Belmont Abbey, North Carolina

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Belmont Abbey
USA North Carolina location map.svg
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Location within North Carolina
Monastery information
Full nameAbbey of Mary, Help of Christians
Order Benedictines
EstablishedApril 1876
Mother house St. Vincent Archabbey
Dedicated to Mary, Help of Christians
Diocese Charlotte
Controlled churches Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary
Founder(s) Dom Herman Wolfe, O.S.B.
Abbot The Rt. Rev. Placid Solari, O.S.B.
Important associated figuresAbbot-Bishop Leo Haid, O.S.B.
Heritage designation National Register of Historic Places
Style Gothic Revival
Location Belmont, North Carolina, United States
Coordinates 35°15′41″N81°02′38″W / 35.2613°N 81.0438°W / 35.2613; -81.0438 Coordinates: 35°15′41″N81°02′38″W / 35.2613°N 81.0438°W / 35.2613; -81.0438
Belmont Abbey Cathedral
NRHP reference # 73001343
Added to NRHPApril 11, 1973

The Abbey of Mary Help of Christians, better known as Belmont Abbey, is a small American monastery of Benedictine monks and Basilica [1] in the town of Belmont, Gaston County, North Carolina, outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. [1]

Belmont, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

Belmont is a small suburban city in Gaston County, North Carolina, United States, located about 15 miles (24 km) west of uptown Charlotte and 9 miles (14 km) east of Gastonia. The population was 10,076 at the 2010 census. Once known as Garibaldi Station, the name change for Belmont is disputed. Some say it was named for a prominent New York banker - August Belmont. Others contend the Pope ordered the abbot of the monastery to change the name since he would not tolerate an abbey in a place that bore the Garibaldi name. The abbot could see Crowder's mountain from the property and named the town Belmont - "beautiful mountain". Belmont is home to Belmont Abbey College.

Gaston County, North Carolina County in the United States

Gaston County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 206,086. The county seat is Gastonia. Dallas served as the original county seat from 1846 until 1911.

Charlotte, North Carolina Largest city in North Carolina

Charlotte is the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont, it is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population was 859,035, making it the 17th-most populous city in the United States. The Charlotte metropolitan area's population ranks 22nd in the U.S., and had a 2016 population of 2,474,314. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a sixteen-county market region or combined statistical area with a 2016 census-estimated population of 2,632,249.



The abbey was founded in 1876 by Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and is the motherhouse to Saint Leo Abbey in Tampa, Florida, as well as Mary Mother of the Church Abbey in Richmond, Virginia. The monks also are the benefactors of Belmont Abbey College, a four-year Catholic liberal arts school.

Saint Vincent Archabbey

Saint Vincent Archabbey, is a Roman Catholic Benedictine Monastery in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the city of Latrobe. A member of the American-Cassinese Congregation, it is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the United States and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The Benedictine monks of St. Vincent operate and teach Saint Vincent Basilica Parish, Saint Vincent College, and Saint Vincent Seminary. The monks also provide pastoral care for Catholics in the Dioceses of Baltimore, Greensburg, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Altoona-Johnstown, and Richmond. The monks also run a military school in Savannah, Georgia. The Archabbey also oversees Wimmer Priory in Taiwan, and Saint Benedict Priory in Brazil.

Latrobe, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Latrobe is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the United States and part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

Saint Leo Abbey

Saint Leo Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in Saint Leo, Florida, United States.

From 1910 through 1977, Belmont Abbey was a territorial abbey, exercising some functions of a diocese. It had authority over parishes in the North Carolina counties of Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, Burke, Lincoln, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford. In 1944, its territory, except for Gaston County, was given to the Diocese of Raleigh. In July 1960, Gaston County too was placed under the Diocese of Raleigh. In 1977, its status as a territorial abbey was suppressed under the Diocese of Charlotte. [2]

Territorial abbey

A territorial abbey is a particular church of the Catholic Church comprising defined territory which is not part of a diocese but surrounds an abbey or monastery whose abbot or superior functions as ordinary for all Catholics and parishes in the territory. Such an abbot is called a territorial abbot or abbot nullius diœceseos. A territorial abbot thus differs from an ordinary abbot, who exercises authority only within the monastery's walls or to monks or canons who have taken their vows there. A territorial abbot is equivalent to a bishop in Catholic canon law.

Belmont Abbey basilica was built between 1892 and 1894, and is a large cruciform plan, Gothic Revival style brick church. It has a steep gable roof and the front facade features two towers of unequal size. [3]

Gothic Revival architecture architectural movement

Gothic Revival is an architectural movement popular in the Western World that began in the late 1740s in England. Its popularity grew rapidly in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. Gothic Revival draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, hood moulds and label stops.

The cathedral was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. [3]

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

The abbey currently numbers about twenty monks.

Dates of interest

Minor basilica title given to some Roman Catholic churches

A minor basilica is a Catholic church building that has been granted the title of basilica by the Holy See or immemorial custom. Presently, the authorising decree is granted by the Pope through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

See also

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  1. 1 2 "Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Belmont, North Carolina, USA". Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  2. Belmont-Mary Help of Christians Territorial Abbey
  3. 1 2 Survey and Planning Unit Staff (October 1972). "Belmont Abbey Cathedral" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-11-01.