St. Sernin Basilica, Toulouse

Chevet from Southeast (c.1080-96)
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One of the finest Romanesque churches in France, pairing large and harmonious architecture with important medieval sculptures and frescoes.

Go Historic ID
318233
Short URL
gohist.co/318233
Names
St. Sernin Basilica
Categories
Materials
Affiliations
Heritage Lists
Address
Place Saint-Sernin
Toulouse, France
31000
Postcode
31000
Coordinates
43.608531° N, 1.442103° E
Phone
05 61 21 70 18
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 11, 2015

Timeline

1872

Eugene Viollet-le-Duc makes well-intentioned but overzealous "restorations" of St. Sernin Basilica, including raising the floors and plastering the walls.

1995

An extensive cleaning and restoration project at St. Sernin Basilica reverses the modifications of Viollet-le-Duc and returns the church to its original medieval appearance.

250
Martyrdom of St. Saturninus in Toulouse

Saturninus, the first Bishop of Toulouse, meets a violent death for refusing to worship pagan gods. Roped to a sacrificial bull by mobs gathered on the steps of the Capitoline Temple, he is dragged down the main street to his death. The saint's body is buried by the local Christian community outside the city walls.

400

The first shrine to Saturninus on the site of the present St. Sernin Basilica is built by Bishop Exupere of Toulouse, a little to the north of the saint's original tomb.

1000

Pilgrimages to Toulouse increase rapidly with the rise of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, as the city is along a main route to the Spanish shrine.

1080

Construction begins on a larger church in Toulouse to cope with the crowds of pilgrims stopping at the tomb of St. Sernin on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Fortunately, the city can afford it - its counts are the most powerful in southwest France and the diocese is flourishing thanks to recent Gregorian reforms.

May 24, 1096

According to a surviving inscription, the altar of St. Sernin Basilica in Toulouse is consecrated by Pope Urban II on this date.

1117

The collegiate church of St. Sernin in Toulouse is elevated to the status of an abbey while it is still under construction. Attentions shifts away from the nave to the cloister and necessary monastic buildings; the west end will never be completed.

1250

Abbot Bernard de Gensac commissions some Gothic additions to St. Sernin.

July 9, 2008

Resources

  1. Blue Guide Southwest France
  2. Romanesque Churches of France: A Traveller's Guide
  3. Official Website of St. Sernin Basilica Official website.