The Church at Saint Julien du Serre
This remarkable church was originally dependant on the distant Abbot of The Saint Chaffre Monastery, near Puy en Valley in the Loire. Like the village, it is dedicated to the memory of St Julien of Brioude, a nomadic evangelistic preacher and bandit, who was martyred in Auvergne during the third century.
The origins of this church date from about 1073 but it was mainly built during the twelfth century, consisting of an apse extended from the nave to the choir. The intersection of the nave and the choir used to support a simple arched or comb type of bell tower. Probably due to structural concerns, the current bell replaced it and dates only from 1816 !
To the North is the main entrance. Supported on four carved pillars, is a superb arched Roman gateway as featured on the front of this pamphlet.
To the South of the nave, is a chapel founded around 1510 by Jaques Chambon, royal judge of Vivarais. His coat of arms can still be found, both on the arch bases and keystone of this chapel. It is now dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but was originally dedicated to the nativity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The North Chapel was originally built between 1518 and 1536 by Lord Barthélemy du Buis and dedicated to Saint Sébastien. But in 1855 it was rebuilt to mirror the Southern chapel, in a neo-gothic style giving more space and symmetry to the church.
A third chapel (also Southern) was added in the second half of the sixteenth century. Originally dedicated to Saint Martial and Saint John, it now serves as the vestry.
In 1906 the church was classified as a historic monument, but the originality of this beautiful Roman church can be found in captured rich sculptures which decorate the capitals of the many pillars – both inside and out!
Discover the strange parade of iconography that includes:- Lions, sirens, grotesque heads (gargoyles) , dragons and other figures that depict Christian themes or legends.
Translated by charles et Isabelle Robertson.