Abbaye de la Pierre-Qui-Vire

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Turnstone with Madonna

The abbey of Pierre-Qui-Vire Lat .: S. Mariae de Petra Rotante ( German  abbey of the stone that turns ) is a monastery of the Benedictine order .

It was founded in 1850 by Père Jean-Baptiste Muard (1809-1854) and is located in the Morvan Nature Park ( Burgundy ) between the Lac de Saint-Agnan and the village of Saint-Léger-Vauban in the wooded valley of the Cousin River . The name of the abbey - "The stone that turns", comes from a natural phenomenon: there was a heavy boulder at the abbey that lay so that it could easily be moved by human hands. Today the rock is walled up and has a statue of Mary.

Muard had spent some time in Subiaco and learned from there the suggestion to found a monastery. In 1859 the monastery joined the Congregation of Subiaco. Anti-clerical legislation in France forced the monks into exile in 1880 and again in 1904. It was not until 1921 that the monastic community in La Pierre-Qui-Vire was re-established. Today the local monks mainly produce the famous farmer's cream cheese from goat or cow milk, which is in great demand throughout the region. The abbey church , consecrated in 1871 in the neo-Gothic style, underwent a thorough renovation in 1992.

Editions Zodiaque

The abbey became known among art lovers through the "Zodiaque" book series on Romanesque art. The books and magazines published since 1951 with high-quality black-and-white photo boards in copper gravure have long been standard reading for every cultural traveler. The text was printed in the monastery’s own print shop, the photo boards, on the other hand, were printed externally. The book series La nuit des temps (after the French idiom dans la nuit des temps , literally: in the night of the times, i.e. in the darkness of the past), started in 1954, opened up the Romanesque artistic landscapes of France and later other European countries in 88 volumes. Under the direction of Brother Angelico Surchamp, the monks traveled to hundreds of monasteries to take photographs.

In 2002 the monks sold the publishing rights in order to use the proceeds for the high modernization costs of the monastery and stopped their book production. The title "Zodiaque" (book series and magazine) is continued by the new rights holder.


  • Janet T. Marquardt: La Pierre-qui-Vire and Zodiaque. A Monastic Pilgrimage of Medieval Dimensions . In: Peregrinations. Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture , Vol. 2 (2009), Issue 3–4, ISSN  1554-8678 . ( )

Individual evidence

  1. The monastery owes its name to a stone that was relatively easy to turn on top of another stone. Today the stone is fortified and a statue of the Madonna is erected on it.

Web links

Commons : Abbaye de la Pierre-Qui-Vire  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 47 ° 21 '26.2 "  N , 4 ° 3' 47.8"  E