Abbaye Church of Saint-Pierre
MOSSAIC , FRANCE
MOSSAIC , FRANCE
We visited Mossaic in September 2004 the Clunic Abbey Church of Saint-Pierre. The doors and cloisters are considered masterpieces of Romanesque art. The capitals in the galleries depict a variety of geometric and floral motifs, animals and narrative scenes.
The cloisters of Mossaic have survived much. The town was sacked by Simon de Montfort in 1212 during the crusade against the Cathars. The Cathars were a sect strong in the Languedoc region of France. They were proscribed as heretics by Pope Innocent III. So with papal blessing, and the help of the French Kings, nobels from the north invaded the area in a series of attacks, known as the Albigensian Crusades from 1208 and continuing for some 70 years. Simon de Montford was known to be cruel in his lead of these attacks.
After surviving the raids, and lasting hundreds of years, during the French Revolution the Abbaye was used as a gunpowder factory and a billet for soldiers. This took its tool and the soldiers damaged many of the sculptures. If this was not enough, later in 1830, another attack took place. The cloisters escaped demolition in the construction of the Bordeaux-Toulouse railway line. Impossible to consider now when you visit the abbaye, but, stand in the parking lot and you will see the train tracks lead into a tunnel below your feet and know how close the call was.
The abbaye dates from the 7th century with a large number of monasteries in Acquitaine were founded. The abbaye church dates from 1063 and was enlarged in the following century.
The cloisters have 76 alternating single and double marble columns. Each with an inverted sculptured capital. The details of the carvings are still visible today.