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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère in Dordogne Départment, Aquitaine, France
 

L’Émergence du Christianisme

The Emergence of Christianity

 
 
L’Émergence du Christianisme Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 25, 2012
1. L’Émergence du Christianisme Marker
Inscription. Déjà au Ve siècle, sur le site d’une villa gallo-romaine, une première église se reflète dans les eaux de la rivière. L’eau – mireir des bâtiments, réserve de pêche et voie de communication- est, à l’époque gallo-romaine, un élément décisif pour l’inplantation de la villa où, autour d’une cour,sont regroupées la maison d’habitation et les dépendances argricoles. Celle de Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère,, contruite vers le IIIe ou le IVe siècle, s’étend du bord de la rivière jusqu’à l’actuelle place de l’église. On en a retrouvé les vestiges, en 1961, ainsi que les foundations d’une premiere église, probablement édifiée vers le Ve siecle. Des murs avec des moillons couverts d’enduits à fresques, une colonne de marbre et des tessons de céramiques ont été dégagés. Les materiaux romains de l’église antique furent sans doute réemployes jusque’au XIe siècle. La nef, préromane, possède des bais à grand cintre qui dateraient de l’époque de Constantin, premier emperour romain à reconnaître le christianisme au IVe siècle. Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère témoigne de la longue histoire de la chrétienté en Périgord. Avec la Révolution, commence le déclin de la pratique religieuse. Faute d’entretien, l’édifice est déjà fort délabré quand on le classe monument histoirque en 1942. Une absidiole s’écroule en janvier 1960; en octobre de la même année, une inondation
L’Émergence du Christianisme Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 25, 2012
2. L’Émergence du Christianisme Marker
ébranle dangereusement la construction. Grâce a une intelligente restaurantion menée entre 1961 et 1966, cette église harmonieusement composée a retrouvé sa dignité.

[English]
The Emergence of Christianity
Water – a mirror for buildings, fishing preserve, and means of transportation – was, during the Gallo-Roman period, a decisive factor for chosing the spot to establish the villa where a house and agricultural outbuildings were grouped together around a courtyard.

Already in the 5th Century, on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa, the first church was reflected in the river’s water. The villa of Sanit-Léon-sur-Vézère, built around the 3rd or 4th centuries A.D., stretched out along the river bank as far as the present church square. In 1961, vestiges and the foundations of the first probably built around the 5th Century, were discovered. Wall with rubble stone covered by a coating for frescos, a marble column, and ceramic shards have been unearthed. The Roman building materials of the ancient church were undoubtedly reused until the 11th Century.

The nave, from the pre-Romanesque period, has openings with large arches that date from the time of Constantine, the first Roman emporer to have accepted Christianity in the 4th Century.

Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère attests to the long history of Christianity in the Périgord. The decline of religious practice

The old church at Saint Leon image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 25, 2012
3. The old church at Saint Leon
began with the French Revolution. Due to lack of upkeep the edifice was already badly dilapidated when it was classified as a national Historic Monument in 1942. An absidiole crumbled in January 1960; a flood dangerously weakened the structure in October of the same year. Thanks to intelligent renovation work done between 1961 and 1966, this well-balanced church building recovered its former dignity.
 
Location. 45° 0.58′ N, 1° 5.292′ E. Marker is in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Aquitaine, in Dordogne Départment. Marker can be reached from Route D66. Click for map. This marker is located near the church at St. Leon-sur-Vezere. Marker is in this post office area: Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Aquitaine 24290, France.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 18 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Georges Grant MacCurdy (a few steps from this marker); Les Gravures et Peintures Prehistoirques de Rouffignac (approx. 7.9 kilometers away); Hôtel de Mirandol (approx. 16.6 kilometers away); Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs (approx. 16.6 kilometers away); Hôtel de Vassal (approx. 16.7 kilometers away); Manoir de Gisson (approx. 16.7 kilometers away); Hôtel de Goudin (approx. 16.7 kilometers away); Hôtel de Grézel (approx. 16.8 kilometers away).
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.
 
The old church at Saint Leon image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 25, 2012
4. The old church at Saint Leon
The old church at Saint Leon image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 25, 2012
5. The old church at Saint Leon
Alentour d’un Chemin de Saint-Jacques plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 25, 2012
6. Alentour d’un Chemin de Saint-Jacques plaque
[This plaque is on the the back of the L’Émergence du Christianisme marker.] Along one of the roads to Santiago de Compostela In medieval Europe, a network of innumerable paths guided crowds of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. One of these routes led from the Burgundian abbey of Vézelay to the abbey of Saint-Martial-de-Limoges and then crossed the Périgord at the confluence of the Vézère and Dordogne, continuing toward Cadouin abbey and Saint-Avit-Senieur monastery. Other roads leading off this path in the neighbourhood of Bugue, are of considerable interest for anyone interested in Romanesque art. Just along the Vézère Valley, visitors discover, first, the fortified church of Tayac-les-Eyzies, then, along the riverbank, on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman villa, the little church of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère. Further along, in the middle of the forest, some distance from the valley, is Saint-Amand-de-Coly church, which expresses the full power of Romaneque architecture. Following the Valley of the Vézère downriver from Le Bugue as far as the Dordogne, is Lemeuil and Saint-Martin Chapel, built outside the village in the middle of a cemetery. After Limeuil, is Paunat, where the church bears the traces of several centuries of armed conflict in Aquitaine, and then Trémolat, famous for its vast and many-domed church. In the Périgord, Romanesque architecture shows influences from various areas: Auvergne, Saintonge, and Spain. The Périgourdin Romanesque style is often austere, often reinforced by fortifications. Many of these churches have similar characteristics: domed vaulting, a single nave, an extremely simple layout, plain, unadorned elevations, dome heights that are sometimes as tall as the Gothic style would later become, and a taste for well-processed building materials dressed with minute care. Each of the sites on this tour is a stopping place in Périgord history and the development of the region, from the dawn of Christianity until the 13th century, when the forest provided refuge to hermits and monks in search of great solitude.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 294 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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