Toulouse _ St Sernin

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Toulouse _ St Sernin

Image by ktylerconk
T he Basilica Saint SERNIN of Toulouse finds her origin in the wish to honour the memory of SATURNIN, first bishop and martyr of Toulouse which lived in the first half of the III° C. The Latin name " Saturnius", was transformed in the Oc language into " Sarni " then francized into " Sernin ".
In 250, having refused to yield to the obligation which was made to all the citizens by the Roman emperor Dèce, to sacrifice to paganism’s gods, Saturnin was attached by the feet to a bull which must be immolated and was trailed through the streets of the city until dead follows. Its body was collected and buried in a wood casket.

During the IV° C., the Hilaire bishop made erect above the place of the casket a small wood basilica to honour the memory of his predecessor. The exact site of this tomb is unknown. The Toulouse tradition wants that the Gothic church of the TAUR perpetuated the memory of it but the excavations did not reveal anything of conclusive on that score.

In front of the importance of the devotion and the development of the necropolis caused by the glory and the virtues of the martyr, the Silve bishop undertook towards the end of the IV° C. the construction of a new basilica – martyrium. This monument was completed under its Exupère successor who transferred the remainders to it from Saturnin by burying them in a marble sarcophagus in November of the one of the first years of V° C. In 844, a community of canons had been founded to take care on the body of the saint and to ensure the liturgical celebrations. In second half of the XI° C., the chapter of the canons of Saint – Sernin was with the head of a considerable land inheritance, which enabled him to replace the antique basilica by the current monument.

Saint-Sernin had become a major stage on the road of the pilgrimage of Saint – Jacques de Compostelle and the old church was not enough any more to accomodate crowd which presented itself. Between 1070 and1080 one started to raise the Eastern part of the new church. In 1096 the déambulatoire and its vaults, the chorus and its roundabout, the transept and its vaults were almost finished. The chapter could then launch out in the construction of the second part of the building which includes the nave and its collateral as well as the Western frontage with its two turns. Then work trailed in length with modifications of structure until the XIV° c. et even with the XVI° C. for certain elements. The Western towers were never completed.

From XVI° C. to our days, additions and restorations (by Viollet-le-Duc in 1855) deteriorated this monument – key of Romance art. The basilica Saint- SERNIN of Toulouse is most famous, vastest and most beautiful of the Romance churches of the South, richest of France in relics.

Glastonbury Tor

Image by Roel Wijnants
Glastonbury today is a centre for religious tourism and pilgrimage. mysticism and paganism

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