Monday, March 09, 2009

Saint Bonaventure's Church Lyon

The present church, begun in 1325, and completed in 1494 formed the centrepiece of a Franciscan monastery (The Franciscans were also known as the Cordeliers as account of the cord they used as a belt.) It was here that St. Bonaventure, the cardinal and superior general of the order, died and was buried in 1274, and that the chapels of the various guilds were housed; the coats of arms of some of these guilds may be seen on certain arches. The monastery was destroyed in 1790 and the church was a period used as a granary before resuming its original function as a place of worship in 1806.

Another of the many churches scattered around in Lyon. Saint Bonaventure's church is located on the other side of the river Saone.

This text is written on a plaque on the wall of the church. The authorities of Lyon has done a great job telling the story of many of the old buildings in the city centre.

The church is sadly very dirty and run down. Many of the old buildings in Lyon are marked by soot and other pollution, and are in need of renovation. The church of Saint Bonaventure is not among the most impressive of churches, and may not get the attention than larger churches will get.

Still the church of Saint Bonaventure has beautiful details as these ornate frames found around the main door delicate as the finest lace and a great example of the Gothic architecture.

The church marks the spot where the 8th leader of the Fransiscan order Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio was buried in 1274. He was christened Giovanni de Fidanza in Bagnoregni in 1221 and was a distinguished scholar.

He was canonized 1482 and declared doctor of the church in 1588. He died suspiciously July 15th 1274 having attended the second council of Lyon and it was rumored that he had been poisoned. This painting by the Francisco de Zubarán (1640-1650) shows Saint Bonaventure as he revies the envoys of the Byzantine emperors at the council of Lyon.

His remains were burnt during the the French Revolution, and the only relic from him is his arm and hand, that wrote the "Commentary on the Four Books of Peter Lombard." It is now kept in Bagnoregio, where he was born.

So here is another building that is a witness to the history. Another example of the importance of Lyon as a religious and cultural centre during 2000 years.

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