Abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou

Abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou

Shown within France
Basic information
Location near Casteil, Prades, Pyrénées-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon region,
Geographic coordinates 42°31′41″N 2°24′03″E / 42.528144°N 2.400892°E / 42.528144; 2.400892Coordinates: 42°31′41″N 2°24′03″E / 42.528144°N 2.400892°E / 42.528144; 2.400892
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Municipality Casteil
District Prades
State Pyrénées-Orientales
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Monastery
Status Active
Architectural description
Architectural type Abbey church
Architectural style Romanesque
Groundbreaking 1005[1]
Completed 1009[2]
Designated as NHL Monument historique (1889)

The abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou (Catalan: Sant Martí del Canigó) is a monastery built in 1009 in the Pyrenees on Canigou mountain in present-day southern France near the Spanish border.

Pablo Casals wrote a composition entitled "Sant Marti Del Canigo" for Orchestra.


The monastery is located on the territory of the commune of Casteil, in the Pyrénées-Orientales département.


The original Romanesque style monastery was built from 1005 to 1009 by Guifred, Count of Cerdanya (Fr. Cerdagne), in atonement for the murder of his son and was populated by Benedictine monks.

In 1049, Guifred, Count of Cerdanya, died at the monastery he had built. In 1051 a messenger set forth to visit religious houses throughout Europe to solicit prayers for his dead master. He brought a parchment upon which at each stop were added words of prayer and respect. This parchment has survived and scholars (including Léopold Delisle with his Rouleaux des Morts du IX au XV Siecle of 1866) have used it to discover differences in culture between northern and southern Europe in a single given year. Some of the discoveries from this important document include that southern culture was more staid and bound by custom while the northern culture more free form and experimental in their writing styles, use of words and grammar.

The monastery was damaged in the Catalan earthquake of 1428.

The monastery was secularized in 1782 by Louis XVI.

The monastery was abandoned by the monks in 1783-1785 and fell into disrepair.

During the Terror, the abbey was closed, and its contents scattered. The buildings were then transformed into a stone quarry for nearby residents, the capitals of the cloister were looted, as well as sculptures and furniture.

In 1902, the bishop of Elne and Perpignan, because of his Catalan background, began to restore the ruins radically, work that was completed in 1932. Today it is occupied by the Catholic Community of the Beatitudes.


The abbey consists of two churches in the First Romanesque style; the lower church, dedicated to St. Mary, and the upper, dedicated to St. Martin.

The rest of the convent buildings date from the early 20th century.

The cloister

Since the restorations of 1900-1920 it is difficult to imagine the original appearance of the cloister. The cloister once had two levels, the first built in the early 11th century and the second to the late 12th century. The lower level, which showed vaulted galleries and semicircular arches was bare of any decoration. Nowadays, there remain only three galleries that have been heavily restored, lacking their original character. The upper level, had marble capitals, which were scattered after the closure of the monastery during the French Revolution. The restoration recovered some, which were incorporated in the new southern gallery.


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Martin-du-Canigou.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/9/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.