Church Saint-Rémi, French Heritage monument to Reims
After the metropolitan church, it is not, in the town of Rheims nor in the diocese, more beautiful, more famous and more interesting than that of Saint Remi.
The small vault of Saint Christophe
This church, in the principle, dediee has Saint Clement, pope and martyr, passed then under the invocation of Saint Christophe, martyr of Lycie, Betause being archbishop of Rheims. It is believed that it goes back to the time of Saint Sixth and Sinice Saint. What there is of some, it is that it existed already on the end of the 3rd century: it was out of the city, in a large cemetery intends for the burial the faithful ones.
Chosen to receive the body of Saint Remi, this vault was soon too narrow to contain the great number of pilgrims who went there of all shares. It included/understood the space which is between the eagle at the entry of the chorus and the pulpit has to preach, i.e., approximately 37 has 39 bills of quantities (110 or 120 feet). The inhabitants transfer themselves then in the need for making it increase.
Illustration on the right St Remi and clovis.
Vault increased by the inhabitants
Clotilde, full with recognition for the glorious pontiff who had made run holy oil on the face of his royal husband, helped them in this company, towards the beginning of the 6th century: she equipped the church with incomes and surrounded it by buildings for the priests intend has to serve the furnace bridge and has to sing the praises of God. Shortly after, a rich person citizen of Rheims, names Gebehart, added to the incomes what to maintain has perpetuity twelve priests, has responsibility of say the office in the honor of Saint Remi.
Saint Gregoire de Tours, who had come has Rheims on several occasions to visit the tomb of the saint prelate, and in particular in 573, to be sacring by the Gilles archbishop, made mention in his work of one names there Epiphane, abbot of Saint Remi; of or several authors believe themselves in right to affirm that, of this time, there was of the monks appointed with the service of the church: others want that there were only clerks or canons control surfaces by a provost, has which one gave the name of abbot sometimes. At all events, it is certain that one or the others served this church until 786, time or the Tilpin archbishop substituted to them of the monks about Saint Benoist. They demeurerent there until the suppression of the monastic orders, in 1791, i.e., more than thousand years: quite remarkable duration, and of which there are few examples in France. These monks celebrated the divine office in the noblest way and most edifying: at the days of greatest solemnities, they formed one body with the canons of the metropolis. v Soon this church could not contain the crowd of the pilgrims which increased every day; it was necessary, to satisfy the piety of faithful, to think has to give him more extent. It is what took place into 633, under the pontificate of the Sonnace archbishop, who contributed to it of his generosities.
This church, have regard to time, passed for one of most marvellous of the kingdom, but it had at more the two centuries of existence when the predecessors of the archbishop Hincmar, keys of his nearest destruction, made some start larger and even more splendid.
Hincmar made some new provisions in the construction industries which it completed. It is out of doubt that these changes were carry out in the style romano-lombard, kind of architecture more in vogue of the time of Charlemagne. When the church was entirely terminee, this scientist prelate devoted it, towards 863.
The figure of this old church resembled, probably, has that which the emperor Charles-the-Bald person holds in his left hand, in the low-relief of the tomb of the Hincmar archbishop, pays by Montfaucon, in his monuments of French monarchy, divides into volumes 1st, page 306.
Pinchart, regular canon, and who wrote much on the history of Rheims, report that the drawing of this church was seen in a manuscript, in-4?, of the library of the monastery. This manuscript, containing the life of Remi saint, had been composes by a monk of this house, in 1377. In 1774, it became the prey of the flames. One saw ahead of of this church, known as this canon, two monks bearing on their shoulders a hunting which contained the shroud of Remi saint; four other monks followed, of which the two first held a book with the hand. The entry of this church and its circumference, resembled the old castles much strengthen Middle Ages; with the one of the dimensions of the door, one saw a gross round tower; above the cover, four small bell-towers were places; some distance from it has, rose another bell-tower of a greater dimension, crowns of four small pinnacles. This church finished by a building which, undoubtedly, was used as dwelling to the priests or with the monks which served it.
