The Cathedral Saint Samson, interiors !!!

Now, again, passed by this town several times and always on my way to other places never stop. This time in my road warrior trip on my way back from the Manche dept 50 (see posts) , I decided to come to Dol de Bretagne, and voilà saw the masterpiece hugely beautiful Cathedral Saint Samson. On this post will concentrate on the interiors with another post for the exteriors, excuse me if some text is repeated but like to give it continuity. Its a must to see me think. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson nave to altar jul22

The Saint-Samson Cathedral in Dol-de-Bretagne is Gothic in style. It is located in the department 35 of Ille-et-Vilaine, region of my lovely Bretagne. It has been the seat of the bishopric of Dol-de-Bretagne since the year 555, one of the nine ancient bishoprics of Brittany. In 848, Nominoë erected Dol into an archdiocese, a status that would last until 1199. During the French revolution, the cathedral successively became Temple of Reason, stable and warehouse. During the restoration of the religious function, Dol did not recover its title of bishopric. It was indeed abolished by the Concordat of 1801, and its territory divided between the dioceses of Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Quimper and Évreux. It should be noted that it was under Napoleon III that Brittany regained its status as an archdiocese, with Rennes as its seat. It was in 548 that Saint Samson of Dol, monk bishop of Cardiff, Wales, arrived in Dol and founded a monastery there. Shortly after, in 555, Judual, king of Brittany, transformed the monastery into a bishopric. After the coronation of Nominoë, sovereign of the Bretons, in 848, the city became the religious capital of Brittany. Soon a pre-Romanesque cathedral replaced the original church, but this was destroyed by the Vikings in 1014. A Romanesque cathedral was then built. In the middle of the 11C.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson pulpit front jul22

In 1203, the King of England, John the Landless, burnt down the Romanesque cathedral. Fearing for his soul, he will contribute to the financing of its reconstruction which starts in September of the same year , In 1231, the nave is completed ,and the transept and the choir with a flat apse are built. The relics of Saint Samson de Dol attract many pilgrims, which necessitates the construction of an ambulatory The new construction is done on the Romanesque foundations of the previous sanctuary, but in the so-called Anglo-Norman Gothic style and continues throughout the 13C. The last stage, the choir, with its ambulatory and its ten side chapels, was completed in 1279. The large southern porch, located at the end of the southern transept, was added in the 14-15C. At the same time, built on both sides of the latter, to the west, the chapter house, to the east the treasury. During the same campaign, the construction of the very large axial chapel of the bedside took place.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson relics of st samson jul22

In the north ambulatory, we find going up towards the apse: the Chapel of the Sacred Heart; the Chapel of Saint Gilles and Saint Roch; the Chapel of Saint Gilduin and Saint Méen; and the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin formed by the last two bays. It contains some remains of 14C stained glass. Next comes the apsidal Chapel, flanked to the south by the Sacristy: it is dedicated to Saint Samson of Dol and dates from the first half of the 14C. Many bishops are buried here. In the southern ambulatory, we find going down towards the nave: the Chapel of Saint-Joseph-et-Sainte-Thérèse. It currently contains a beautiful carved wooden confessional and some remains of 14C stained glass. Saint Michael’s Chapel. the Notre-Dame-de-la-Pitié Chapel. the Chapel of the Crucifix, with its old well that an underground gallery connects to the second well outside the cathedral. Both are powered by the same source. the Chapel of the Baptismal Font. Restored in 1967, it was once the Treasury and was split into two floors. Its access is through a vault where the remains are clearly visible. It contains a vase from the 15C or 16C.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel sacre heart jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Virgin adorable jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Virgin et angels jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Christ rising jul22

