Reliquary of St. Benedict
Photo © David Joyal / Art History Images. All rights reserved.

Reliquary of St. Benedict

Back side of the reliquary in the crypt of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire containing the relics of St. Benedict of Nursia (d. 547), founder of the Benedictine order, the Father of Western Monasticism, and patron saint of Europe. Since 1108 the relics have been enshrined in this massive axial pillar of the crypt (completed 1067); the reliquary can be seen from both sides. St. Benedict was originally buried in his abbey of Montecassino in Italy, but the monks of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (then called Fleury) brought them here in 673, after the Lombards sacked Montecassino and left it in ruins. These relics made Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire a major place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages and pilgrims still come today.