Vézelay Abbey (French: Abbaye Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vézelay) was a Benedictine and Cluniac monastery in Vézelay in the Yonne department in northern Burgundy, France. The Benedictine abbey church, now the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Saint Mary Magdalene), with its complicated program of imagery in sculpted capitals and portals, is one of the outstanding masterpieces of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture. Sacked by the Huguenots in 1569, the building suffered neglect in the 17th and the 18th centuries and some further damage during the period of the French Revolution.The church and hill at Vézelay were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979. The Basilica is also on the World Heritage list as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.
Relics of Mary Magdalene can be seen inside the Basilica.The Benedictine abbey of Vézelay was founded, as many abbeys were, on land that had been a late Roman villa, of Vercellus (Vercelle becoming Vézelay). The villa had passed into the hands of the Carolingians and devolved to a Carolingian count, Girart, of Roussillon. The two convents he founded there were looted and dispersed by Moorish raiding parties in the 8th century, and a hilltop convent was burnt by Normanraiders. In the 9th century, the abbey was refounded under the guidance of Badilo, who became an affiliate of the reformed Benedictine order of Cluny. Vézelay also stood at the beginning of one of the four major routes through France for pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in the north-western corner of Spain.Thus the erection of one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture which followed was made possible by pilgrims to the declared relics and these tactile examples demonstrating the efficacy of prayers. Mary Magdalene is the prototype of the penitent, and Vézelay has remained an important place of pilgrimage for the Catholic faithful, though the actual relics were torched by Huguenots in the 16th century.
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Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory:Europe
Subcategory Detail:France
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