The Cathedral ,the Church at Quimper

I am here after a heavy rains in the area , now the calm and sun is out. Back to write about Quimper that wonderful Breton city of the Finistére dept 29. This time will do it on the Cathedral Corentin and the Church Saint Mathieu, the main ones there and deservingly so a page on them alone. I have written several posts on the city and sights you can search in my blog front page on the right column.

First, I would tell you about the Church of Saint Mathieu , right in the quartier or neighborhood of same name. It is a historical Church as was the center of opposition by the Priests/bishops to the French revolution idea of swearing the Constitution when they were only to swear to God. The differences most of them were settle in the Concordat of 1802 in France.

It is reason to believe that the first church erected in Quimper, under the word of Saint-Mathieu (apostle of Ethiopia martyred there and his body Is now at the Church of Salerno, Italy), was at the time when, following a respectable tradition the new Churches were named after Saints.. The new Church, it was saved the portal and the steeple of 1844. The current steeple is 52 meters above the pavement of the street: it is 10 meters more than the old; And the total length of the church, outside, is 54 meters, 47,5 meters inside. Its interior width is 20 meters, and its height, under the ceilings is about 15 meters. The arms of the transept have, each, only 2 meters deep. The new Church Saint Mathieu as we see today was completed in December 13 ,1896.

The two new canopies of the apse and the old restored. The canopy of the left represents scenes of the life of our Lord before his passion, that of the middle, the passion, and that of the right, scenes of his life after his resurrection, together with the stained glass of Saint-Charles, stained glass of Sainte-Elisabeth , stained glass of Saint-Georges, stained glass of St. Martin. The parish of Saint-Mathieu was abolished by the new French revolution Constitution, which brought together all the parishes of the Episcopal city under the Government of the bishop, administering with the help of Episcopal Vicars. The old bishop before the French revolution fought hard to keep it without constitutional constraints and wrote many articles again the revolution; eventually fleeing to England until 1796. Msgr François-Guillaume Coroller ; then returned to Quimper, and died rector of Saint-Mathieu on 5 July 1807. More on it here in French a site on religious buildings in France as also in infobretagne ,not much on it in the city or tourist office probably due to the meaning of counter revolution it has.

The Cathedral Saint Corentin is another matter, much revered by all and on everybodies webpage. It is a masterpiece so much impossible for me to concentrate on every detail but I give you some here and you are welcome to come ::)

On the site of previous buildings of the 9C and 11C, its construction was decided in 1239 by Bishop Radwan, the ducal chancellor of Pierre de Dreux, who came from Ile de France. It is the time of the radiant Gothic, where Chartres, Reims or Amiens are built. It is necessary to wait for the advent of the Duke Jean V so that at the beginning of the 15C ends the first part of the work, the choir which is covered with a cross vault of warheads and colored with painted ribs and stained glass with silver yellow. In the second quarter of the 15C only are undertaken, from the West End, first the towers and the porch, then the nave. After 1460 this is grafted onto the choir via the transept, which is surmounted by a 16 meters central steeple. At the end of the century, the builders covered it with a stone vault, coated with ochre and traced to the imitation of a brick assemblage; They chiseled the window mullions and, in the time of Queen Anne of Brittany, filled them with stained-glass windows.
The revolution and the terror of 1793 put an end to it, transforming the Cathedral into factory stalls hanging on the sides of the cathedral liquors flows and, inside, making a clear place to the cult of reason, by a great burning of furniture, reliquary and statues of polychrome wood are consumed. With the Concordat (the accord between the Church and the Republic) , the church heals its wounds and restores its Cathedral.

Entrance is done through the West portal with its covings populated with angels, the bearer of a statue of Christ; We must go through the one who said, “I am the Door”.

You will see an infusion of stained glass windows all gorgeous amongst them the stained glass windows of the high nave north and south ,and then those of the transept arms to the north and south as well ; these are works from the 16C , representing on the knees of the Lords and Ladies of Cornouaille and standing on their side their patron saints, the Virgin, St. Anne, John the Baptist, the Apostles, Peter, Paul, John, James, Andrews to the Saints and holy ones particularly honoured in the 15C, the Archangel Michael, Catherine, Marguerite, Francis of Assisi, Christophe and some Breton Saints , especially Corentin, etc.

