Hometo doChurch of our Lady of the Major

Church of our Lady of the Major

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Address:
20, Square, De la Major,
Postcode:
13200
City:
Arles
Phone:
06 43 95 76 32
Route Recommend

Date: 1152
Era: Middle Ages
Type: Religious architecture
Status: Property of the Town of Arles, listed as a national Historic Monument in 1945
General view of the church today
Major Church takes its name from its position at the top of L'Hauture hill.
It was built in the 12th century, but its architecture has often been reworked.
Its nave still has Romanesque features; more recent developments have been added, particularly the bell tower and the façade.
The church's furniture is particularly rich.
It was erected as a collegiate chapter and was the largest parish church in Arles until the Revolution.
Major Church is currently the religious centre of the Brotherhood of Herdsmen. They visit on 1 May every year to pay tribute to Saint George and to have their horses blessed.
The 1944 bombings seriously shook its structure, which has since been the subject of a vast restoration operation.
The Romanesque church still has its nave with three bays, covered with a broken barrel vault supported by projecting transverse arches which rest on solid pillars.
The semi-circular apse was adorned with eight basalt and porphyry columns which have since disappeared.
The chevet contains a vaulted chancel bay on intersecting ribs and a five-sided apse as high as the nave.
Attached to the apse are ogival-style side-chapels dating from the 16th century.
The current façade is in the sombre elegant style of Louis XIII.
The square bell tower is topped with a pyramid surmounted by a Virgin designed by Lasalle and created by Cusson.
The furniture still in the church includes an 18th century polychrome marble pulpit and a gilded wood altar from Saint Blaise Church. As well as Saint George, there are two 19th century marble statues, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a Virgin attributed to the Italian sculptor Monti. Finally, the chancel altarpiece houses three 18th century paintings representing the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Presentation in the Temple.

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