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

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gulan PR. (7 months ago)
Don’t forget to watch video at entrance to understand history.Really worth a visit
Rebeca Polo (8 months ago)
Gorgeous abbey that has been partially restored, so much history in this place. Worth the visit!
Peter Campbell (10 months ago)
Historic large abbey that has been partially restored. The church roof has been replaced. Information about the history is available. Cellars and crypt are impressive. Well worth a visit.
Yvon Dalat (11 months ago)
Very beautiful building with a painting exposition permanent and temporary. A must see!
Sarah Masters (14 months ago)
Awesome 11th century Abbey with oodles of history and spectacular architecture.
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