Abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa

Codalet, France

The abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa origins lie at Sant Andreu d’Eixalada. It was founded by the Benedictines in about 840 AD. In the autumn of 878, the river broke its banks, flooding and destroying the monastery forcing the monks to seek refuge in the surrounding countryside. The community then transferred to Cuixà, a minor cenobitic community dedicated to Saint Germanus, led by Father Protasius. In June 879, Protasius and Miro the Elder, count of Conflent and Roussillon, signed the founding treaty of the new monastery, whereby Cuixà extended its properties with those contributed by Eixalada and Protasius was named abbot.

The abbey continued under the protection of the count of Cerdanya and Conflent. The territory then came under the domain of the family of Wilfred I, count of Barcelona in 870. In about 940, under the initiative of Sunifred II of Cerdanya, a new church dedicated to Saint Michael was built. In 956 the building was refurbished and made more sumptuous; the main altar was consecrated on 30 September 974 by Garí, a monk from Cluny who led five southern monasteries.

The Abbey was nationalised along with other ecclesiastical properties throughout France in the French Revolution. In 1790 the last monks were evicted and the Abbey was sold. Subsequently, the buildings fell into disrepair.

Some sculpture from the Abbey found its way into a collection of George Grey Barnard (1863–1938), a prominent American sculptor, and an avid collector and dealer of medieval art. In 1914, Barnard opened his 'Cloisters' exhibit in New York, along with sculpture from a number of medieval sites. The Cloisters was rebuilt and expanded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1938 at Fort Tryon Park, Upper Manhattan and is now a significant Medieval museum within the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The centerpiece and namesake of the museum is a cloister built using fragments of the 12th century cloister of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxha.

The Cuxa Abbey was refounded at its original site under the Cistercians, a reformed version of the Benedictines, in 1919. The Abbey was transferred back to the Benedictines proper in 1965.

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Address

D27, Codalet, France
See all sites in Codalet

Details

Founded: 879 AD
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

DWBonny (11 months ago)
An interesting place to enjoy a concert on a summer evening, provided you have a car and are not relying on public transportation, or, like someone I know, you could end up spending the night watching approaching thunder storms from a park bench (until the rain arrives, that is) but at least the clean but chilly restrooms were left open all night.
Graham Gibbs (2 years ago)
One of the sites the NYC Cloisters came from! The staff was very kind and excited to explain this to me (rather than resentful that some of the abbey ended up in the US). The details and colors of the abbey need to be seen in person. The hues of pink! The strange, pseudo-sexual grotesques engraved into the pillars!
Ilan Carmel (2 years ago)
Small area for visiting, not really worth the effort unless you right in the front door...
Gabriel Chifflier (2 years ago)
Amazing place to visit. A pity the Americans still keep part of it in New York!
Giuseppe Mennella (3 years ago)
Of of the most important romanic style church in the Eastern Pyrenees. Marvellos cloister and beatiful gardens
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