It is in this church, of which outside did not have anything remarkable, that Frederonne, queen of France and woman of Charles-the-Simple, was couronnee, into 900, by the Foulques archbishop. King Robert wanted to be sacring also there, into 922, by the archbishop Herve, and Lothaire, into 954, by the Arlault archbishop.
This church, built on several occasions, and with not very solid materials, was menacee of a nearest ruin, when, hundred fifty-two years after, Airard, sixth regular abbot of the monastery of Saint Remi, deplorable state touches or it was, formed the intention making some build another on the same place, and in a manner which answered in all the great veneration that the people had as a Remi saint.
Illustration on the right: Hincmar on a stained glass of the Saint-Remi basilica of Rheims.
Splendid plans of the Airard abbot
To carry out its creditable project, Airard invited has Rheims, in 1005, of skilful architects; he declared the intention to them which he had to raise with the glory of the glorious owner of his monastery, a large and splendid church, which surpassat in beauty and wide all the churches of its century. The once stopped plan, it immediately made some throw the bases. Anselme, monk of Saint Remi, contemporary of Airard, report, without however going into any detail, that when all the extent of this vast building was seen, nobody dared to promise enough years to see it finishing. Airard, itself, after having made there work during nearly thirty years, died with the regret to leave it unfinished.
Thierry, his immediate successor, animates same zeal and same courage, wanted to continue what was starts; but it was not a long time without realizing that all its efforts would be never crowns of every success. II gave up the company of its predecessor, made demolish, according to Anselme, all that was out of ground of this gigantic building, and resume work in 1041, but on a level much less vast. It is this church which we have still today; only, it underwent notable modifications which we will indicate in the continuation. After a seven years work, he died like Airard, without to have seen his work achevee.
The Herimar abbot, successor of Thierry, were happier. The part southernmost of the transept (or crossed church) was not yet entirely built; it made it finish, and began the other dimension, or yet only the bases were seen. When masonry was achevee, it made cover the building of a wood frame chosen in the drill of Orbais. To arrive has this result, Herimar did not have anything neglects. All those which could be to him of some help, it had call them; and the middle-class men of Rheims were not the last ones has to assist it of all their efforts. Non-seulement they sent their servants and their beasts of burden, to make many cartages which such a vast company required; but they came themselves, with their family, to put the hand at work.
It has to suppose that the small vault formee of five arcades, supported by four columns and two pilasters which one still sees at the right-sided of the southernmost gate, entered one of primitive constructions.
It was necessary to announce by some uncommon apparatus the dedication of a church such as that of Saint Remi. To give has this dedicates the most majestic character, Herimar invited to the ceremony the pope Leon IX. This Pontife saint had just been high on the pulpit of Saint Pierre by the death of the pope Damase II. Herimar congratulated some and the desire recalled him which it had proclamation, being still only bishop of Toul, to go to the tomb of Saint Remi, to thank it for the graces that it had obtained by his intercession; he requested it to be ressouvenir of the promise which he had made, if the businesses of the church brought back it to France, and he begged it to come in person to make dedicates it basilica which he had just completed in the honor of Saint Remi.
Leon IX (illustration on the right) answered the Herimar abbot that the respect and the veneration which it had for the saint archbishop, the desire to achieve his wish and to devote his church, were sufficient reasons to make him undertake this voyage. Little time after it moved towards France.
Herimar went ahead of of the saint father to Cologne to receive his orders. He him wire the most gracious reception, taught him that to return the ceremony of dedicates church and the more solemn translation of the body of Saint Remi, he intended to hold a council in the same church. He added that he would be has Rheims for the festival of Saint Michel, on September 29, that he would celebrate the mass the following day in the church cathedral, and that on October 1, festival of the owner of the new church, would take place the translation of the invaluable relics: it held the second day with the dedication of the church, and stopped that the council would be held the three following days.
To the roof of its wishes, Herimar returned to France. The king Henri I er has Laon with all his court; he went there and requested his majesty to agree to honour with his presence the majestic ceremony. He sent then letters in all the kingdom and in the adjacent states, inviting the faithful ones has to meet around the tomb of the apostle of France, to receive the blessing of the common father of the faithful ones. Of its dimension Leon IX engaged the bishops and the abbots of the neighbouring kingdoms, has to go has Rheims for the council which was to with it to be held in early October.
