Périgueux Cathedral

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St. Front's Cathedral, Périgueux

Périgueux Cathedral may refer either to the present Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Périgueux, France, dedicated to Saint Front (Cathédrale Saint-Front de Périgueux), which has been the cathedral since 1669, or to its predecessor, still in operation as a church, dedicated to Saint Stephen (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité de Périgueux).

A church was first built on the site in the 4th and 5th centuries.

In 976 the Bishop Frotaire had the Abbey of Saint-Front constructed on the site of the church. The abbey was consecrated in 1047. Its vaulted choir housed the tomb of Saint Front, which was sculpted in 1077 by Guimaunond, a monk of the abbey of Chaise-Dieu. This tomb was decorated with numerous precious stones and sculptures, notably an angle with a halo made of pieces of glass and is now kept in the Périgord Museum.

The cathedral owes its name to Saint Front, the first bishop of Périgueux. The cathedral, in either building, was and is the seat of the Bishop of Périgueux, or Bishop of Périgueux and Sarlat, as the diocese has been known since 1854.

Saint-Front Cathedral before the restoration by Paul Abadie. Photo taken by Médéric Mieusement before 1893.

The buildings are located in the centre of Périgueux and Saint Front Cathedral has been classed as a French Historical Monument, (Monument historique), since 1840. The Saint Front Cathedral was rebuilt by architect Paul Abadie from 1852 to 1895. Only the bell tower and the crypts, both from the 12th century, were left from the previous structures.

The cathedral is part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France since 1998.

Architecture[edit]

Domes and Turrets added on the Saint Front Cathedral by Paul Abadie in the mid-19th Century.

The Saint Front Cathedral was designed on the model of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The layout of the cathedral is in the form of a Greek cross. Its five domes with turrets show a direct architectural relationship with oriental religious buildings, which served as inspiration for the architects of Saint-Front Cathedral. The domes of Saint-Front Cathedral were once different in size, but were redesigned by architect Paul Abadie to have one size, and to be symmetrical. The pillars carrying the load of the superstructure are 6 meters wide. The domes are inaccessible to the public.

Sources[edit]

Coordinates: 45°11′1″N 0°43′22″E / 45.18361°N 0.72278°E / 45.18361; 0.72278