France, Senanque Abbey

France, Senanque Abbey

The cloister of Senanque is currently a functioning monastery. The monks returned to it in 1988, and at the beginning of this century less than a dozen monks lived in the monastery.

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The inhabitants of Senanka are engaged in the cultivation of lavender, beekeeping, and also receive pilgrims.

Senank Monastery was founded in 1148 by the monks of the Cistercian Order. Together with the abbeys of Torone and Silvakan, Senank is one of the most famous and beautiful monasteries of Provence. These three cloisters are also known as the Provencal sisters. The founder of the monastery of Senank was Alfan, the bishop of Cavaillon – the city, near which the monastery was built. The name of the monastery is consonant with the name of the river flowing nearby – Senankol.

In the XII century, the monastery grew rapidly and was actively built – in the second half of the century the monastery church was consecrated here. In the XIII-XIV centuries, the monastery was in its heyday, was a large landowner, owned mills and granaries and founded subsidiary monasteries.

At the beginning of the XVI century, the monastery was under the command of the command, when the abbots were ruled by priors appointed by the secular authorities, and almost all the income from the abbey’s activities went to another’s treasury. From that time began a period of decline for Senanka. During the years of religious wars, the monastery was plundered, and during the revolution it was auctioned off to private individuals. Half a century later, the monastery was redeemed by the Cistercian Order, but the monks lived there only until 1903, and then they moved to Lerinsky Abbey. The monks now living in Senank are also subordinate to Lérins Abbey.

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The buildings of the monastery were marked by the status of a historical monument in 1921. The most preserved buildings dating from the XIII-XVII centuries. Among them are the scriptorium, the only heated room of the monastery, the refectory, the house of the chapter, the courtyard and the dormitory.

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