A little history of Saint-Victor abbey in Marseille

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The abbey - ©Guiguilacagouille / CC-BY-SA The abbey - ©Guiguilacagouille / CC-BY-SA
Saint-Victor abbey in Marseille Abbey Benedictine

The current abbey was raised by saint Cassien in the 5th century on the foundation of a former chapel where saint Lazarus was buried. In the 5th century, saint Cassien came, and founded the new abbey. It became a very famous abbey, even if in the 5th and 7th centuries, Barbarians often invaded it.

Finally in the 9th century they destroyed it. Viscount of Marseille Guillaume I re-raised it and in 1040, pope Benedict IX dedicated it with great pomp, a ceremony where more than 10 000 people pressed up! The church was rebuilt from 1200 to 1280; abbot Guillaume de Grimoard raised the big square towers and fortified the abbey.

He translated Victor’s relics here, in a magnificent golden reliquary (destroyed during the Revolution, bad luck). But the monastery was sold during the Revolution then destroyed: only remains the northern wall, crypts and the upper church. Buildings overlooking the harbour were raised between the 5th and 14th century.

Crypts were opened in the 3th century, they house a Black Virgin statue from the 13th century: it’s Our-Lady-of-the-Confession, a very famous saint in Marseille! The Romanesque upper church dates back to the 11th century: Victor’s relics and pope Urban V’s tomb used to be here...

And also!