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San Martín de Albelda

San Martín de Albelda

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San Martín de Albelda was a Rioja
Rioja
Rioja or La Rioja may refer to:Spain*Rioja, Almería*La Rioja , a province and autonomous community in northern Spain**Rioja , red and white wines from the province**La Rioja **University of La Rioja...

n monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

, whose ruins now lie within the municipal boundaries of Albelda de Iregua
Albelda de Iregua
Albelda de Iregua is a village in the province and autonomous community of La Rioja, Spain....

. It was an important and advanced cultural centre in Spain and western Europe during the tenth century.

It was founded on 5 January 924 by Sancho Garcés I and Toda Aznárez, monarchs of Navarre, in gratitude for the recent reconquest
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 of Nájera
Nájera
Nájera is a small town located in the "Rioja Alta" region of La Rioja, Spain on the river Najerilla. Nájera is a stopping point on the Way of St James.-History:...

 and Viguera
Viguera
Viguera is a municipality in La Rioja, Spain. It includes the villages Castañares de las Cuevas, El Puente, and Panzares.-History:The earliest documentary evidence is in the Berber historian Ajbar Machmua, who told that Abd ar-Rahman I recovered La Rioja in 759, after it having been conquered by...

 (923) in conjunction with Ordoño II of León
Ordoño II of León
Ordoño II was king of Galicia from 910, and king of Galicia and León from 914 until his death. He was the second son of King Alfonso III the Great and his wife, Jimena of Pamplona....

. The community was founded secundum Benedicti regulam uel id quod a sanctis patribus didicisti, that is, according to the Benedictine rule. It took its name—monasterium Albaidense or Albaildense—from the Muslim fortress of al-Bayadh (the White), on the site of which it was founded. Its first abbot was named Peter, but on 5 January 925, in a royal privilege granted on the anniversary of its founding, the abbot was Gabellus, suggesting that the monastery had perhaps been attacked during the invasion of Abd ar-Rahman III the previous year.

The house prospered under the repoblación
Repoblación
The Repoblación was the ninth-century repopulating of a large region between the River Duero and the Cantabrian Cordillera which had been depopulated in the early years of the Reconquista....

, as it lay on trade routes connecting Álava
Álava
Álava is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Álava. Its capital city is Vitoria-Gasteiz which is also the capital of the autonomous community...

, Castile, and Navarre north of the Ebro
Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

. In 950 Albelda had two hundred monks when the French bishop Godescalcus, making the first Jacobean pilgrimage known to history, stopped at the monastery in order that his amanuenses could copy the De uirginitate beatae Mariae of Ildephonsus of Toledo
Ildephonsus of Toledo
Saint Ildefonsus or Ildephonsus was the metropolitan bishop of Toledo from 657 until his death. He was a Visigoth and his Gothic name was Hildefuns, which evolved into the Castilian name Alfonso. Ildefonsus, however, is known as San Ildefonso in Castilian and there are several places named after him...

. By that time it also possessed one daughter house: San Prudencio de Laturce. In 976 the abbey's scriptorium compiled and illustrated the Codex Albeldensis, a parchment manuscript of 430 folios. It contains the first visual representations of Spanish monarchs (images of Sancho Garcés II, Ramiro Garcés
Ramiro Garcés of Viguera
Ramiro Garcés was the King of Viguera from 970 to his death. He was the son of García Sánchez I of Pamplona by his second wife, Theresa of León...

, and Urraca Fernández
Urraca Fernández
Urraca Fernández , infanta of Castile and daughter of Count Fernán González, was the queen consort of two Kings of León and one King of Navarre between 951 and 994...

), illustrated within those monarchs' lifetimes, and also the first record of Arabic numerals
Arabic numerals
Arabic numerals or Hindu numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals or Indo-Arabic numerals are the ten digits . They are descended from the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians, in which a sequence of digits such as "975" is read as a numeral...

 in western Europe (the numbers 1–9, but not 0, are represented). Besides the Godescalcus' copy of Idelphonsus and the Codex Albeldensis there was the Liber Ordinum of the Mozarabic rite
Mozarabic Rite
The Mozarabic, Visigothic, or Hispanic Rite is a form of Catholic worship within the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, and in the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church . Its beginning dates to the 7th century, and is localized in the Iberian Peninsula...

, copied at San Pedro in 1052.

Under the powerful Navarrese monarch Sancho Garcés III, the abbey received the castle of Clavijo
Clavijo
Clavijo is a municipality of the autonomous community of La Rioja . It is located near the capital, Logroño. , its population was of 276 inhabitants....

 and Albelda was made a diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

. The bishops of Albelda made their seat in San Martín between 1033 and 1092. The monastery declined after that. Between 1167 and 1180 it was converted to a collegiate church
Collegiate church
In Christianity, a collegiate church is a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons; a non-monastic, or "secular" community of clergy, organised as a self-governing corporate body, which may be presided over by a dean or provost...

 under the Rule of Saint Augustine. In 1435 it was united to the Concatedral de Santa María de la Redonda through a bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 of Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV , born Gabriele Condulmer, was pope from March 3, 1431, to his death.-Biography:He was born in Venice to a rich merchant family, a Correr on his mother's side. Condulmer entered the Order of Saint Augustine at the monastery of St. George in his native city...

 on the advice of Diego López de Zúñiga, Bishop of Calahorra, in whose diocese Albelda lay.