Gall (2)

Gall ST., monastery of, one of the most celebrated monasteries of Europe, at St. Gall, in Switzerland. It was founded in the 7th century. Its wealth and reputation became very great under Othmar, its first abbot (720-760), who founded a hospital for lepers in connection with the monastery. In the 8th century it became distinguished for learning, especially under abbot Gosbert (815-837). "The abbey of St. Gall gradually became one of the masterpieces of mediaeval architecture; and the genius and skill which were lavished on its construction, and on the decoration of its halls and cloisters, had a large share in developing the Christian art of the period. The monks of St. Gall, too, may be reckoned among the best friends and preservers of ancient literature. They were indefatigable in the collection and transcription of MSS. — Biblical, patristic, sacred and profane history, classical, liturgical, and legendary. Several of the classics, especially Quintilian, Silius Italicus, and Amnemianus Marcellinus, have been preserved solely through the MSS. of St. Gall. For a time the abbey was subject to the bishop of Constance, and an animiated dispute was for a long time maintained between that prelate and the monks as to the right of electing the abbot. It ended, however, in the recognition of the right of free election; and ultimately, from the growth of the monastic possessions, and the important position which the abbot held, the monastic domain, which comprised a great part of northern Switzerland, became a distinct jurisdiction, within which the abbot, like many of his brethren in the great Benedictine monasteries, exercised all the rights of a suzerain. For several centuries the abbey of St. Gall held one of the highest places in the order. Its schools enjoyed wide reputation. Its members held a distinguished place among the scholars of medieval Germany; and many of them, as, for example, Notker, are known to have cultivated not only the ordinary learning of the schools, but also physic, mathematics, and astronomy. The school of St. Gall, too, was one of the most eminent for the cultivation of music, and its MSS., preserved in its library, have been extensively made use of by the restorers of ancient ecclesiastical music. A town of considerable importance grew up around the monastery, and was called by the same name; and as the wealth and influence which attached to the dignity of the abbot began to make it an object of ambition to rich and powerful families, we find the succession of abbots, in the 13th and 14th centuries, sadly degenerated from their pious and learned predecessors in the office. A stringent reform was enforced about the time of the Council of Constance; but the burghers of St. Gall had grown dissatisfied under this rule, and on the outbreak of the Reformation in 1525 they threw off their subjection, and embraced the new doctrines. At the close, however, of the religious war in 1532, the Catholic religion was re-established, and the abbot reinstated, though with diminished authority, in his ancient dignity. At the French Revolution, the abbey of St. Gall was secularized (1798), and its revenues were soon afterwards sequestrated (1805). By a later ecclesiastical arrangement, the abbacy of St. Gall was raised to the dignity of a bishopric, which in 1823 was united to that of Chur. They were afterwards, however, separated, and in 1847 St. Gall was erected into a bishopric, with a distinct jurisdiction." — Chambers, Encyclopaedia, s.v.; Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 4:643.

Bible concordance for GALL.

Definition of gall

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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