Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, Rochefort

„Curvata Resurgo“/“Bent, I stand up again“ is the motto of the Trappist Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy near Rochefort from 1664 that clearly reflects its changing fortunes. This is the second Trappist abbey, which I am showing here (after Orval) of only 11 monasteries in the world that are allowed to brew the famous Trappist beer (more about the Trappist Order and the Trappist beer you can find in the publications about Orval and Mariawald Abbey in Heimbach.)

In 1464, the nuns moved to the Monastery of Félipré in France as a result of an exchange with the local monks who replaced them in Rochefort and rebuilt the monastery under the name of Saint Rémy/Saint Remigius. (Saint Remigius (459-533) is famous for having in AD 498 baptised the First King of the magical Merovingian dynasty, Clovis I, in Reims. And this was considered to be a key moment in the Christian history.)

After the unpleasant times during the French Revolution, when all secular and religious buildings were plundered, demolished, or put out to contract, in 1887 Trappist monks took over the monastery.

The first monastery brewery dates from 1595. It was rebuilt after the takeover by the monks. Three are the beers brewed here under the name of Rochefort.

The new Gothic Revival Church was built in 1900 and renovated in 1993 in a Romanesque style.

And while the area open for visitors in Orval is only that of the old abbey ruins, here it is only the church that is accessible. In fact, even this is not quite true as the access is blocked by bars. You can see something through them, but it is not the same. The access restrictions to the churches always bring to mind thoughts of concealing something.

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, eglise (4)

On the floor of the church lies a labyrinth inspired by that in Chartres Cathedral in France. Even only that fact – the inspiration by that mystical labyrinth from AD 1200 might be a sufficient reason for the closing of the church. Who knows?

To the left, you can see a wooden statue of Mary from the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century.

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (3)

The only open area of the property that you are free to visit is the narthex. To the right in the photograph is the inner door to the church.

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex.jpg

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (2)

The narthex is in itself interesting enough.

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (7)

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (9)

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (10).jpg

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (11)

N.D. de Saint Remy, Rochefort, narthex (12).jpg

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