Sovereign pontiff was in the surroundings of Rheims the evening of September 28. To some distance from the walls the abbot of Saint Remi suited it to receive, and the following day, to the point of the day, it returned followed several large prelates, between whom were the bishop of Oporto, and Pierre, deacon of the Roman church, prefect of Rome.
The pope did not delay has to follow them. At the time or its holiness approached the city, a multitude of ecclesiastics, abbots, of monk of Rheims and countries of surrounding, united with the monks of Saint Remi. All covered with caps are avancerent processionnellement to the door Hermet, one of the doors of the castle of Saint Remi. At their head the bishops of Langres walked, of Senlis and Nevers. They scour sovereign pontiff like the oint of the Lord to the song of the psalms and the acclamations of innumerable people, run of all shares for this holy ceremony. These three prelates presenterent the incense to him, water benite and delivers it Gospels. One entered the church then, and at the time or the pope knelt in front of the tomb, one entonna Te Deum. Its prayer achevee, sovereign pontiff moved towards the throne which had been prepares to him, and gave its blessing to the people which filled the vast wide one of the temple.
The procession left then to enter the city; because then the monastery of Saint Remi was not included/understood yet in the enclosure of the walls. It was not that after the famous battle of Bouvines, remportee by Philippe-Auguste at the beginning of the 13th century, that it was there locks up.
The pope walked has foot. He was accepted with the door of quotes by the archbishop Guy de Chatillon, who awaited it the head of his clergy. One led it to the cathedral; it celebrated the mass there; went then in the palate archiepiscopal, or it was accepted magnificiently with all the people of its continuation. The following day, its holiness turned over to the abbey of Saint Remi, to lay out itself with the festival of the saint and the ceremony which was to take place.
Leon IX preceded the sun to go, accompanies by two of his priests, with the new church. He pressed his walk, to avoid the too great multitude of the run people, non-seulement of France, but still of Germany, England and various regions of Europe.
To prevent the almost inevitable disorder in such circumstances, and to contain the multitude, one was obliges to place guards has all the exits of the church. But these precautions were useless; it was necessary to yield to the torrent which precipitated towards the tomb of Saint Remi: all wanted to satisfy their piety, and to deposit their offering.
In this century moves back, and in those which followed it, the piety of our fathers was simple, generous and without ostentation. They did not want a palate for dwellings; they sheltered their one day old house under the walls of the temple of the Eternal; they did not hesitate has to be stripped of part of their goods, and worked their hands with the work of the Lord. When all was completes, they came to bless God, and to return thanksgivings in these same temples which they had assistance has to build. These facts, well-known, are hardly believable in the century or we live.
It was to deposit their gifts with the feet of the tomb of Saint Remi, that our fathers went there with such an amount of eagerness; and those which the crowd prevented from approaching, threw their offering over the head of those which preceded them, says a historian; what was done with such a crash, that one had said a hail of stones which fell from all dimensions. The tomb was covered with these offerings, as well the devotion of the people is sometimes indiscrete, at the time especially as a pretext of religion seems to justify it. One had an infinite sorrow has to make evacuate the church on the end of the day; nobody wanted to move away some as well is little, in order to be capable to return there at once as the doors would be open.
At dawn day, Leon IX was in the church, or all was lays out for the majestic ceremony. Adorned its pontifical clothes, and accompanies by its monks, Herimar led it to the tomb of Saint Remi. The archbishops of Rheims, Truces, by Lyon, by Besancon, several other prelates, and Hugues-the-Worthy, abbot of Cluny, accompanied it. One then drew hunting from the place or it was deposee, the pope charged it on his shoulders, and, crying of joy, he advanced towards the place prepares to expose it to the sight of the people. Being itself then withdraws in the vault of the Trinity, it ordered, with the approval of the archbishop of Rheims, with the archbishop of Truces to begin the dedication. At the same moment, the doors of the church opened; the people, impatient to link his prayers have those of the priests, precipitated there with as well impetuosity, as several people were etouffees and ecrasees in crowd.
