Le Mans, Sarthe département  Click for official site

La cathédrale du Mans sur une peinture du XIXème siècle Le Mans France, lies southwest of Chartres at the confluence of the Sarthe and Huisne rivers. By tradition the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the préfecture (capital) of the Sarthe département. Its inhabitants are called Manceaux et Mancelles. When the Normans had control of Maine, William the Conqueror was able to successfully invade England; however in 1069, the citizens revolted and expelled the Normans, which led to Hugh V being proclaimed Count (comte) of Maine. A struggle ensued. The Palais of Comtes du Maine, was the birth place of Henry II of England. Indeed, Le Mans has a well-preserved old town named for his family (La Cité Plantagenêt, also known as Vieux Mans). The cathedral at Le Mans also contains the tomb of Berengaria of Navarre (Spanish: Berenguela, French: Bérengère -- born between 1165 and 1170, and died December 23, 1230), queen of Richard, Cœur de Lion (Richard I, King of England). Richard dropped his very public betrothal to a daughter of the King of France in order to marry Berengaria. After his death, she became a benefactress of the abbey of L'Epau, entered the life of its religious order and eventually found eternal rest, buried in the abbey. Berengaria was also a German-made (Vulcan) Cunard Line steamship (1913). Berengaria VII is a major planet in the United Federation of Planets, located in the Berengaria system. Mr. Spock encountered a dragon-like creature on this planet.

First mentioned by historian Ptolemy, the Roman city Vindinium was the capital of the Aulerci, a sub-tribe of the Ædui. Le Mans was also known as Civitas Cenomanorum, this city lying in the ancient Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis (capital Lyon). An amphitheatre built in the 3rd century AD remains visible. There are remnants of a Roman wall in the old town and Roman baths by the river (Crypte Archéologique des Thermes Romains). La Cathédrale St-Julien is dedicated to Saint Julian of Le Mans, who is honoured as the city's first bishop from at least as early as the 4th century. The oldest portion of the cathedral dates from the 11th century (Roman-style), with several later gothic additions. http://west.france-province.net/LeMans-cathedral.html To call it beautiful would do it the injustice of understatement. More photos are HERE. On the outskirts of the city, the Cistercian Abbey of l'Epau (Abbaye de l'Epau) is also rather impressive. Other churches: L'église de la Couture au Mans, Chapelle de la Visitation

Le Mans is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese, today a suffragan of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese at Rennes. The date of the origin of the Diocese of Le Mans and the identity of Saint Julianus has been argued since the 9th Century, so we won't try to resolve the matter here. The candles on the city crest refer to the miracle that occurred at his funeral, so the Christian founding remains very important to the history of the town. The feast of Saint Julian of Le Mans was celebrated in England, because Henry II of England had been born in the city. Julian's feast was kept throughout southern England in at least nine Benedictine monasteries. The Church of St. Julian at Norwich originally may be dedicated to him, although the Parish believes something else http://www.julianofnorwich.org/. Having rested in a shrine at the Benedictine convent of Saint-Julian-du-Pré since the Middle Ages, Saint Julian's relics were burnt or scattered by the Huguenots in 1562. Saint Julian's head is still shown at the cathedral of Le Mans, where it has been shown since 1254.

Deus, qui beátae Vírginis tuæ Scholásticæ ánimam ad ostendéndam innocéntiæ viam in colúmbæ spécie cælum penetráre fecísti: da nobis eius méritis et précibus ita innocénter vivere; ut ad ætérna mereámur gáudia perveníre. Per Dóminum. from http://www.osb.org/gen/scholastica.html

La cathédrale du Mans before 1939 During the episcopate of Berecharius (655-70) a body identified as that of Sainte Scholastica (Saint Benedict of Nursia's sister) moved from the monastery at Fleury (Fleury-Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, near Orléans) to Le Mans. A new monastery, erected to honor her was destroyed by the Northmen (aka Normans) in the second half of the ninth century. A portion of the surviving relics were transferred to the monastery of Juvigny les Dames. The remainder went the citadel at Le Mans and placed in the apse of the collegiate church of Saint Pierre la Cœur, which served the comtes of Maine as a domestic chapel. The fire that destroyed Le Mans on September 3, 1134, also consumed the shrine of Sainte Scholastica, and only a few calcined bones were left. On July 11, 1464, a confraternity was erected in honor of Ste. Scholastica. Her shrine was preserved from the Huguenots' plundering. On November 23, 1876, she was officially proclaimed patroness of Le Mans. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Le_Mans

But that is not the end of the tale. Fleury is reputed to contain the relics of St. Benedict of Nursia, the father of Western monasticism, a claim disputed by the monks of Monte Cassino. Mommolus, the second Abbot of Fleury, is said to have effected that transfer when Monte Cassino in central Italy fell into decay after the ravages of the Lombards during the seventh century. Sainte Scholastica remains the patroness of Monte Cassino, fitting if one supposes she rests with her brother unmoved. Never-the-less, she is just one of the many saints specially venerated by the Diocese of LeMans. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishop_of_Le_Mans

Blessed Geoffroi de Loudon was a bishop at Le Mans from 1234-55. Pope Gregory IX made him the legate for the entire Kingdom of France. Geoffroi in 1254, consecrated the cathedral of Le Mans and founded the monastery of Notre-Dame du Pare d'Orques, where he is interred. Bishop Martin Berruyer (1452–1467) left a memoir written in defense of Sainte Joan of Arc.

Map of Sarthe département -- In relation to Paris

Maritime -- Pau -- Bayonne -- Bordeaux -- Poitiers -- Nantes -- Tours -- Blois -- Orléans -- Amboise, Loches, Chinon et Louden
Auxerre, Chablis & Dijon -- Bourges, Sancerre & Nevers -- Chartres -- Sens

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