Friday, October 11, 2013

Cathedral St Benigne

The present gothic church which replaced the one that collapsed in 1280..
St Benigne's cathedral is dedicated to the first local martyr whose 2nd century sarcophagus' base is in the crpyt.  I'm not sure what St Benigne did to become a saint, but his death was apparently spectacular.  Who ever it was that killed him, put two lances through him from side to side, bottom to top.  Then they put an iron bar down into the top of his skull.  They also took his fingers and stretched them out until they resemble ET's, from the movie.

Saint Benigne looks amazingly calm considering all that has been done to him.  Maybe that is why he is a saint.

The decorated tile roof, a Dijon specialty.  

Carving over the entry doorway.
The church building has been cleaned over the past few years, with only one small section left to be finished.  They were working on it the day we visited, so the air inside the church was filled with fine dust particles.  Someone is going to have a big job dusting everything when they are finished on the outside.
Looking toward the nave.
This side alter is done in the same colors as St Chapelle in Paris.  Two of the windows are stained glass, but the two which have inside walls have the stained glass painted on the wall, instead of being glass.

The organ comes with an angel on top of each wood carving.  They are playing an array of instruments to liven up the music.  

This building was badly damaged during the revolution with the rotunda partially collapsed.  The underground level was preserved, but only because it was  filled in.  In 1860, excavations were started to return it into use.  There is still work to be done, but who knows when or if it will happen.
The stairs down into the crypt.  

The large stone is all that remains of the sarcophagus of Saint Benigne.
When the mortuary chapel was originally built in Gallo-Roman times, it was at street level.  Over the centuries, like everything else, it was swallowed by the refuse of the city and is now totally buried.

Looking toward the mortuary chapel.

The undergound storey of the romanesque rotunda.

Light coming into the rotunda from above. The rotunda was built in 1002-1005.  

Going in to the crypt costs 2 euro each.  We were glad we paid to see it.  This is probably the best preserved crypt we've seen besides the one in St Denis in Paris.  The acoustics were excellent, as I did my usual singing to check them out.

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