But the embarrassment was extreme, when it is a question of transferring hunting to the cathedral: how to clear a passage through this innumerable crowd which covered space between the city and the abbey? However the way was carried out, not without sorrow; and the historians ensure that the carriers of hunting were raise by the floods of the multitude, which grew bigger more as one approached the city.
The chapter of the metropolitan church being itself advances beyond the doors of the city, accepted the body of Saint Remi and carried it to the church. The mass of the saint was celebree, in the most solemn manner, by the archbishop of Besancon; and drives out it, deposee on the furnace bridge of the Holy Cross, remained there until the following day, constantly entouree of the monks of the abbey. All those which had been able to enter the cathedral, imitating the enthusiasm of the monks, demeurerent in the church, which was almost as enlightened as in full day. The monks reciterent their crossbred, the canons chanterent their immediately after, and the night occurred has to celebrate the praises of God. With the rising of the sun, one took again hunting, and the procession, having traversed several districts of the city, and stations at the places which the saint had made remarkable by some miracle, moved towards the church.
During this time, sovereign pontiff devoted the new church. Having distributes the various vaults to the bishops assistants, it reserved the high altar, which it dedicated has God, under the invocation of the happy apostles Saint Pierre and Saint Paul, the martyrs Saint Clement and Holy Christophe, and of Saint Remi. At the same time, the archbishop of Rheims, accompanies by the bishop of Lizieux, made three times at the outside the turn of the church, with the cross and the relics of the saints, according to the use observes, of that time, for the dedication of the churches.
This pious, but long ceremony, was not yet entirely terminee, when the procession arrived at the doors of the church. To enter there, the embarrassment was even larger than the day before: the multitude besieged all the avenues of the temple. The need forced to resort has one dispatch extraordinary: it was to introduce hunting by the window of one of the vaults; of it, one carried it in the chorus. The pope accepted it with joy; and, while waiting for that one it placat in the place which was to him intends, it made it deposit on the high altar, and began immediately the mass of dedicates.
After the Gospel, Leon IX went up in pulpit, and declared that from now on the festival of Saint Remi would be celebree in all the kingdom, but the people of France, known as the bubble which he pronounced, cannot less make to return this honor has this saint apostle, since the sky made use of its ministry, to invite it with the knowledge of true God. He fulminated then the anathema against those which would be enough bold to prevent or disturb the devotion from abroad who would like to go to the tomb of the saint the day of cetle festival, or who would maltreat them their return has. At the conclusion of the mass, a solemn blessing was given by the Saint Father has all those which had attends the ceremony. Each one turned over in its hearths, filled of a new veneration for Saint Remi, and of love for the chief of the Church.
To make even worthier the furnace bridge than it had just devoted, Leon IX restricted the number of those which would have the right to offer sacred mysterieies to it, with the archbishop of Rheims, the abbot and has the seven monks of most advisable monastery, and with the canons of the metropolitan church, appointed by the chapter for there officer twice the year with the processions which appeared there unmemorable time, the second liver of Easter and third of Rogations.
The church of Saint Remi, in the time of Leon IX, was far from being what we currently see it. A major revolution started has to take place in architecture, and the frequent pilgrimages with the Holy Land were the leading cause.
French knights, much more than one century before the first crusade, while crossing the kingdom of Byzance to go to Palestine, transfer with admiration of the buildings whose at the same time elegant and majestic architecture, struck their imagination. They were promised has their return in their fatherland to make build similar monuments: their surprise was all the more large, that the beautiful architecture of the Greeks was almost lost, or about remplacee by the Lombard architecture and the romano-Byzantine, whose forms are in general heavy and massive, the columns large and short, pillars cross-sections or rounds, capitals without grace, low-reliefs without proportions and the vaults ecrasees. To these various styles was going soon to join the ogival style of transition. And a century plus bacon, this style was to be eclipse by ogival so pure, the if light one, if bold and so gracious, which, like says it Mr. de Chateaubriand, high the heart of the man able to reflect, and carries its thought towards the creator.
