site's logo and link back to the English-speaking home page decorative picture 2, the same than above, as smaller .Books Monks Safeguarded When Their Monastery Attacked arrow back

The Tribulations of A Saint's Relics by The Carolingian Era

pages decorative bandeau, reminder of the one of the main entry home page and the localized home page

Philibert (ab. 616-ab. 684) was a heir to a noble family in Aquitaine, France as his father was a familiar to king Dagobert I. He first became the abbot of a monastery in the region of Paris, where the monks lived under the rule of St. Colombanus. He wrote a rule by which the Irish roughness, albeit still extant, was attenuated with some elements of the St. Benedict one. He then journeyed across France, Switzerland and Italy, passing from a abbey to another. By 654 A.D., Philibert founded the abbey of Jumièges (in current Normandy, France) which eventually became home to 900 monks and 1,500 of their servants by 690 A.D. Philibert was to found also the Norman abbayes of Pavilly and Montivilliers. Whence, Philibert organized the exchange abroad of the products of the domain against slaves he was freeing. As he was involved into the struggles of the time, he bas imprisoned in Rouen by order of Ebroin, the mayor of the palace of Neustria. He was swiftly freed however as Ebroin had been murdered and he went founding, in the island of Noirmoutiers, off the western coast of France, a new monastery with the authorization of Ansoald, bishop of Poitiers. By the course of 10 years only, Philibert evangelized the island, which was poor and weakly populated, as he put lands into culture, he gathered salt and built roads, bridges, levees and a harbor. The abbey had been built according to the plan of Jumièges as it became the place where the body of Philibert, who died on August 20th, 685, was placed into a grey-blue, Pyrenean marble sarcophage. The island, which was named in Latin 'Herus,' or 'Herius,' eventually turned 'Hermonstier' after the monastery was built by Philibert. That name in turn transformed into 'Noirmonstier' (in Latin, 'nigrum monasterium' or 'the black abbey'), through a corruption of 'en Hermonstier.' That, on a other hand, was against its name of 'white abbey' which was given by sailors who, from ashore, saw the abbey among poplars, the leaves of which feature a white-colored side. The abbey of Noirmoutiers was repared and enriched by Charlemagne, which was a possible sign of decline, which could have been linked, generally, to the devastation caused by Sarracens on the shores of Aquitaine by the time of Charles the Hammer

The chapel containing the relics of St. Philibert in Tournus, France
The chapel containing the relics of St. Philibert in Tournus, France

