Saturday, 7 September 2019

l’abbaye de landévennec

We’ve briefly touched on the abbey at Landévennec previously through its founder’s association with the myth of the City of Ys but both Saint Guénolé (Winwaloe, Gwenole, *460 - †532) and congregation of monks are worth addressing further on there own.
Son of Dumonian prince Fragan of Albany—Guénolé already had quite the saintly pedigree with reverend twin brothers and another canonised sibling besides and his mother Gwen Teirbron (Blanche in French or Alba Trimammis in Latin) who was revered as a Breton holy woman in her own right and with the colourful epithet meaning three-breasted, she was prayed to for fertility, venerated perhaps as a euhemerism of a more ancient mother goddess.

What was to become a Benedictine community from the eighth century until destroyed by Viking raids and then rebuilt in stone in the early 900s and then ultimately suppressed and its property sold off after the French Revolution (more here) was possessed of a great scriptorium and scrolls and early tomes.  
These archives included a rare medieval copy of the Notitia Digitatum—the late Roman Empire’s list of offices that addresses the administrative organisation of the court and provinces here presenting the shields from a register of military commands, the iconography and the ornament that bears a resemblance to the yin-and-yang symbol—the Taijitu—having evolved independently and from different traditions centuries before Taoist use, that were preserved.
Along with a wealth of other artefacts that were reunited after centuries of separation by the order in 1950 with the ancient site reconsecrated in a sense and opened as a museum with the brothers taking up residence in a new abbey just outside of the village.