A little history of Saint-Maurice cathedral in Angers

The cathedralThe cathedral | ©Paolo Carnassale / CC-BY-SA

The primitive church was founded in the 5th century. The legend says saint Martin came back in Tours city with phials full of Christian martyr's blood. Among those phials, there was saint Maurice's blood.

Martin gave it to the church of Angers, which was dedicated to saint Maurice.

Put up on a hill, the cathedral has the form of the Latin cross. It was begun by bishop of Angers Hughes de Vendôme, who raised the nave with his own money.

The new church was consecrated in 1030. One century later, canon Hughes de Semblançay added colourful stained glass windows, very rare by that time. His successor put up nave's vaults to replace the old timber work. The choir dates back to 12th century, raised by bishop Raoul de Beaumont.

Canon Etienne d'Azaire fit the two wings in 1225: the right one is called Bishop's chapel, the left one is known as Knight's wing. In 1516, the two ruined spires were rebuilt.

But in 1533, a fire damaged them! One spire was entirely reconstructed. During the French Revolution, the city decided to send 12th century precious objects to a smelter from Nantes, because they were penniless...

Then, still during the Revolution, people started to replace traditional Christian feasts by revolutionaries' celebrations. So, Sunday became Décadi and our cathedral was transformed into a décadaire temple!... until 1800. In the 19th century, there was a huge restoration.