Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Solesmes Millenium celebrations

Last week saw the formal closing of the millennial anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the monastery of Solesmes. 

Solesmes was of course, famously refounded by Dom Prosper Gueranger after he purchased the property in 1833, and under his leadership became a centre for the restoration of Gregorian chant.

But it was originally founded in 1010 by Geoffrey, seigneur of Sablé, as a priory dependent on the Abbey of St-Pierre de la Couture at Le Mans.

The monastery has had a hard life: it was sacked and burnt down twice during the Hundred years War, forcibly dissolved during the French Revolution, and the monks were once more forced into exile in England in 1901 and 1922.

It continues to thrive, however, particularly in its more traditionalist branches stemming from Fontgambault, and today the congregation of Solesmes has 23 monasteries for men and eight for women spread across three continents.

The Pope sent a letter appointing Cardinal Tauron as his special envoy for the celebrations, which you can read (in Latin only), or watch this french news piece on the celebrations:

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