The Saint Samson of Dol Cathedral is one of the few religious buildings in Brittany that still has stained glass windows from the 13C. The main window of the choir, dating from the years 1280-1290, is the oldest monumental stained glass window in Brittany still preserved in situ. Restored from the beginning of the 16C, this work was again restored in 1870. The main window is made up of eight lancets grouped two by two under a trilobe and openwork spandrels, two arches pierced by a quadrilobe structuring the composition on either side of the central mullion. In the tympanum, a hexalobed rose, set with six trilobes and as many spandrels, rests on these arcades, determining two summit trilobes and a median spandrel, between the two quadrilobes .Starting from the left and from bottom to top, here are the scenes by lancet: Story of Saint Margaret of Antioch, Story of Abraham, Scene from the Childhood of Christ: The Passion Story of Saint Samson of Dol Enthronements of the first six Archbishops of Dol, surrounded by their suffragans (Bishops of Léon, Tréguier , Quimper, Vannes, Aleth and Saint-Brieuc). From bottom to top are depicted Saints Samson, Magloire, Budoc, Leucher, Thuriau and Genevé, each mitered, nimbed, wearing the pallium and bearing the archiepiscopal cross. Story of Saint Catherine of Alexandria The tympanum depicts the Last Judgment. The rose depicts Christ surrounded by a Virgin of intercession and five angels bearing the instruments of the Passion. The four-leaf on the right evokes the descent of Christ into hell while the one on the left presents crowned elect accompanied by the Virgin Mary. Below, the dead come out of their tombs, their gaze fixed on the Sovereign Judge.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson rosary window jul22

Most of the high windows of the choir and the transepts remain partially filled with simple grisailles executed around 1290 and completed in 1890-1891, Some windows of the chapels of the choir also preserve fragments of stained glass in their tympanums: Christ in glory accompanied by the tetramorph (14C ), in the Chapel of the Virgin, Christ in glory, tetramorph and musical angels (circa 1420), in the Chapel of Saint-Joseph, Last Judgment from the end of the 13C, in the Chapel of the Crucifix. In addition, the tympanum of the last window in the lower north of the nave depicts an angel bearing the arms of Brittany (mid-15C), On either side of the choir are distributed 77 stalls, in two rows, including returns. Carved in oak, this ensemble dates from the 14C and has the particularity of being both the oldest and the most important preserved in Brittany.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel st samson jul22

In 1410, donation of a high altar sheltered under a ciborium carried by metal columns surmounted by adoring angels or bearing the instruments of the Passion. A large shrine containing the relics of Saint Samson stood next to this altar, above which stood a crosier from which was suspended a ciborium serving as a Eucharistic reserve. In 1744, this altar from the Middle Ages was replaced by an up-to-date creation, the work of Laval marble workers. This new altar combined a Roman-style tabernacle and a wooden Episcopal crosier evoking the ancient Eucharistic suspension. Only the crozier remains today, reused above the episcopal stall. In 1877, the high altar located at the back of the choir, as well as the altar cross, the 6 candlesticks and the 2 light holders. A modern high altar accompanied by an ambo has been installed at the crossing of the transept since 1980 The parallelepipedic shape of the altar presents on its main faces the Last Supper (congregational side) and a lamentation over the body of the crucified (choir side) , on its secondary faces Saint Samson crossing the English Channel and Saint Magloire pacifying English soldiers, The tombs of bishops disappeared during the French revolution. Only remains, mutilated, the tomb of Thomas James, bishop of Dol from 1482 to 1504.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel tresor entr jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Christ et apostles jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samsontomb of Thomas James, bishop of Dol from 1482 to 1504 jul22

If we find mention of the presence of an organ already old in 1575 at the cathedral, the current instrument dates from the 17C, 19-20C, This organ case is one of only three remaining from the period of the Ancien Régime (monarchy) in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine (35) and the only one to have remained in its place of origin. This organ, one of the largest instruments in the department, is one of the finest examples of neo-classical aesthetics in Ille-et-Vilaine. The choir organ was acquired In 1872 by the parish a polyphone Debierre quickly replaced in 1895 by the current instrument, which is one of the first organs with electric action to come out of the Debierre workshops. This is housed in a neo-Gothic buffet placed in one of the large southern arcades of the choir.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson organ back jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson organ choir jul22

The official Cathédraloscope museum on the Cathedral Saint Samson of Dol:

The city of Dol de Bretagne and its heritage

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist office on Dol de Bretagne

The official Mont Saint Michel tourist office on Dol de Bretagne

There you go folks, a wonderful masterpiece and finally visited just 2h15 from my house! The Cathedral of Saint Samson ,interiors are awesome and a must to be seen. I will be back, and hope you take the time to see it. Hope this post will bring you closer to it.

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

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