As a prelude to this exhibition and to signify the spiritual aspects of these pieces, reliquaries will be exposed to the veneration of the faithful at Notre Dame de Paris Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of March 2014, in presence of the community of S. Maurice’s Abbey.
A conference will also be given, and Vocal Ensemble will participate in the Abbey offices this weekend.
Agaunum (Saint-Maurice) squeezed into a narrow defile between the Rhone and the mountains, has a strategic vocation built into its very nature. Celts, followed by the Romans, appreciated it and established there a military, administrative and religious station. The Theban soldiers and their commander Maurice underwent martyrdom there at the end of the 3rd century.The churches built in their honor as from the end of the third century contributed to make this little spot an important spiritual center of the West under the Merovingians, Carolingians, Burgundians, Savoyards and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 515, the king of the Burgundians, Sigismond, founded the Abbey: he set up five groups of monks to whom he entrusted the liturgy of the perpetual praise of God (laus perennis), in memory of the holy martyrs. The Abbey, richly equipped, was to enjoy very great pontifical privileges. In the 9thcentury, the canons succeeded to the monks; while adopting in 1128 the Rule of Saint Augustin, they became Canons Regular. The Abbey of Saint-Maurice is a “territorial Abbey” today. Like a diocesan bishop, its Abbot wields his jurisdiction over the territory belonging to the Abbey.
The Treasury of Saint-Maurice
It is truly the treasury of the Martyrs. Since its origins, generations of pilgrims, both powerful and humble have venerated here the martyrs of Agaunus. Saint Eucher, Bishop of Lyons, mentions, in the 5th century, the gifts made «in honor of and for the service of the Saints».
The jubilee festivities celebrating 1500 years of the abbey, founded in 515 on the site where St. Maurice and his companions were martyred in the late Third Century, giving rise to work full redevelopment of treasure and allow this exceptional loan.
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