Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saint-Leu Abbey, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent

Saint-Leu Abbey, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent 1

Saint-Leu Abbey, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent 2

Saint-Leu Abbey, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent 3

Saint-Leu Abbey, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent 4

Saint-Leu Abbey, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent 5

Séraphin Médéri Mieusement 1840-1905
Church of Saint Nicholas at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, Picardy
ca. 1877-ca. 1890
Albumen print
14.6457 x 10.2756 in.; 37.2 x 26.1 cm
A.D. White Architectural Photographs Collection, Cornell University Library

Sketch of the Triforium at the Church of Saint Nicholas at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, Picardy from Eugène Viollet le Duc, Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XIe siècle (1856)

The church of the priory of Saint-Leu-d’Esserent (Picardy), was directly dependent on Cluny Abbey

In 1081 Hugh, Count of Dammartin gave the church of Hescerent (a Romanesque chapel of the tenth century) to the Benedictines of Cluny Abbey in thanksgiving for the ransom which they had paid for his freedom when he was taken prisoner in Palestine.

The priory was constructed ca. 1150-ca. 1199. Additions were made over the centuries

The prior was already declared a historic monument in 1840

The site is especially noted for the triforium, the shallow gallery of arches within the thickness of inner wall, which stands above the nave in a church or cathedral

The architect is anonymous

During the Second World War the church was materally damaged during Allied raids ("Operation Crossbow") but was restored after the War. During World War II, the nearby mushroom caves were one of three major underground V-1 flying bomb storage depots. In addition to the caves, the facility included blockhouses, bunkers, flak emplacements and railway links. Allied intelligence firmly identified late in June 1944 that Saint-Leu-d'Esserent and Nucourt were V-1 storage depots

In a recent audience (18th November 2009) Pope Benedict XVI discussed the building of Europe`s Cathedrals in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries:

"In the 12th and 13th centuries, beginning in the north of France, another type of architecture spread in the construction of sacred buildings: the Gothic. ...

Dear brothers and sisters, I now wish to underline two elements of Romanesque and Gothic art, which are also useful for us.

The first: the works of art born in Europe in past centuries are incomprehensible if one does not take into account the religious soul that inspired them. ...

The second element: the force of the Romanesque style and the splendor of the Gothic cathedrals remind us that the via pilchritudinis, the way of beauty, is a privileged and fascinating way to approach the Mystery of God. What is beauty, which writers, poets, musicians, and artists contemplate and translate into their language, if not the reflection of the splendor of the Eternal Word made flesh? St. Augustine states: "Ask the beauty of the earth, ask the beauty of the sea, ask the beauty of the ample and diffused air. Ask the beauty of heaven, ask the order of the stars, ask the sun, which with its splendor brightens the day; ask the moon, which with its clarity moderates the darkness of night. Ask the beasts that move in the water, that walk on the earth, that fly in the air: souls that hide, bodies that show themselves; the visible that lets itself be guided, the invisible that guides. Ask them! All will answer you: Look at us, we are beautiful! Their beauty makes them known. This mutable beauty, who has created it if not Immutable Beauty?" (Sermo CCXLI, 2: PL 38, 1134)."
Source of some images: