Why Was Conques Abbey Important

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Conques Abbey is a remarkable monument that has been well-studied and discussed by scholars and art historians over the last few decades. The church has a very rich history spanning over several centuries, with the original monastery being built in the early ninth century to its last phase of construction which was completed in the early twelfth century. It is also known as an abbey because the church was a part of the monastery where the monks lived, prayed, and worked. Today, Conques Abbey and its famous reliquary are the only known surviving examples of such art that was common during the Middle Ages. Due to its ample history and well-preserved state, the church continues to be a popular destination for visitors from all around the world. …show more content…
In the seventh century, a Carolingian church had been constructed and stood for many years. Prior to that, it was considered a holy land by people living in the surrounding forests.3 Around the same time that the Benedictine monks had founded the abbey, the relics of Saint James had been discovered in Spain. This discovery sparked a movement and many pilgrims began to make their way to the shrine at Santiago de Compostela in hopes of seeking forgiveness for their sins or cures for their illnesses. Conques was located along one of the pilgrimage roads leading from France to Spain and saw countless people pass through as this movement grew. This prime location later became extremely beneficial when the village gained popularity when they began construction of a much larger church in an effort to house sacred relics that had been acquired from another …show more content…
Religion was the reason why there was a dramatic growth in the amount of pilgrims and it was also the reason for the much needed expansion reconstruction of Conques Abbey. During this time period, it became increasingly common for churches to house relics and these sanctified objects were tremendously significant to both churches and pilgrims. A relic was considered to be anything sacred that either came in contact with, or was a part of, a saint or any other venerated figure.8 It was believed that these objects of reverence had spiritual powers and could perform miracles for the church that housed the saint’s relics as well as for the faithful that journeyed to pay tribute. Churches that held relics saw an increase in visitors, especially those that were located along the pilgrimage roads. When pilgrims made stops during their journey to visit said relics, they brought donations and offerings, which served as a source of revenue for the church.9 During their visit, these pilgrims also needed shelter and food. As a result, the towns that surrounded the churches with relics benefited as well.10 With the initial discovery of the relics of Saint James, many people immediately began preparing for pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela for several reasons. First, they wanted to be in the presence of a venerated figure. They believed that with their

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