Saint Blaise Priory
|The Loire gorges|
The second of the five Clunisian priories located in the diocese of Saint Etienne is Saint Blaise Priory in Rozier-Côte-d’Aurec, a few miles away from the beautiful Loire gorges that offer a magnificent variety of wild and green landscapes dotted with castles. The numerous viewpoints, high above the peaceful water of the longest river of France, allow the visitors to appreciate the beauty of the place.
Saint Blaise Priory has certainly be founded in the late XI or early XII century by the Lords of Saint Bonnet in the Forez Mounts. The oldest document that mentions the Priory is from 1261. The original part of the church was built in the XII century. Several additions to the church and the conventual buildings were made in the XV and XVII centuries. The church was totally restored in 1930.
A tympanum above the west door represents the adoration of the wise-men. We can admire several capitals that represent allegorical figures inside the church.
"In taking our pleasure trip among some of the most famous Romanesque buildings in Italy, Germany, France and Spain, we noticed many expressions of local taste. Now let us treat the Romanesque workers of these nations as one great building family, and endeavour to find out how they found practical expressions for beautiful ideas. (...)
The Romanesque builders undoubtedly had a keen appreciation of the very subtle means of endowing a building with beauty, such as proportion, perspective, line and mass."
Edith A. Brown in Romanesque Architecture
"My Lady, Mother of Mercy, who on this night gave birth to the Savior, pray for me. May your glorious and singular birth be, Oh most merciful, my refuge" Prayer of Saint Odo, second Abbot of Cluny The name "Mother of Mercy," with which the young Odo then invoked the Virgin, was the one he always wished to use when addressing Mary, also calling her "only hope of the world ... thanks to whom the doors of paradise have been opened to us" (In Veneratione S. Mariae Magdalenae: PL 133, 721).