Eglise Saint-Gilles

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The first medieval church was built in Pornic as early as the 10th century. A second was built at the end of the 14th century under the patronage of Saint Gilles. The present church dates from the second half of the 19th century.

A church through the centuries The first medieval church was apparently built in Pornic's upper town as early as the 10th century, in 978, by the Breton prince Glévihen. A second church was built at the end of the 14th century, dedicated to Saint Gilles. It remained under the religious authority of the Abbey of Sainte-Marie-de-Pornic until the middle of the 16th century. It was precisely in 1554 that Pornic church became a parish church. It was demolished in the second half of the 19th century to make way for a larger building on its site. Today's Saint-Gilles church dates back to a time when many churches in our region were rebuilt. The decision to rebuild the dilapidated medieval church was taken in 1852. Although work began in 1864, the church was not fully completed until 1875, with the construction of the bell tower. Saint-Gilles church in medieval times, Templar era The Knights Templar's devotion to Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in medieval Christianity, probably explains this choice of patronage, as the Knights Templar had possessions in Pornic. Fragments of tombstones decorated with the cross of this hospitaller and military order were found in the former church. Saint Gilles (Aegidius) was born in Athens around the middle of the 7th century. Renowned for his miracles, but shunning fame, he left his homeland and settled in Provence, where he lived as a hermit in a forest south of Nîmes, with a deer as his only pet. According to legend, the doe, pursued by hunters, came to take refuge at his feet, while an arrow fired by a Visigoth king missed the animal and wounded the saint in the hand. To make amends, the king agreed to build an abbey, of which Gilles became the first abbot, giving birth to the town of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard. Saint-Gilles, celebrated on September 1, the day of his death, is invoked as protector of seafarers, farmers and shepherds. He is often depicted with a deer on whose head rests his wounded hand. See the two representations of the patron saint: one on the outside of the church, carved above the entrance porch, the other inside on a stained glass window in the choir. Eglise Saint-Gilles: Romanesque. The church square is dominated by the stone bell tower: a massive tower crowned by a spire clad in white stone. The entire building is surrounded by Gothic-style buttresses (only these architectural details are reminiscent of the Gothic style). The forecourt features the staircase leading to the entrance porch. Above the porch is a sculpted tympanum depicting the figure of Saint Gilles. Surprisingly, on this tympanum, the doe is pierced by an arrow. In fact, according to legend, it was Saint Gilles who received the arrow instead of the animal, while protecting it. Inside Saint-Gilles church Several curiosities are of interest: On the left, at the back of the church, the baptistery. Present in the old church, the baptismal font dates from at least 1837. It is in pink marble with a remarkable carved oak cover. Nearby, a painting of the Assumption of the Virgin painted in 1868 by Joséphine Houssay, from Nantes, on behalf of the State, in response to a request from the parish of Pornic for a work of art for its new church under construction. A copy of a famous 1819 painting by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, now in the Louvre, the work, which had been stored for a long time, was restored and reinstalled in the church in 2013. The statue of the Virgin and Child, to the right of the choir. This "Burgundian" sculpture dates from the first half of the 15th century. It is attributed to the workshop of sculptor Claus de Werve (1380-1439). A listed monument, it was present in the former medieval church. A Christ, installed in the choir, is an exact copy of a 15th-century polychrome Christ, the work of the community of the Sisters of Bethlehem. The high altar is in Chauvigny stone, as are the two angels on the side altars. The sculptures represent, on one side, the four evangelists symbolized by the winged man, the bull, the lion and the eagle. On the other, two scenes from the Old Testament frame the crucifixion of Christ. Finally, two figures with musical instruments, representing King David on one side and Saint Cecilia on the other, can be seen on the mouldings of the two central columns of the gallery. The stained glass windows in the choir are linked to Pornic's religious history: on the left, the window depicts Saint Gilles with a deer, and Saint Clément, third pope and patron saint of boatmen in the center, the former Notre-Dame de Recouvrance chapel and on the right, Saint André, apostle of Jesus, and Saint Anne, in memory of two former Pornic chapels. The current church was completed in 1871, but it wasn't until 1875 that the three new bells could be heard. To consult the mass schedule for Saint-Jean-le-Baptiste-en-Retz parish, click here. The little extras : The history of the church can be explored with a guide as part of one of the "Rues et chemins" walking tours offered by the Intercommunal Tourist Office. If you prefer, you can explore the church on your own by following the heritage trail "Le coeur de ville et son paysage médévial" (the heart of the town and its medieval landscape).

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Datatourism data updated on: 2024-05-24 23:56:22.951