L'EGLISE NOTRE-DAME - Présentation

Bathed in the waters of the Cure, the small village of Saint Père, in the shadow of the illustrious hill, shelters a church which, in the words of Romain Roland, is a "gracious and perfect flower of art". In the Middle Ages, a group of monks installed themself there to escape the Norman invaders, transferring their abbey to the high land of neaby Vézelay. When the abbey began to lose its sparkle in the XIIIth century, a Gothic-style church was built 2 km away, at Saint Père.The name of the founder, and the date of construction, are unknown. Viollet-le-Duc indicated that the work started in 1240.

The church can be seen from afar, with its high, narrow tower, one of the most elegant in the Yonne. Each level is pierced with fine paired ogives. Musician angels, warriors on the march, serpents or coiled dragons festoon corners and friezes. The architect who designed this tower in the XIIIth century did not crown it with its "stone arrow". It was not until the next century that is was covered by a wooden construction, today replaced by a slate construction reaching 50 m high. The monument is also notable for its pediment, which also dates from the XIIIth century. This, according to Prosper Merimée, "reproduces in beauty what pediment of Vezelay displays in size". It presents in pyramid form a group of ten sculptures including Christ, the virgin Mary and Mary Magdalen. The entrance retains the vestiges of extensive statuary. While the tympanum still has its Last Judgement, some empty niches and decapitated statues bear testimony to past human depredations.


Bibliographie :

- DELMONT (Estelle), Etude de la travée Sud Est du porche de Notre Dame de Saint-Père (Yonne, 89), DESS Archéologie et Architecture, Université Marc Bloch (Strasbourg), 2004

- DUBOURG-NOVES (Pierre), "l'église Notre-Dame de Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay", Dans Société Des Fouilles Archéologiques des Monuments Historiques de l'Yonne, n°5, 1988

- BRUAND (Yves), "Eglise de Saint-Père sous Vézelay", Dans Congrès Archéologique de France, Auxerre, éd. SFA, 1958

- VIOLLET-LE-DUC (Eugène Emmanuel), Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française, du XIème au XVIème siècles, Paris, 1854-1889, 10 tomes, Article "pignon" p. 138 et Article "porche", p. 272

- Abbé PISSIER (Alexandre), "L'église de Saint-Père", Extrait du Bulletin de la Société des Sciences Historiques et Naturelles de l'Yonne, 2ème sem. 1902, Réédition Ateliers de la Pierre-qui-vire, Saint Léger Vauban, 1986
--EN VENTE par correspondance sur notre site Internet et au musée archéologique de Saint Père --

- PETIT (Victor), Description des villes et campagnes du département de l'Yonne, Auxerre, éd. Gallot, 1870, Réédition Librairie Voillot,Avallon, 2001