This website requires JavaScript.

Little histories about Saint-Bonaventure church in Lyon

Northern façade | Pucesurvitaminee / CC-BY-SA
Massacre Revolt Pilgrimage Relic Parish church Friar Bonaventure Saint-Bonaventure church in Lyon

An eventful story

The foundation

Franciscan monks came in Lyon in the beginning of the 13th century. Humbert de Grolée gave them one of his land on the left bank of the river Rhône, so they could found their convent.

Humbert’s grandson, Jacques de Grolée, raised a small church in 1325.

4 years later, their church was finished. Then the whole monastery buildings were completed at the end of the 15th century by Simon of Pavia, king Louis XI’s doctor.

Immediately, brotherhoods started to frequent the church: they raised about 20 lateral chapels!

Merchants from Troyes city dedicated a chapel to saint Fortunat; stone cutters to saint Jack and saint Philip; glaziers to saint Clair and Luke; drapers to saint Matthew...

A pilgrimage and riots

What about Bonaventure? He was cardinal Jean da Fidenza, nicknamed brother Bonaventure ("Fortune"), and he died here in 1274.

People from Lyon started to come in pilgrimage on his tomb, but also kings and queens.

Anne de Beaujeu, king Louis XI’s daughter, even gave a beautiful chest-reliquary ornated with precious gem.

What happened, here, otherwise? Oh, sure, the Rebeyne ("riot", in Lyon dialect), on April 1529. People from Lyon were upset, because of a new rise of the wheat market. Enough!!

They were already poor... so they took up arms and gathered in the church.

Their goal? To take wheat stocks intended for the rich! This riot ended with a bloodshell one week later, all the agitators were hanged on the square in front of the church...

A Revolution!

Here we are in 1562: the convent was damaged by Protestant troops, led by the terrible baron des Adrets. They occupied the church (they converted it into a temple) several years!

Oh, by the way, here, king of France Henri IV forgave his friend Biron his first betrayal... first, but not last!

And then... other days, other ways: in the church took place a deputy meeting for the States General, in March 1789.

After that, they transformed it into a barn and into a manege.

Every pieces of art were stolen, lateral chapel were walled up, stained-glass windows destroyed... Even Bonaventure’s relics ended in river Saône!

In 1807, they made a new reliquary, the exact copy of the one given by Anne de Beaujeu (which disappeared during the Revolution). They put Bonaventure’s last remains inside, found in the river banks: one bone and a tooth.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!