Church of St Ronan, Locronan!

So I am staying in my gorgeous Brittany and take you again to the Finistére dept 29 the closest dept to mine 56. We have gone all over here and never stop amaze of the wonders encounters. Here we have been even in Christmas time as they have a nice market; see my other posts on Locronan in my blog.

However, I like to indulge you with a bit more on a wonderful monument that must be seen. This is the ensemble of the Church of Saint Ronan and the Chapelle de la Pénity that communicates next door. So bear with me and hope you enjoy it.

The Church of Saint-Ronan is a priority Church located in Locronan, Dept. 29 of Finistère, region of Brittany. The Chapel of the Penity, which houses the tomb of St. Ronan, is also part of the ensemble. The Church of St Ronan is one of the most beautiful specimens of the flamboyant ogival art of the 15C.

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From the Romanesque church, raised in 1031 by Alain Cainhart, Count of Cornouaille, on the site of the primitive Oratory of Saint Ronan, there is nothing left. The current Church of St Ronan was built between 1430 and 1480 by the Lords of the Nevet, with the donations of the Dukes of Brittany John V, Peter II and Francis II.

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The statue of the Saint welcomes you in the large porch with a low arch and a double gate with a trumeau. On each side, a décor of armatures, without niches of Apostles. Bypassing the Church in the north, by the rue de Châteaulin, you will see successively,  the lateral porch, with fests portals and mullioned windows; the sacristy, of fortified aspect, with an elegant skylight on the floor;  the cemetery, dominated by its Calvary ,16C adorned with statuettes and a risen Christ. The Virgin, Saint John, Saint Ronan and Saint Peter framed it;  the bedside of the Church, pierced by three flaming bays, topped by a gable with hooks with ridge cross; and the pallister, in the south, where the view embraces all the buildings, the Gothic steeples of the Priory and the Penity framing the square tower; the pinnacles forming on the roofs and balustrades, opened with hearts, running on the walls.

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The Church of Saint Ronan is 43 meters long. The width of the Church increases at the level of the last spans of the south collateral. The large western tower, which lost its arrow, is preceded by a raised porch of several steps. A 17C pulpit is seen inside.  The visitor entered by the great porch lying between the four piles of the tower. It is struck by the harmonious proportions of the nave, by the brightness of it. It is a rectangle nave divided into three naves by pillars without capitals in bundles of balusters. These support stone vaults, with liernes and warheads crossed. The vault keys are badges of the blazons destroyed by the French revolution. A different level and two pillars carrying a diaphragm arch marks the entrance of the monastic choir which was surrounded by a chancel, probably topped by a rood screen. Beautiful perspective on the Chapel and the retable of the Rosary.

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Vestiges of a statue of Saint Eloi, patron Saint of blacksmiths and veterinarians. Saint Christophe in tufa stone of 16C. This bearded giant deformed with a living and astonished gaze forms with the child Jesus whom he wears, a remarkably balanced group and of great expressive quality. He’s the patron Saint of travelers. Ancient statues of Santa Barbara or Sainte Barbe (patron Saint of my native town!), bearing her turn; patron Saint of the carriers and firefighters, and of Saint Margaret, famous penitent, trampling a furious dragon. Saint Herbot, protector of horned cattle. Saint Maurice, a Breton Benedictine Abbot, honored by the monks of the Priory who gave his name to one of the streets of Locronan where he had his Chapel. Saint Fiacre in granite stonen of 13C, patron Saint of gardeners and plumbers, Also, Saint Teresa of Lisieux. Saint Yves, who came on a pilgrimage to Locronan, patron Saint of Brittany and lawyers. Altar of the Rosary, altarpiece carved in 1668, framed by torsos columns, adorned with fifteen miniature medallions reproducing the mysteries; in the center, the crowned Virgin between St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena; on the left, Saint Joseph; right, Saint Joachim. In the niche, a graceful Italian Virgin. The high altar of the early 18C, with carved and gilded Tabernacle topped with Angels bearing the Cross.

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The great glass canopy done c. 1480  represents the passion in seventeen paintings. This canopy reads from left to right and from bottom to top. It begins with the resurrection of Lazarus and ends with the resurrection of Christ and the people in front of the empty tomb. the majestic profile of Christ of the twigs. Gift of Duke Francis II, father of Anne of Brittany c 15C. Right of the great glass canopy, Saint Ronan, Bishop, hieratic polychrome granite statue. On the left, Saint Corentin,in polychrome wood, a contemporary of Saint Ronan, first bishop of Quimper and patron Saint of the diocese. At the entrance of the Choir, the Apostle Saint John in his tragic pose and the Virgin standing near his son of polychrome wood from the 17C, frame the stained glass of Passion. The statue of Saint Mary Magdalene, bearing a skull, emblem of her penitence. She looks at Christ on the Cross. Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John ,near the pulpit, Saint Anthony, hermit, protector of livestock in polychrome wood of 17C. The pulpit c.1707, history and legend of Saint Ronan in 10 medallions.

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The Chapel of the Penity was built on the site of the primitive Church to serve as a reliquary at the tomb of Saint Ronan, idea from 1485. The tomb of St. Ronan is located in the Chapel of Penity, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII annexed to the Church at the supposed location of his former Hermitage. The Chapel of the Penity is a one-nave construction, consisting of three bays, one of which only, that of the West, does not communicate with the Church of St. Ronan. The Saint is depicted on a stone slab of kersanton, supported by six Angels carrying coats of arms; two Angels watch at his side, the other six bear the funeral table. The Saint’s son-in-law pushes his butt into the mouth of a monster and he blesses his right hand.

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Anne of Brittany, who had herself made a pilgrimage to Locronan in 1505, gave the Church an annuity on the duties of salt from the land of Guérande. The Penity or Hermitage, retains the memory of the donors: their coats of arms appear in the stained glass ,late 15C Saint Louis, wearing Crown and Royal mantle, represents the Maison de France. His statue also recalls that he made a crusade to bring the thorn wreath back to the Holy Chapel. He presented it in a linen, like Nicodemus of the group of the descent of the Cross. The descent of the Cross, carved masterpiece in granite, polychrome group of the 16C where Marie-Madeleine wears a costumed of Medici and Nicodemus a costume Henri II. Joseph of Arimathie extends the shroud. recessed in the pedestal, to the left of the altar, two bas-reliefs in kersantite stone, the apparitions of the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene and to the Disciples of Emmaus.

Located in the heart of a small city of character, the Church of Saint Ronan of Locronan is known for having been the backdrop of several films such as the Chouans (1947) by Henri Calef, or Tess (1979) by Roman Polanski.  It is the starting and arrival point of the Grande Troménie. The procession of the Grand Troménie takes place every six years between the second and third Sunday of July. The next will take place this year 2019. The other years takes place the petite Troménie(little tromenia).

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Locronan on history of St Ronan

Tourist office of Locronan on Locronan heritage

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on Locronan

Tourist office of Brittany on Locronan

There you go another gem in my Brittany ,this one in neighboring Finistére and lovely medieval Locronan. Hope you enjoy the tour and thank you for your visit.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

2 Comments to “Church of St Ronan, Locronan!”

  1. That’s a beautiful church!

    Liked by 1 person

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