About this time of rebirth for arts, a man of an eminent knowledge was calls with the government of the abbey of Saint Remi. This man, it was Pierre of Those, of which lights and the powerful genius were to entirely change the face of the church of Saint Remi, and to precisely give him a celebrity meritee. By throwing the glances on this building, he recognized easily that it was likely to receive the large ones and many embellishments by binding them with architecture then in favour. The apse was less high than other constructions, it made it demolish, and raised the splendid roundabout, if remarkable by its majestic vault, its admirable proportions, its beautiful galleries, its many stained glasses, and by the vaults which surround it. It is that which we see today. To give to the nave more extent, Pierre of Those added to it to the entry of the church two new spans of the ogival style, and made build another gate in the same kind of architecture. This gate is residence the same one; only, in the continuation, as it appeared too simple, one made there some additions which consist, according to the remark of Mr. Hittorff, in a plating applies against the old frontage of the primitive gate. The fact of plating is so obvious, that it is seen prolongs on the base of the bell-towers which border the gate. Several improvements still missed with the entirety completion of the temple: the nave, with its floor, its heavy pillars of architecture romano-Byzantine and with its full-clotheshangers, was not any more harmonizes some with the more recent parts of the building. This abbot, to make uniform, as much as possible, the architecture of Saint Remi, made apply warheads above them full-clotheshangers, and embellish the short and massive columns first time, by beams of columns which spring pillars to the roofs. With the floor poses by Herimar, it substituted a beautiful stone vault. It is this same vault which one remade partly, since 1825, with boards of fir tree covered out of plaster.
By these various constructions of ogival architecture of transition, by binding, while adding, let us slice the word, by plating the ogival style on the style romano-Byzantine, this man, really intelligent, could coordinate the architecture of this church with the warhead which started to be published in the beautiful construction industries.
One read, in old manuscripts of the library of Saint Remi, that Herimar was the author of these changes; that it would have them carry out following a fire which, in 1095, failed to consume this church. But the time which passed between this accident and the time of these constructions, made of 1164 has 1180, makes the thing incredible.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Jean Canary, abbot of Saint Remi, made cover the lead building. A timber construction, rather bad taste, or were the ringing, of the dimension Southerner, had been renversee, the day before Christmas 1387, by a furious hurricane: it made it replace by the beautiful arrow that one saw above the transept of the church.
This bell-tower, by a very gracious form, accompanied the two arrows very well by the gate, and crowned in an elegant way the roof of the building. Mr. Hittorff, load by the government of the work management, thinking that this bell-tower missed solidity, the wire to demolish in 1825, little time before the sacring of S. Mr. Charles X; but with the intention to make it rebuild. This architect had too much taste, not to feel that it missed with the beauty external of the building, and we know that ardently desired Mr. Brunette to make it restore.
On the end of the 15th century, Robert de Lenoncourt, second commendatory abbot of the abbey of Saint Remi, put the last hand has this beautiful basilica. The southernmost end of crossing was in very bad condition; it entirely made it rebuild, without subjecting itself servilely in new construction with the architecture which reigned in the body of the church.
Philippe Dubec, archbishop of Rheims, also commendatory abbot of Saint Remi, made build, in 1602, the pink of the dimension septentrional. The old one was tombee on June 11 of the same year, and had involves in its fall a species of small bell-tower places above. This pink was entirely terminee only under Louis of Lorraine, his successor, a few years after.
On April 8, 1662 gave much concern and made fear for the church. The arc-swell first which touched with the southernmost tower collapsed, and by its fall the second shook so much, which one was obliges to entirely rebuild them.
In 1725, two parts of the high collateral vaults of the dimension of the cloister of the monks, minees by continual rains, tomberent during time that one reappears the cover, and entrainerent in their fall the lower vaults.
These various accidents donnerent concerns, and made undertake a work more considerable than partial repairs which had taken place previously. Consequently, the sieurs Rousseau and Lefevre, architects of Rheims, made demolish and rebuild, in 1756, several parts of the vaults of the chorus, the nave and the transept, and a southernmost bracket of the dimension. One opened the following year the nine crossed dimension of the cloister, one renewed the frame and the cover, and one restored one of the arrows of the gate. The three perrons has clotheshanger of the main entrance which one still saw at the beginning of this year 1843, go back to this time.
