Saint Peters Abbey

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The Sankt-Peters-Abbey (ndl. Sint-Pietersabdij ) is a former Benedictine abbey in Ghent , the capital of the province of East Flanders in the Kingdom of Belgium. The monastery is located on an old arm of the Scheldt on the Blandinberg ( ndl . : Blandijnberg ), a hill which, at 28 m, is the highest point in Ghent.


Newly laid out vineyard in front of the Sint-Pieterskerk on the Blandinberg
Monastery and Church on Pietersplein (St. Peter's Square)

On a hill called Blandinium , the monk Amandus founded a monastery in the 7th century during the reign of the Frankish King Dagobert , from which the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter (Latin: S. Petri Blandiniensis coenobium ) later emerged. Over the years, the monastery was able to increase its possessions through all kinds of donations. Charlemagne is said to have had the Blandinium monastery restored shortly before his death. Karl's secretary and architect Einhard was appointed lay abbot there by his son and successor Ludwig the Pious . Wine is said to have been grown there on the southern slope of the Blandinberg as early as 815. Around 870, Baldwinus Ferreus (Baldwin with the iron arm), first Count of Flanders (837 / 40–879), acquired the monastery. His son, Baldwin the Bald (879–918), second Count of Flanders, according to the monastery chronicle, died on the hill and was also buried there. Like all monasteries in Flanders, St. Peter also suffered from the Viking raids. Around 960 Count Arnulf the Great had the monastery restored at great expense and shortly afterwards (964) was also laid to rest here. A total of five Flemish counts are said to have been buried here over the Middle Ages, which is why the place has a special meaning in the history of Flanders. Because of its importance, a real monastery village ( Sint-Pietersdorp ) developed around the monastery . Iconoclasm then hit the monastery during the Reformation. After French troops marched in, the monastery was dissolved in 1796. The cultivation of white grapes, which was practiced on the southern slope of the hill, down to the Scheldt , was forbidden by Napoleon , probably to protect the French winegrowers from unpleasant competition. The monks did not return after the occupation ended. The monastery church was used from now on by the neighboring parish, as their church Onze-Lieve-Vrouw was demolished in 1799. The former monastery church has therefore been given the double name Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Sint-Pieterskerk ever since . The monastery building itself served secular purposes. The abbey is now used as a museum and exhibition space, and vines can be seen again on the sunlit southern slope. At the confluence of the Schelde and Leie , not far from the first monastery, Amandus founded another monastery called "Ganda" (today the abbey of St. Bavo: Sint-Baafsabdij ). Aldawin or Allowin von Haspengau , allegedly a son of Pippin von Landen and then brother of Begga and Gertrudis, entered the first monastery of Armandus and took the name Bavo. After his death, his remains were taken to the second monastery, which has been named after him since the 9th century.

Building history

The dome of the church

The Carolingian buildings were largely replaced by those in the Romanesque style in the 12th to 13th centuries . Between 1629 and 1651 a baroque-style church made of sandstone was built, and further alterations in the 18th century gave the complex its present-day appearance. At the beginning of November 1796 the last monks were expelled and the monastery buildings were converted into barracks. The buildings were later used as a prison, which was only closed in 1948. Today, as already mentioned, the former monastery is used as a space for exhibitions.

Document of Ludwig the Pious from the period 814 to 819, in which he grants immunity to the "monasterium Ganda" at the request of Einhard.

List of Abbots (incomplete)

  • Florbertus (7th century)
  • Baudemundus (8th century)
  • Ferrecus (8th century)
  • Hatta (8th century)
  • Celestinus Scottus (8th century)
  • Scoranus (8th century)
  • Folradus (9th century)
  • Einhardus (lay abbot)
  • Ingelramnus (9th century)
  • Womarus (10th century)
  • Cornelis Columbanus Vrancx (16th century)


Page from the Codex Blandiniensis

During the Middle Ages, various manuscripts and documents were created in the writing room of the monastery, such as:

  • the Annales S. Petri Blandiniensis , which provide information about the period from 570 to 1292, in particular with regard to the history of Flanders and the Flemish counts in the Middle Ages. (See: Sources)
  • the Codex Blandiniensis , one of the oldest manuscripts with the texts of the mass chants, was created in the 8th to 9th centuries and is now in the Royal Library in Brussels .
  • the Liber traditionum sancti Petri Blandiniensis (Het boek der schenkingen aan de St.-Pietersabdij / Oorkondenboek der stad Gent) , collection of certificates and documents from the monastery of St. Peter.
  • the Vita Sancti Amandi , a text about the life of the monastery founder from the 8th century, which is attributed to a building fundus as the author. It is likely to be the second abbot of St. Peter's Abbey. One of the surviving manuscripts of this text is now kept in the library of the University of Ghent .


