Sunday, 19 July 2015

Church on Sunday...Oratory of Germigny-des-Pres in the Loire Valley.

The Corolngian Oratory of Germigny-des-Pres is one of the oldest churches in France (806). 

The origins of the oratory date back to when a Gallo-roman villa, which had been built on the site, was acquired by the then the then bishop of Orleans and abbot of Fleury, Theodulf, to be his country home. He had his private chapel (oratory) added to the villa and used his position and wealth as one of Charlemagne’s most trusted advisors, to have it ornately decorated with colourful mosaics.

Sadly the oratory was burned down and looted in the 9th century by the invading Normans. It was reinstated in the 11th century as the local parish church.For some reason or other the ornate dome of the oratory was plastered over in the second half of the 18th century, perhaps to save it from the revolutionists. They were rediscovered around 1820 when some of the plaster began to fall and restoration work on this listed historic monument began in 1867. This unique mosaic is the only remaining example fromv the Carolingian period still remaining in France. Its features the ‘Ark of the Covenant’

. The original nave was replaced by a larger one during the 15th century. 

Inside the church is quite simple...

although there is a rather decorative altar with an early 16th century wooden statue of St-Anne teaching the young Virgin Mary how to read.

Where's Joan? 

To appreciate the history of the building it is best viewed from the outside. The apses are obviously from a different era to that of the ‘modern’ nave.

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