Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sant Pere de Rodes, near El Port de la Selva, Catalonia

Still on the Ryanair pilgrimage route.

The origins of Sant Pere de Rodes are obscure. In 878, there is a record of there being a small convent here. Jurisdiction was disputed among the Banyoles and Sant Policarp de Rasès monasteries and the Girona bishopric.

Hildesind (947-991) was the first abbot, was the dynamic figure who turned it into a large monastery. He rebuilt the church but it was not consecrated until 1022 due to the difficulties caused by disputes with the Counts of Empúries and Besalú.

The monastery flourished throughout the XIth and XIIth centuries when its church was enlarged and almost entirely renewed. The present church dates from this time.

The church has three naves, the central one with very high barrel vaults balanced by narrow side naves with quarter round vaults. The church has a transept with two small very deep apses and a large central apse with retrochoir with pillars and columns. This remarkable church is one of the most impressive monuments of the Catalan Romanesque.

The monastery, initially formed by twelve friars, had reached 25 brethren in 1215. It immediately became part of the Congregació Claustral Tarraconense (Tarragona Cloister Congregation) and it remained vitally strong up to the end of the XIVth century. It became fortified throughout the XIIIth and XIVth centuries and it was a vantage-point against pirates.

From 1450, there was a slow decline in the monastery. In the late seventeenth century, the Duke of Noailles took away the famous Bible of Rodes, now kept at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris.

The XVIIIth century was witness of total decline of the religious life. In 1793 the French Revolution forced the house to be emptied and the community moved to Vila-sacra (1798), and from there the community moved to Figueres in 1809. The monastery was plundered again in 1835.


The monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes

Monestir de Sant Pere de Rodes