/ / The Abbey of Vézelay: photo, description Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vezelay)

The Abbey of Vézelay: photo, description Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vezelay)

The history of the Abbey of Vézelay is a story of power and prosperity, culminating in the almost complete extinction of the monastery. With the construction of the Abbey began, and the history of the town of Vézelay is situated in Burgundy, not far from avalon. In the IX century there was founded a monastery of the Benedictine order and consecrated its first Church, which two centuries later, got the relics of St Mary Magdalene. Another power, and also Mary Magdalene, were the causes of the decline of the monastery, the first signs which the monks felt in the second half of the XIII century.

However, the XII century became the Abbey of Vezelay an era of genuine prosperity. The welfare of the Abbey contributed to two facts. First, the monastery passed into the control of the most powerful Abbey in France - Cluny, and attracted to Vezelay many pilgrims who wanted to venerate the relics of St Mary Magdalene. Secondly, they were joined by pilgrims travelling on the way of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, as the Abbey of Vézelay became one of the important monasteries on the way. Due to the repeatedly increased flow of pilgrims to the monastery needed a new building, so in the twelfth century, its territory was an active construction was carried out reconstruction of the Church that a couple of times suffered from fires.

At the same time the Abbey of Vézelay was used by the Catholic Church as a platform for the propaganda of the Crusades in the Holy land. So, in Vézelay in 1146 preached the theologian and Abbot of the monastery in Clairvaux St. Bernard and urged the congregation to the second crusade against the infidels. The sermon was delivered in the presence of king Louis VII. At the end of XII century, before leaving in the third crusade, Richard the Lionheart spent in Vézelay few months.

In the second half of the twelfth century, Vézelay left from-under control of the Abbey of Cluny, but that has not diminished his influence and wealth, on the contrary, the construction reached its peak. A devastating blow for the Abbey was the acquisition in December, 1279 of the year in Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Bon is one of the relics of Mary Magdalene. Miraculous remains was widely "advertised" and the pilgrims visiting Vézelay Burgundy, "over" in Provencal Saint-Maximin.

During the great French revolution, the remains of the Saint in Vézelay has been lost, the Church was looted and abandoned, and only through the efforts of the inspector of historical monuments, prosper mérimée, she received the status of a monument of history. The architect violle-Le-Duc spent in her restoration work, and 10 years later the Church again, got the relics of Mary Magdalene.

Currently, the monastery is one of the important pilgrimage centers in France.