Abbot Alexis Presse ) and accepted the religious name Anselme . In 1932 he was ordained a priest. In Tamié he began to study Cistercian history and built up a comprehensive library. From 1939 to 1940 he did military service again. In 1948 (officially 1950), because of the better research conditions, he moved from Tamié to Scourmont Abbey near Chimay on the Belgian-French border, where the outstanding historian Joseph-Marie Canivez was librarian, and stayed there until his death.

After starting in Tamié (1926) and Bonnevaux Monastery (1933), Dimier undertook archaeological excavations in the summer of 1959 with young volunteers in the ruins of the Cistercian monasteries Foigny (1959), Igny (1962), Trois-Fontaines (1963–1964) and above all from 1965 to 1975 (under the direction of the Jesuit René Courtois, 1923–2005) in Vauclair (from 1960 to 1965 also in the Premonstratensian Abbey of Lieu-Restauré near Villers-Cotterêts ).

Due to the quality of his numerous research contributions on the history of the Cistercians as well as the development of a wide-ranging, intensive correspondence with the French and European specialists in his field of research, Dimier grew (almost autodidactically) to an authority in his subject, to whom - not least because of the mixture of strictest spirituality, extreme athleticism and human warmth - real admiration was given. The archaeologist Benoît Chauvin, who dedicated a commemorative publication in six volumes to him (with the help of numerous colleagues), calls him a “maître incomparable”.

Dimier was a Knight of the Legion of Honor .

Publications (selection)

  • Un régulier chez les joyeux. Histoire vraie , Paris, Grasset, 1928 (experiences from his time in Tunisia; joyeux here means "soldier of an African punishment company")
  • Saint-Hugues de Bonnevaux, de l'ordre de Cîteaux, 1120-1194 , Grenoble 1941 (on Hugo von Bonnevaux , foreword by Gustave Dupont-Ferrier, 1865-11956).
  • (Ed.) Cartulaire de l'Abbaye N.-D. de Bonnevaux au diocèse de Vienne. Ordre de Cîteaux , Tamié 1942 ( copy book of Bonnevaux monastery in the Archdiocese of Vienne ).
  • Clarté, paix et joie. Les beaux noms des monastères de Cîteaux en France , Lyon, Abeille, 1944 (on the names of the monasteries).
  • La sombre bustard. Les légend et la vérité , St. Wandrille, Fontenelle, 1946 (correction of the gloomy image of La Trappe ).
  • Saint Bernard et la Savoie , Annecy, Gardet et Garin, 1948.
  • Amédée de Lausanne. Disciple de Saint Bernard , Saint Wandrille, Fontenelle, 1949 (44 + 490 pages; on Amadeus von Lausanne ).
  • Recueil de plans d'églises cisterciennes. Grignan. Abbaye Notre-Dame d'Aiguebelle , 2 vols., Paris, Librairie d'art ancien et modern, 1949–1967 (floor plan collection of the Aiguebelle monastery ).
  • Saint Bernard "pêcheur de Dieu" , Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1953 (preface by Jean Leclercq , 1911–1993).
  • Saint Louis et Cîteaux , Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1954 (preface by Gustave Cohen ).
  • (with Jean Porcher ) L'Art cistercien. France , Saint-Léger-Vauban, Zodiaque / Paris, Achille Weber, 1962, 3rd edition, 1982 (covers the monasteries Sénanque , Silvanès (sic), Léoncel , Obazine , Le Thoronet , Fontfroide , Noirlac , Pontigny , Flaran and Silvacane ) .
    • (German) The art of the Cistercians in France , Würzburg, Zodiaque-Echter, 1986.
  • Les moines bâtisseurs , Paris, Fayard, 1964.
    • (English) Stones laid before the Lord. A history of monastic architecture , Kalamazoo, Cistercian Publications, 1999.
  • L'Art cistercien hors de France , Saint-Léger-Vauban, Zodiaque, 1971.
  • (Ed. With Emile Brouette and Eugène Manning , 1931–1995) Dictionnaire des auteurs cisterciens , Rochefort, Belgium, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy de Rochefort, 1975–1978 (754 columns).
  • Bibliography générale de l'Ordre cistercien. 4, 2–3, Personnes. Recueil de documents pour servir à l'histoire des reliques de S. Pierre II de Tarentaise , Rochefort, Belgium, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy de Rochefort, 1978 (concerns Peter of Tarentaise ).


  • Maur Cocheril , [Obituary, French], in: Collectanea Cisterciensia 39, 1977, pp. 161-169.
  • Mélanges à la mémoire du Père Anselme Dimier , ed. by Benoît Chauvin, Arbois, Pupillin, 1982–1987.
    • 1. Père Anselme Dimier. L'Homme, l'œuvre, 1987.
    • 2. Father Anselme Dimier. Travaux inédits et rééditions, 1987.
    • 3. Histoire cistercienne. Ordre, moines, 1984.
    • 4. Histoire cistercienne. Abbayes, 1984.
    • 5. Architecture cistercienne. Ordre, fouilles, 1982.
    • 6. Architecture cistercienne. Abbayes, 1982.
  • Studies in Cistercian art and architecture. 2. Studies in Cistercian architecture in memory of Père Marie-Anselme Dimier , ed. by Meredith Parsons Lillich, Kalamazoo, Cistercian Publications, 1984.
  • Actes du Congrès Anselme Dimier, Abbaye de Noirlac. Bruère-Allichamps, 21-25 June 1986. Fouilles cisterciennes européennes. Bilans nationaux , ed. by Benoît Chauvin, Arbois, Pupillin, 2000.

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