About Abbaye Saint-Victor
Abbaye Saint-Victor is an 11th Century abbey in Marseille dedicated to the Roman soldier turned Christian martyr, Saint Victor.
Abbaye Saint-Victor history
There were originally two such abbeys in Marseille, built in the mid-5th century, but both were destroyed by the Saracens in the 8th or 9th century. Two centuries were to pass before just the single abbey was rebuilt.
From the end of the 12th to the 13th century, the abbey was entirely rebuilt in accordance with Roman construction. The monastery was then fortified and the whole became part of the port defence system. From the 11th to 18th century, Saint-Victor had complete supremacy over all Christianity in the Mediterranean area.
Monastic fervour died down and after the Revolution the church was used as a hay warehouse, prison and barracks which helped it avoid demolition. Many of the riches of Abbaye Saint-Victor were stolen at this time. It was returned to the cult and restored in the 19th century. Pope Pius XI made the church a minor basilica in 1934.
Abbaye Saint-Victor today
The medieval architecture today still features massive stone walls and crenellated towers. The interior of grey stone has several noteworthy relics and artifacts, some of which are all that survived revolution and war. One of the most interesting aspects of the fortress-like Abbaye Saint-Victor is its crypt, which houses a series of early Christian tombs and sarcophagi.
Inside the abbey you will see a stone statue of Saint Victor, modern stained glass windows, which replaced the ones damaged in WWII, a grand 17th century pipe organ, a separate 5th century carved stone altar in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, and two recessed reliquaries housing sacred remains of Saints Victor, Margaret Mary Alacoque, Benoit Labre, and Jean Cassien, among others. It is truly worth a visit if you are in the area.
Getting to Abbaye Saint-Victor
The address of the abbey is 3 Rue Abbaye, Marseille, France, 13007. It is located right next to Fort Saint Nicholas and overlooks the Old Port in Marseille. Bus on routes 54 and 81 will take you right next to the abbey at bus stop ‘St Victor’.
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