Around the crucifixion of the Christ, the stained glass of the choir is reserved for the personalities concerned by the completion of this construction: the ducal family of John V. Then, Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and the canon of Quenquis , and their holy presenters and the eminent families, such as those of the Lords of Juch, then captains of Quimper. These works are from the 15C, with the gothic dominated by grey and yellow silver, are past almost a century to those of the nave, at least those which have not been restored.

The altar, in the center where the eyes converge, brings together the prayers of the faithful. He recalls both by his table the Supper of the Holy Thursday and by the glorious cross associated with the death of Good Friday and the resurrection of the tomb. It is for the church Christ himself and the cult that surrounds this altar goes to his person. In front of the sanctuary, the ancient pulpit to preach, of polychrome and gilded wood, is a baroque work of 1679, , who evokes in his medallions the life of Saint Corentin. The former master altar under a canopy at Seraphim, presented at the Universal Exposition of 1867 . The closing of the wrought Iron Choir is nice too.

Then you have the Chapels all gorgeous I just took some, the Cathedral is immense full of chapels and stained glass and statues lovely worth a detour indeed. These are some of Chapels in the pictures.

Chapel of the baptismal font. John the Baptist presides over the fountain baptismal.

Chapel of the three drops of blood, the blood collected on the tablecloth of the altar is preserved with the head of Christ Roman, beheaded by the revolutionaries. The stained glass represents the scene of perjury.

Chapel of the transept with the altar of the Holy Cross. Statues of Saint Guénolé and Saint Conogan (2nd Bishop of Quimper).

The Chapel of Saint-Pierre evokes on its walls the collation of powers to bind and untie in Saint Peter. His window of 1856 reminds of the construction of the arrows; presented by Saint Joseph, the bishop offers them to the Virgin and to Saint Corentin. A limestone statue, indicates its burial (+- 1855).

Chapel of Saint-Frédéric. The stained glass and murals trace the life and martyrdom of this Saint, originally from Utrecht, Bishop of Wallachia, in the time of Louis the good-natured.

Chapel of Saint-Roch. It illustrates the life of this Saint, Pilgrim of Rome and devoted to the plague; Reached himself of this evil, he dies abandoned, except of his companions, an angel and his dog.

Chapel of Saint-Corentin. The stained glass and murals report the legend of the cathedral’s patron, his ties with King Gradlon, Guénolé and Tudy. The episode of his fish symbolizes both the multiplication of the breads and fish of the Gospel and the Ichthys (anagram of Christ) Eucharistic that invites to feed daily of his imperishable flesh. On the altar, a reliquary recalls its memory.

Chapel of the Sacred Heart. Onyx Altar, the author of the former master altar (19C). Chapel of devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, appearing the apparition of Notre-Dame to Bernadette in the Cave of Massabielle.

Replica of the setting at the tomb of Bourges. This sculpted group of the eight-character tomb is a unique cast made from the 16C tomb which adorns the crypt of the Cathedral of Bourges. It was installed at the Cathedral of Quimper in 1868 at the request of the Bishop of the time. From left to right: Joseph Arimathea, Saint John the Evangelist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Marie Madeleine, Marie Salomé, Marie Mother of John, and Nicodemus.

The large organs, built by Dallam in 1643, several times or even remade in 1848 by Cavaillon-Coll. They were restored in 2000 by Giroud.

You can read a lot more on the city and tourist office pages here:

The trip is always rewarding so close and so beautiful; enjoy the photos of Quimper better buildings;the Cathedral and the Church. Cheers

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2 Comments to “The Cathedral ,the Church at Quimper”

  1. You can’t beat the Art inside and outside a cathedral. We are always drawn to them. Thanks for sharing Quimper.

    Liked by 1 person

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