  • Annales S. Petri Blandinienses. In: MGH Scriptores 5: Annales, chronica et historiae aevi Carolini et Saxonici. VII. Annales Blandinienses a. 1 - 1292, ed. Ludw. Bethmann, pp. 20-34 (Latin).
  • Fundatio Blandiniensis coenobii [op. 941, Ghent]. In: M. Gysseling, ACF Koch: The "fragment" van het tiende-eeuwse Liber traditionum van de Sint-Pietersabdij te Gent. In: Bulletin de la Commission royale d'Histoire. Volume 113. Paleis der Academiën, Gent 1948, pp. 253-312 (here pp. 272-299, ) (= Diplomatica Belgica. No. 49, pp. 123-138).
  • Liber traditionum Sancti Petri Blandiniensis. Edited by A. Fayen. Ghent 1906. (Latin text of the documents)
  • B. Krusch: Vita sancti amandi. In: Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores (rerum merov.) Part V, Hanover (Latin).


Dunstan , Archbishop of Canterbury, spent his exile at St Peter's Monastery in Ghent before returning to England in 957. The letters of Wido Blandiniensis and a Uita Dunstani Cantuarensis , written by Adalardus Blandiniensis, have survived.



  • Otto Oppermann: The older documents of the Blandinium monastery and the beginnings of the city of Ghent. 2 volumes. Utrecht 1928.

Web links

Commons : Saint Peters Abbey  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Many places are mentioned here for the first time, such as B. Merendree as villa Merendra in a donation to the monastery of St. Peter for the year 722 under Abbot Baudemundus, made by a Wendelfridus: Annales Blandinienes. MGH 872, p.22
  2. According to the ANNALES REGNI FRANCORUM, Charlemagne first visited the coastal town of Bononia ( Boulogne ) in what was then the far west of Flanders in the year 811 , visited the previously desired and therefore newly built fleet there, had the old lighthouse repaired there and went then to the east of Flanders on the Scheldt, where in Ganda ( Gent ) he examined the construction of the ships for this same fleet. He then returned to Aquae ( Aachen ) in mid-November . (Original text in the annals: "Ipse autem interea propter classem quam anno superiore fieri imperavit videndam, ad Bononiam, civitatem maritimam, ubi eaedem naves congregatae erant, accessit, farumque ibi ad navigantium cursus dirigendos, antiquitus constitutam restauravitem. No . Inde ad Scaldim fluvium veniens, in loco qui Ganda vocatur, naves ad eandem classem aedificatas aspexit, et circa medium Novembrium Aquas venit. ” ) It is very likely that he also visited the two monasteries in Ghent on this occasion and found out about them Informed state.
  3. a b One difficulty in the history of the two monasteries in Ghent is that it is sometimes impossible to decide which of the monasteries is meant. Both the name Sankt Peter and Sankt Bavo are mentioned in Ludwig's document. This allows the assumption that both monasteries were temporarily administered together. Excerpt from the document of Ludwig the Pious (today in the possession of the Ghent city library): “ quia uir uenerabilis einhardus abba ex monasterio quod dicitur ganda quod est situm in pago bracbantinse constructum in honore sti petri principis apostolorum ubi etiam […] s bauo confessor xpi corpore requiescit "
  4. Einhard describes the location of the monastery at the confluence of the Schelde and Leie rivers in one of his writings on two saints (Translatio et Miracula sci Marcellini et Petri): “… de monasterio Sancti Bavonis quod situm est iuxta Scaldim in loco Ganda vocato, ubi idem amnis Legiae flumini coniungitur “ (trans .: ... from the St. Bavo monastery, which is located on the Scheldt, called Ganda in a place where this river joins the Leie river ).
  5. Information on Liber Traditionum : ( Memento of the original from April 15, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (English). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. From the Liber traditionum: Gift of Gerard von Oudenaarde von Land in Oosterzele to the monastery of St. Peter in Gent (Latin).

Coordinates: 51 ° 2 ′ 33 "  N , 3 ° 43 ′ 38"  E