The Northmen raids began reaching the island of Noirmoutiers by the early 9th century. The monks of Noirmoutiers, with permission of Emperor Louis the Pious, had been building a new abbey in Déas, on the mainland since 815 A.D. as that land had been given to Philibert by Ansoald for the needs of the abbey of Noirmoutiers. The abbey of Déas thus became a place of refuge. Déas, nowadays St-Philibert-de-Granlieu, was a villa to the monks at the time. The country then turned the property of the lords of Retz, of which Gilles de Rais, or 'Blue-Bearb,' companion to Joan of Arc, who was famously involved into satanist murders of children. As the Vikings attacks occurred during summer, the monks yearly was settling in Déas. Ditches were authorized by Louis the Pious by 819 as the location officially became a monastery meanwhile. The Viking raids are turning such that, by 836 A.D., the monks of Noirmoutiers tooke the decision to definitively abandon their orignal abbey. They took with them, at man's back, the sarcophage of St. Philibert and other relics of the saint. Numerous miraculous healings occurred along the route and Déas became the place of a important pilgrimage. Through Ermentarius, the author to the Life of St. Philibert, the monks of Noirmoutiers, worried to find a more secure retreat from the Northmen than their island, or Déas. A same migration occurred everywhere in the Carolingian empire during two generations as relics and monks scoured the roads. Request of monks of Noirmoutiers ought to be brought to the Frankish king by Hilduin, Abbot of St-Denis and archchaplain to Louis the Pious then Charles the Bald as it eventually was count Vivien, who had harboured the monks in 846, into the priory of Cunaud, in Anjou, near the Loire river, which was dedicated to St. Maxentiole. Monks of Noirmoutiers, on a other hand, made of Cunaud one of their most important priory. Three years after they had settled in Déas, Abbot Hilbod obtained from Emperor Louis the Pious, the fief of Scobrit, in Poitou, with outbuildings and the St-Vital church but as the Northmen had conquered the city of Nantes by 843 A.D., he turned to count Vivien with the agreement of King Charles the Bald as the relics of St Philibert had been hidden in the monastery of Déas. By 847, the Viking threat deepened however and they now were attacking too further into the lands, with the monastery of Déas plundered that year. As they had re-built their abbey, the monks eventually decided to leave Déas in turn as a new attack had occurred by 858 A.D. The 2-ton sarcophage was walled in the crypt of the abbey as the body of St. Philibert moved to Cunaud. As Hilbod was still abbot and as he saw the Viking devastation keeping and reaching all along the rivers of Gaul and the death of count Vivien, he obtained from Charles the Bald the place of Messay, in Poitou, with some villages and the priory of Busseuil, in Maine, which was dedicated to St. Trogèse. The monks of Noirmoutiers settled there by 863 A.D. By 869 Abbot Geilo, who was to become bishop of Langres, went to the court of Charles and he got from him the priory of St-Pourçain. That same year he had been donated with a place named Godit, in the bishopric of Le Puy, where his monks built a priory. Nor St-Pourçain nor Godit however were enough to house of the large community of brothers and Geilo kept his efforts to find a location for the monks. After a donation in Lotharingian Champagne was not accepted for cause of either that Geilo saw that the brotherly wars were still raging there, or that Charles the Bald did not want to leave some lands there, monks of St. Philibert eventually settled in Tournus, by May 875 A.D., among Burgundian lands which no doubt were less disputed. Their settlement were based in law upon a royal charter by Charles dated previous March which granted monks with the abbey of St-Valerian, its outbuildings, the town of Tournus and the castrum of it, with too the right to elect their abbot, and upon a assembly, in May, of Burgundian prelates by which the monks were confirmed with the abbey in Tournus and the other rights and lands they had already acquired along their tribulations. It is possible that Adalger, which was appointed bishop of Autun by that very assembly, who played a role in the assignment of Tournus. Tournus generally consisted of three elements, with the abbey (which was first named of St-Valerian then of Our Lady, St-Philibert and St-Valerian as the abbots of Noirmoutiers already bore a title 'Abbot of Our Lady and St. Philibert about 869 A.D.), the castle (named 'Trinorcium'), and the bourg, or suburbs (named 'Tornutium'). The abbey was the landowner to the castle and the bourg. 'Tornutium' solely, the bourg's name, gave modern 'Tournus' as the abbey often is termed 'Trenorciense monasterium,' 'the castle's abbey.' Bethrens could return to Déas by the 11th century but the relics of their founder however remained in Tournus, with a large abbatial church built to harbour those. Two bones only were transfered back in that region of the Atlantic coast of France. Bones and other relics of St. Philibert were scattered by Protestants. A main source to the life of St. Philibert is the 'Vita Filiberti' which was due to a anonymous monk of Jumièges in the 8th century and re-written by Ermentarius, a monk of Noirmoutiers. The devotion to St. Philibert is still alive nowadays

