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Sts. Maries de la Mer - Magdalene.org LJ Community
August 6th, 2008
01:41 pm
[tattermuffin]

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Sts. Maries de la Mer
Because of my interest in the Mary Magdalene, during our three weeks in France (which were spent almost entirely in the northern part of the country) my mother and I drove down from Cluny (which otherwise would have been as far south as we'd have gone) to Sts. Maries de la Mer - just so I could see the church (well ok, and so I could dip my toes in the Mediterranean!) After leaving Cluny and driving most of the morning and afternoon, we arrived in Sts Maries by 4pm. We were able to park, see the church, and get out again before dark.

Sts. Maries is a summer resort town – very very similar in feel to Santa Cruz – with this massive fortress/church in the middle. The church looks like a fortress on the outside complete with ramparts through which you can drop burning oil, and on the inside is a sweetwater well for when the town was under siege. The inside of the church is Romanesque with all sorts of kitcsch.

Truly, it’s the weirdest place when you consider you're in France not California. ;) There are bits and pieces all over, a variety of altars and pictures and artwork, and even a pagan altar (which is marked as such!). The crypt has the relics of St. Sarah, whose origins are unclear but who many believe may have been the daughter of Christ by the Mary Magdalene, and who is the patron saint of the gypsies.

It was very warm in the crypte with all the candles burning. Overall I found the church amusing and delightful and am glad I went to see it. The Maries, it turns out, are the aunts of Jesus not the Magdalene or Mother Mary, although the Magdalene is said by some to have landed there along with Joseph and possibly Lazarus. The stories aren’t totally straight. Go figure. ;)


Fortress church in Sts. Maries de La Mer
Fortress church in Sts. Maries de La Mer
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Doorway into the church
Doorway into the church
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Prayers to the Marys
Prayers to the Marys
The two Marys are Mary Jacob and Mary Salome ... not Mary Magdalene.
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Painting of the Magdalene
Painting of the Magdalene
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Altar to the Marys with the Magdalene above
Altar to the Marys with the Magdalene above
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Inside of the west end
Inside of the west end
... with a reproduction of the Shroud of Turin (go figure!)
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Bishop's chair?
Bishop's chair?
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Gorgeous statue ... not sure of whom though
Gorgeous statue ... not sure of whom though
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Closeup of the statue
Closeup of the statue
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People in the crypt area
People in the crypt area
They brought the little boy in the wheelchair down the steps to offer prayers to St. Sarah
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Prayers and thank yous in the crypt
Prayers and thank yous in the crypt
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Saint Sarah
Saint Sarah
Thought by some to be a child picked up in Africa on the way to France, others think she was the child of Mary Magdalene by Jesus. Saint Sarah is the patron saint of the gypsies, and in May they gather there for her feast day.
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Exterior of the church
Exterior of the church
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Another shot of the exterior
Another shot of the exterior
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Doorway up to the area above the altar where the relics are kept.
Doorway up to the area above the altar where the relics are kept.
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The Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea
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Me ... getting my fingers wet
Me ... getting my fingers wet
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.. and laughing when my toes got wet too
.. and laughing when my toes got wet too
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.. and laughing more when I got soaked by a wave again.
.. and laughing more when I got soaked by a wave again.
I'm a slow learner ;)



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[User Picture]
From:northsideindian
Date:August 7th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
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that is really strange for a church. wow.
[User Picture]
From:tattermuffin
Date:August 7th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
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Seriously so. There is one section of wall that is a display case of all sorts of random religious items (reliquaries, supposed relics, copies of documents, etc), the well is at the center (but I didn't get a clear picture of it since I wasn't using the flash when there were any other people around an I was never alone in the church), and it's just very very kitsch.
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