The Abbey of Saint-Victor is a former abbey that was founded during the late Roman period in Marseille in the south of France, named after the local soldier saint and martyr, Victor of Marseilles.
The crypts of the abbey contains artefacts indicating the presence of a quarry that was active during the Greek period and later became a necropolis from 2 BC onward until Christian times. In 415, Christian monk and theologian John Cassian, having come from the monasteries of Egypt, founded two monasteries at Marseille: the Abbey of Saint Victor for men and the Abbey of Saint Sauveur for women. Both monasteries suffered from invasions by the Vikings and Saracens, and were destroyed in 838 and 923. In 977, monastic life was restored in the abbey and from the middle of the 11th century its abbots were requested to restore religious life in the surrounding monasteries that had become decadent.
Saint Isarn began construction work in 1020, building the first upper church, tower and altar. The abbey long retained contact with the princes of Spain and Sardinia and even owned property in Syria. The polyptych of Saint Victor, compiled in 814, the large chartulary (end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century), and the small chartulary (middle of the 13th century), containing documents from 683 to 1336, document the economic importance of the abbey in the Middle Ages.
Blessed Guillaume Grimoard, who was made abbot of Saint-Victor on 2 August 1361, became pope in 1362 as Urban V. He enlarged the church and surrounded the abbey with high crenellated walls. He also granted the abbot episcopal jurisdiction, and gave him as his diocese the suburbs and villages south of the city.
The abbey began to decline after this, especially from the early 16th century, when commendatory abbots acquired authority. In 1648 the échevins (municipal magistrates) of Marseille petitioned Pope Innocent X to secularise the monastery, because of the unsatisfactory behaviour of the monks. The Pope was not willing to do so, but instead had the abbey taken over by the reformist Congregation of Saint Maur.
However, the behaviour of the monks generally did not improve, and after their abysmal showing during the plague of 1720, during which they barricaded themselves inside their walls instead of providing any assistance to the stricken, Pope Benedict XIII secularised the monastery in 1726, converting it into a collegiate church with a community of lay canons under an abbot.
In 1774, it became by royal decree a noble chapter, the members of which had to be Provençals with four noble descents. The last abbot of Saint-Victor was Prince Louis François Camille de Lorraine Lambesc. He died in 1787 and was not replaced before the outbreak of the French Revolution.
In 1794 the abbey was stripped of its treasures. The relics were burned, the gold and silver objects were melted down to make coins and the building itself became a warehouse, prison and barracks. All that now remains of the abbey is the church of St. Victor, dedicated by Pope Benedict IX in 1040 and rebuilt in 1200. The abbey was again used for worship under the First Empire and restored in the 19th century. The church was made into a minor basilica in 1934 by Pope Pius XI.
The remains of Saint John Cassian were formerly in the crypt, along with those of Saints Maurice, Marcellinus and Peter, the body of one of the Holy Innocents, and Bishop Saint Maurontius. The abbey crypt previously held Cassian's remains, along with were previously interred in the abbey crypt, along with the remains of Saints Maurice, Marcellinus, Peter, also has it that it contains the relics of the eponymous martyr of Marseille from the 4th century.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.