Tournus was a town which lied under the jurisdiction of the county of Chalon by the Carolingian times. It was located by the foot of hills, on the right bank of the Saône river, midway between the towns of Chalon-sur-Saône and Mâcon as it was endowed with one of the best country in Burgundy and with the trade routes allowed by the Saône and Loire rivers making it a commercial place. By the time of Rome, Tournus, with the name 'Castrurm Tinurtium' served like a fortified granary, with a castrum, to the military. The Lower Bresse was found on the other bank of the Saône river, a land filled with water and mud during winter. Tournus entered history mainly due to the martyr of St. Valerian, which occurred under Emperor Marcus Aurelus. Valerian, along with Marcellus, has miraculously escaped martyrdom which first Christains had suffered in Lyon with Bishop Photin. They took on to evangelize farther North during two years, a one by the Eduan, the other by the Sequanian Gauls. Roman Prefect Priscus however had them arrested and killed, by 179, few days after each other. Marcellus died in Chalon, where Burgundian King Guntram will have the abbey of St-Marcel built as Valerian in Tournus. Once Christendom admitted into the Roman empire, a chapel was built upon Valerian's tomb, which turned a place of healing and pilgrimage. A abbey was founded thereafter, North of the castrum, which likely was also built by order of Guntram and with a direct attachment to the king. Source then, during 300 years, remained silent about Tournus and the abbey as the latter likely reached by Sarracens by 731 A.D. It is possible that the 'Constantine's Dream' occurred by 312 A.D. in the vicinity of that of Chalon-sur-Saône as the future emperor was journeying from England to Italy to fight with his opponent. St. Marcellus and St. Valerian thus, both who evangelized the area, gaining a pecular importance. Monks who had come from Noirmoutiers cohabitated a while with those of St. Valerian as the abbot gave himself a right to mint since 928. Tournus was damaged in 936-937 by Magyars as Abbot Stephen, by 960, is the first known builder of a abbey. By 879 A.D., after a conflict between the proponents of the founding saint and the ones of the saint from Vendée, the relics of St. Philibert, a great maker of miracles, were laid down in the church's core and the one of St. Valerian in the crypt as the monks of St. Philibert building a wall around the precinct. A fire occurred by 1006 as reconstruction began by 1008 A.D. The consecration of the choir was performed by the bishops of Chalon and Macon in 1019 as construction was to last still a long time. Monks also had fortified the abbatial church. Among the abbots of Tournus, one was made a saint, St. Ardain, who ruled the abbey from 1028 to 1056. The abbay of Tournus was sacked by the Protestants in 1562 A.D., of it the relics of St. Valerian. The abbey eventually turned into a canonial chapter by 1627. Cardinal André-Hercule de Fleury, who was the Prime Minister to King Louis XV of France, was abbot of Tournus from 1715 to 1742. The abbey turned town's property during the French Revolution as the church was given back to Church by 1802. The town of Tournus represents where the northern border lies for the Roman roof tiles, which are characteristic to Mediterranean regions as the area, generally, is also the border between northern, and southern languages in France, customary and Roman law and northern, and southern architecture. Tournus was a cultural, religous and political center during the Middle Ages as it had lasted like a stop between Mâcon and Chalon, with the right of mint, and serving along the route of the Saône river, which was used both for commerce and pilgrimages. Barge business was very active in the city. As it laid further between the hills of Mâconnais and the Bresse, the abbey also had gained a right to annual fairs as people and products were ferried across the river. Tournus obtained the right to close itself into a wall during the second halve of the 15th century amidst struggles between the count of Mâcon, abotts, the King of France, or the Dukes of Burgundy. The city heavily endured damages during the Wars of Religion. Commerce, industry and craft, during the Modern Era, replaced the abbey's influence, which lasted until the mid-19th century! The phylloxera crisis, which attached vineyards in France, the competition brought into by the industrial era, or railroad competing with the Saône eventually turned Tournus into a small, provincial town. Here is following a list of the abbots of St-Philibert-of-Tournus abbey until the county of Chalon disappeared

The abbey of St-Philibert-of-Tournus was lying in the territory of the county of Chalon. The pagus of Châlon-sur-Saône had been inhabited had the Ambarri, a client people to Eduans. The next to come Emperor Constantine I the Great had his troops from Trier, Germany, to embark on the Saône river so they journey to Rome. It is close to there that he had his miraculous vision of the Cross, a omen to his coming victory, of which he was to device the Labarum in 312 A.D. Chalon owed its importance to that Emperor Julian the Apostate came in the city to fight against the Alamas by 356 A.D. The city, for a while, then turned the capital of some of the heirs of King Clovis, by about 600 A.D. Chalon was ruined by the Arabs in 731. Charlemagne, under his reign, had the St-Vincent cathedral repaired. Emperor Louis the Pious received the submission of Bernard of Italy in Chalon as Guerin, count of Chalon, was the defensor of that emperor against his rebelled sons. Lothair, one of those, took revenge on him by burning the city entirely and having almost all his inhabitants killed. The country came to be known like 'Chalonais,' or 'Chaunois.' By 864 A.D. Charles the Bald made of Chalon one of 8 cities allowed to mint. The city saw the sojourn, about 879, of Pope John VIII, who was fleeing the Duke Carloman of Bavaria and he canonized the relics of bishops Loup, Agricolus, Flavus, John, Grat, Tranquilus and of the hermit Desiderius. Then came the Vikings and the Magyars. It took one century to Chalon to set up back from the Hungarian looting and the hunger it had triggered. The county of Chalon possessed a specific count since the 6th century A.D., under the Merovingian kings. First known counts under the Carolingians then, began with Guerin, in 836, who maybe was the head of the house of Vergy. Succeded to him Eccard (876), Manasses of Vergy (921) and Robert (961). The county of Chalon extended from current towns Charolles, West to Bellevesvre, East and from Tournus, South, to Chagny, North

The county of Chalon eventually was engaged, for a quarter part, about 1096 A.D. to Bishop Gauthier of Couches as it was sold for another quarter, some later, to Duke Hugh II of Burgundy as the remaining, by 1237 A.D. was exchanged with Duke Hugh IV against possessions in the County of Bourgogne, of the Franche-Comté

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 2/6/2015. contact us at
Free Web Hosting