All these repairs offered to the eye something of unpleasant; dom Heart, prior in 1757, felt it, and to give has these various parts a uniform tone, it made whitewash all the church from the top in bottom. One has finds with reason that this monk had lack of taste in the brickwork of the vault; a a little yellowish white, nuance of stone, were appropriate better than this red brick, color distorts and hard which displeases with the sight.
The monks of Saint Remi, seeing the little of solidity of the large gate, made all the necessary measures to rebuild it when the revolution burst.
We do not have anything has to say new restoration of this church. Confiee with the care of Misters Mazois, Robelin, Caristie, Hittorff, Durand and Brunette, it was to leave with their hands only in the most satisfactory state. These skilful artists took has spot, in the various rebuildings of this historic building, to compensate, as much as it were possible, have to them what time had deteriorated. Start in 1825, work were almost finish in 1813.
One saw in this chapter, that five churches were built with the memory of Saint Remi, on the spot same or its invaluable remainders were demountings into 533.
- The first, the small vault of Saint Christophe;
- the second, this same vault increased by the inhabitants one century after;
- third, that the predecessors of Hincmar had made begin and that this archbishop finished;
- the fourth, undertaken on the splendid levels of the Airard abbot, was not continuee;
- finally, the last is that which we are so glorious to have; commencee by Thierry, about 1040, continuee by Herimar, it was consacree by Leon IX: Pierre of Those changed the aspect it entirely; Jean Canart and Robert de Lenoncourt travaillerent, by new constructions, to still embellish it. Lastly, it was restauree in all its parts since 1825.
To corroborate what we said of various constructions of this interesting building, we will quote the report/ratio of Mr. Hittorff, load by the commission to examine the project of restoration.
The bell-towers, the nave, and the transept go back to the beginning of the 11th century. The absence of all care in the construction industry, and of all research in the details is sensitive there, of the pillars and of the columns are there surmount propping up has full-clotheshanger. The principal gate, the first span of the nave and the roundabout, last being carry out about the middle of the 12th century; these parts offer, has little thing near, the same kind of construction and same simplicity in the details, but with the application of the pointed arches. Lastly, the side gate of midday, works xve century, and well carries out, presents, with the ogival system, a great richness and much of research in the ornaments; i.e., that it is characterized by the specific qualities with the proportions, or already art had reached a notable degree of perfection. It is rare, indeed, to see advisable monuments by the design of the unit and execution of the details, which are not it also by the care and science bring has their construction.
But which are the architects or Masters (because thus one named them in 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th centuries) which has gives the plans, and carries out work of various constructions of this church? Would this be abbots, monks of the monastery? Any door has to believe it, since, in the centuries that we have just named, sciences and arts were taken refuge in the cloisters, and those who lived them, remained almost unknown with the men: they worked with the work of God, and from him only they awaited their reward.
History, which made known to us these constructions and those which have them commandees, is restee dumb on those which had the talent to direct them. Hoot-Libergier, Master of Nicaise Saint; Robert de Coucy, Bernard de Soissons, Left-handed person of Rheims, all the three Masters of the cathedral, flowered well after the great changes which Pierre of Those made make, in second half of the 12th century; there would be thus only Jean d' Orbais, Colart de Givry and Jean Loup, who lived in 15th, which could have made carry out work of the southernmost gate. It is only one conjecture: it is annoying that their names were not transmitted to the posterity.
Source: Historical tests on the church of Saint Remi of Rheims By Auguste Lacatte-Joltrois in 1899
(Church Saint-Rémi, reims)
Church Saint-Rémi, « Church Saint-Rémi » is a construction of the city of Reims (France, Marne). Church Saint-Rémi, French Heritage monument to Reims reims, marne
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Eglise Saint-Rémi, reims
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Reims: essais historiques sur ses rues et ses monuments Par Prosper Tarbé
Eglise Saint-Rémi, reims
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Reims: essais historiques sur ses rues et ses monuments Par Prosper Tarbé
Eglise Saint-Rémi, reims
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Avant incendie de 1774.
Eglise Saint-Rémi, reims
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