Next Stop: Fleury Abbey

Ethan Map Day 3
Map Credit:

If you follow the stories of Monasticism you know that St Benedict is celebrated as the monk who, in 529 AD, rejuvenated monasticism in particular and the western world in general. Benedict, who is also known as Benedict of Nursia, was born in a small mountain town of Norcia, Italy. Norcia was recently heavily damaged by an earthquake which struck on the 30th of October and destroyed the shrine of St Benedict and much more.

Fortunately we visited Norcia a year or so before the quake and therefore have lots of photos of the town and the Shrine before.

Sadly nearby Castellucio, a magical hilltop village in the center of a valley surrounded by tall mountains, was so badly damaged it is uninhabitable even now. We did not visit there on our last trip and I regret it now.

Fleury obtained the relics of St Benedict and St Scholastica his sister when, over one hundred years after the Abbey of Monte Cassino was sacked and burned by the Lombards, they dug up the remains and spirited them out of Italy and re-buried them here in the crypt of the Abbey of Fleury.

The monks of the now rebuilt Monte Cassino claim that they have the relics but have offered no proof.

Fleury’s tower has a strange 17th Century roof which it turns out was needed. In 1525-27, the monks of Saint-Benoît refused to accept their first commendatory abbot. As a punishment, the third level of the west tower was removed. (The unusually-shaped roof that takes its place was added in the 17th century.

The church is all that remains of the great Abbey which was destroyed, as was so much else in the French Revolution. You can see the resting place of Benedict in the crypt.

Unfortunately, a chapel in the tower is off limits to tourists. The tower is still powerful even though the missing upper stories must have been an incredible sight.

IMG_3476 (002)
The unique arrangement of three statues on each side of the portal recall Revelations 21 describing the gates to the New Jerusalem.


Fluery Abbey References


  1. I was privileged to stay at Fleury for The Feast Of the Ascension and gave a reading on a passage by Newman
    amid swirling incense. The monks were so hospitable- and funnyl Also met local nuns who had come for the service. Amazing experience.


  2. 11th July 2017 I posted an entry on my site about Fleury and St Scholastica. There is a poem about her relationship with her brother, Benedict. You might enjoy it…


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