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Abbey Church St Benoit sur Loire

Abbey Church St Benoit sur Loire  (click to enlarge picture)

In the heart of France beside the River Loire stands the historic abbey of Fleury, also known as St Benoit sur Loire.

I visited here for a few days during my 1987 hitch hiking pilgrimage from England to Jerusalem. The great Romanesque church houses a small but active community of Benedictines and the Abbey claims to have the relics of St Benedict in the crypt which were translated there from Monte Cassino in the seventh century.

The present church is Romanesque and dates from the eleventh century. There are about forty monks in the community.

If you have any doubts about the sublime, austere and simple beauty of Romanesque architecture, churches like Fleury will banish them once and for all.