France, St. Mary’s Abbey in Lagrace
St. Mary’s Abbey is located on the banks of the Orbieu River opposite the small town of Lagras. Its existence was already known in the VIII century – in 779 it was rebuilt by order of King Charlemagne. Local legends attributed to Charles and the glory of the founder of the monastery: allegedly the king, following from Carcassonne to Narbonne, met with hermits in these places, witnessed miracles and decided to lay a monastic monastery here. However, from a political point of view, the monastery was located extremely well – part of his possessions were located on the territory of modern Spain.
The patronage of Charlemagne helped the abbey become one of the most influential monasteries in southern France. The best times for the abbey were the IX-XI centuries. By this time, most of the monastic buildings. In the 13th century, the abbot of the monastery of Benoit d’Alignan and the abbey itself acted as a mediator in religious conflicts against the Albigensians. The 14th and 15th centuries became a period of some weakening of the influence of the monastery, but already in the 17th century the monastery experienced a “renaissance”. A slight rise was associated with the accession of the abbey to the congregation of the Maurvis.
During the Great French Revolution, the monks were expelled, and the monastery itself was closed. It was divided into two parts and sold by hammer in different lots. Currently, the monastery is still owned by various owners.
One lot accounted for most of the monastery – about three-quarters of buildings and territory. This includes cloister and partly the church. This unit was temporarily used as a military hospital. Attempts were made several times to resume the activity of the monastery, but none of them was successful. At the end of the last century, the Prezhiza family acquired this part and began restoration work. A couple of years ago, the spiritual life was resumed in the monastery after the acquisition of a part of the abbey by a monastic society.
The owner of a smaller part of the abbey today is the state, on its territory there is a chapel, a dormitory and a part of the church.