Pilgrimages and Saint-Sernin Cathedral

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  587 Words
Date:  2022-10-29

Fear and speculation of the end of the world have caused a lot of panic to the millennial who believe that the world is coming to an end. Before the year 1000, it was believed that the second coming of Jesus Christ was near, and when it didn't materialize, the religious believed that it would be in 1033, a thousand years since the death of Christ (Bolli). However, from the year 950 a lot of religious structures and religious pilgrimages were constructed (Bolli). Fear of the end of the world led people to travel to the pilgrimages which were deemed to be a sacred place to seek salvation and as gratitude that the world was not over yet. Santiago de Compostela in Spain was preferred over the travel to the Middle East which was too expensive and far (Bolli). Thousands of faithful travel to Santiago de Compostela on foot across Europe and this has led to the many constructions of pilgrimage churches along the way, one of them being the Basilica of Saint-Sernin in Toulouse.

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Saint-Sernin was constructed in the 11th century for the faithful on their way to Santiago de Compostela, and just like the pilgrimage churches, it has the same features like the early pilgrimage churches (McFarlane). For instance, during the Romanesque period, people practiced the cult of the relics, which are religious objects, and a pilgrimage church was considered a home of relics (Bolli). Saint-Sernin was a home of the relics because the body of Bishop Saturninus was placed in the Basicila site (McFarlane). Saint-Sernin also hosts a number of relics which include a piece of the True Cross placed in the chapels and crypts (McFarlane). The second characteristic is that pilgrimage churches were built in a way to accommodate large crowds, and Saint-Sernin is one of the largest churches in Europe, having a length of 115 meters and a width of 64 meters and a height of 21 meters (McFarlane). It has a huge barrel-vaulted nave with side aisles and sculptures with religious themes (McFarlane). Another feature that makes it ideal for a pilgrimage church is that Saint-Sernin is built with stone barrels of red bricks and white stones (McFarlane). Pilgrimage churches had thick walls and small windows which made it darker; however, Saint-Sernin has a five-tiered bell tower which is lighted at night (McFarlane). Finally, the purpose of the pilgrimage was not entirely for devotional purposes, and to some people, it was an opportunity to go and see the world. Saint-Sernin is constructed in a manner that depicts the art and craftsmanship portraying the history of the Romanesque period, and this is why people are charged to enter the apse and crypt (McFarlane).

Despite the fact that Saint-Sernin is called a Basilica church, it has the features of pilgrimage church as depicted during the Romanesque period; it has a few deviating features. For instance, it has an ambulatory which enables people to view the relics without disturbing the mass, it is much larger compared to the early Basilica churches, and it is mainly constructed of bricks and has vaulted ceilings. Saint-Sernin is also constructed in the form of a crufix. It, however, serves its purpose as a pilgrimage church, and it is along the routes that lead to the Santiago de Compostela, in Spain.

Works Cited

Bolli, Christine. "Pilgrimage Routes And The Cult Of The Relic". Khan Academy, https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/romanesque1/a/pilgrimage-routes-and-the-cult-of-the-relic. Accessed 4 Dec 2018.

McFarlane, Marilyn. "Toulouse's Saint Sernin, Largest Romanesque Church In Europe". Europe Up Close, 2014, https://europeupclose.com/article/toulouses-saint-sernin-largest-romanesque-church-in-europe/. Accessed 4 Dec 2018.

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Pilgrimages and Saint-Sernin Cathedral. (2022, Oct 29). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/pilgrimages-and-saint-sernin-cathedral

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