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The church of St Seurin and its crypt

The heritage of Gironde_ listed at ancient monument and at the UNESCO world heritage since 1998.

Place des Martyrs de la Résistance
XI° to XIX th century.
The Unesco world heritage recognized the basilica St Seurin as a very important step on the pilgrim’s walk.
The site of St Seurin is open to June to September, 14 pm to 19 pm.
Contact : + 33 (0)5 56 93 89 28 or
at the tourist office + 33 (0)5 56 00 66 00
Department : Gironde
Micro-region : Bordelais
City : Bordeaux
saint Seurin Bordeaux
Eglise saint seurin Bordeaux
The Basilica of Saint Seurin
Legends of st Seurin

A lot of legends revolve around the foundation of the church. According to the saying of the cleric of Bordeaux collected at the VIth century by the historian Grégoire de Tours, the bishop Amandus (St Amand), who would receive at the 4th century a message from a Lord, to go immediately at the meeting of Severin. They found each other on the road, and come back to the church. Amandus let Severin to have the church, who became the 4th bishop of Bordeaux. .

According to another legend, at the 6th century, the archbishop of Bordeaux would ask at the Poitier’s bishop, St Venace Fortunat, to retrace the life of St Seurin. In the account, did by ST Venace Fortunat, Severinus is the bishop of Trèves (ecclesiastical principality’s of the Saint Empire Roman Germanic), when an angel make him go away in Aquitaine, where he meets St Amand, who transfers his place of bishop, like the account of Gréogoire of Tours. At the death of St Seurin, St Amand hide the body in a crypt, at the fear that Trèves takes it back.

Those legends which can be add the Roland ivory horn’s full of gold on the church’s altar, attracted the pilgrims, it gave at the St Seurin church’s the state of basilica claimed by the canon, during the centuries, giving to them particular right inside the church of Bordeaux.

The story of the monument :
The existence of a simple chapel at the 5th century had been confirmed by archeologist. This chapel was found near an ancient shrine, as a lot of sarcophagus in rock can attest it. Those sarcophagi were found by the excavation lead by Camille Julian and Paul Courteault in 1910.
The chapel would be destroyed during the Norman invasion of the 9th century.
An imposing edifice is built at the 11th century by the canon’s section. The basilica set (rectangular in general divided in parallel nave, ended by an apse) is extended at the 13th century, and a huge gothic great door, adorned by fourteen statues representing the apostle, is open on the necropolis. This great door is topped by Romanesque capital, which the most famous is the sacrifice of Abraham.
Considering the pilgrim’s flood, many chapel are built at the 14th and 15th centuries, notably the chapel “ Notre dame de la Rose’’ and its altar consecrated by the archbishop Pey Berland in 1444.
The edifice strongly damaged during the 16th and 17th centuries with the collapse of some vault. At the 18th century, the architects Jean Baptiste Augier build the vault, to strengthen the pillar, and raise the height of the ground of 9,843 feet. Then the crypt is buried. At the 19th century, the architect Pierre Alexandre Poitevin built the front in the new roman style, with a new porch hiding the old one. The best sculptor of Bordeaux, Dominique Félix Maggesi, is gone to settle the St Seurin’s statues, and of St Amand on the balustrade superior.
La crypte mérovingienne Saint SeurinThe Merovingian crypt:
Open to the public in 1974, it’s the most ancient early Christian cemetery of Bordeaux.
Thanks to the excavation of Camille Jullian, (the famous historian of Bordeaux), assisted by the Professor Paul Courteault in 1910, permitted to update fragmentary of building, and a vast Christian necropolis.
Inside the crypt, you can found several edifices of differents centuries; mausoleum adorned by fresco, funerary enclosure, gallo-roman capital, and monolith sarcophagi (of one rock). Some of the sarcophagi are delicately adorned by leafage and fruits. Also, there is a collection of amphora came from Orient and Africa, with 500 coins.
To learn more about the church of St Seurin, you can read the document published by the town hall of Bordeaux St-Seurin.pdf

L'église Saint-Seurin
Many styles at different times
Sources : Les chemins de Saint Jacques de Franck Zapata ; Le patrimoine des communes de la Gironde editions Le Flohic; site de la Mairie de Bordeaux

Keywords :  Tourisme Bordeaux, saint seurin, st-seurin, st seurin, saint-seurin, basilique Saint-Seurin, église Saint-Seurin, église St-Seurin, patrimoine religieux Bordeaux, crypte de Saint-Seurin, sarcophage de la crypte de Saint Seurin, saint-Amand, Dominique Félix Maggesi, Camille Julian, Pierre-Alexandre Poitevin, archevêque Pey Berland, Paul Courteault, Jean Baptiste Augier
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