Founded at Reims before 590. Its early history is very obscure; at first a little chapel dedicated to St. Christopher, it obtained great renown when it acquired the relics of St. Remy in 553, and gifts poured in upon it from pious donors. By the ninth century the abbey possessed about 700 domains and was perhaps the richest in France. It seems probable that secular priests were the first guards of the relics, but were succeeded by the Benedictines. From 780 to 945 the archbishops of Reims were its abbots. It was there that Charlemagne received Leo III. In 1005 the Abbot Aviard undertook to rebuild the Church of St-Remy, and for twenty years the work went on uninterruptedly but then collapsed. The Abbot Theodoric erected a magnificent basilica which in 1049 Leo IX dedicated and granted many special privileges. The schools and the library were, during the Middle Ages, of such great repute that Alexander III wrote a commendatory letter to the Abbot Peter. The archbishops of Reims and several princes, Carloman, Charlemagne's brother, Henri d'Orléans (d. about 1653), and several kings, Louis IV and Lothaire, were buried in the monastery.
Among the illustrious men of the abbey may be mentioned: Henri de Lorraine (1622-1641), who affiliated, in 1642, the abbey to the Congregation of St. Maur; J. Nicolas Colbert (1665), later archbishop of Rouen ; Charles Maurice le Tellier (1680-1710); and Joseph de Rothechouart, appointed abbot by the king in 1745.
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