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QR Vic-le-Comte – Bourg 1

The Place Saint-Jean

Faubourg de la Roche

Faubourg de la Roche is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vic-le-Comte. Between the 7th and 8th centuries, the monks from the Manglieu Abbey founded a priory there. Situated at the end of a plateau, above the stream of Cougoul, the neighbourhood is naturally fortified on two sides. The church of Saint John the Baptist and the now-defunct parish church of Saint-Pierre were built there. As in most towns in the Middle Ages, the cemetery was located in the centre of the town around the two churches.
Medieval Christianity insisted that the deceased belonged to the Christian community and encouraged the cult of the dead. The dead were not to be feared; on the contrary, they formed a protective barrier against the demons of hell…
The Cibony chapel was located in the parish cemetery: the upper part was used as a place of worship and the crypt was used to store the many human bones that cluttered the cramped cemetery.

Saint John the Baptist Church

Originally a modest chapel, Saint John the Baptist Church was the parish baptistery. Raised and extended in the 14th century, it had a nave that ended in a canted apse. Above the nave, before the chevet, was a bell-wall. The west façade was topped by a bell tower and the north side had a three-lobed portal.
Under the Ancien Régime, children’s religious classes took place in the church. It was also the seat of the Confraternity of the Rosary. Parishioners gathered here every Sunday for devotion. The church was also a venue for village meetings. Here, decisions were made about the day-to-day running of a deeply rural society.
During the Revolution, the building became a meeting place for one of the commune’s factions, Les Meules. These factions were local groups of adult males who dealt with local and national issues.
Important remains of wall paintings dating from the 14th century were discovered in 1952 on the side walls of the choir. Painted in tempera, they illustrated episodes from the lives of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Blaise.
On the south wall is the bishop of Sébaste, Blaise, who takes refuge in a cave in order to escape persecution by Rome, where he lives as a hermit. Sitting at the entrance to a cave, animals gather around him to receive his blessing or to be healed when they are ill. The murals include a deer, a monkey and a lion. A farmer pushes an ox and leads it to Blaise.
The church also houses a 16th-century pietà and still has its original baptismal font.

Image captions

  • Painting of the Virgin of the Rosary in the church
  • The lower register shows the beheading of John the Baptist, in the centre, and on the left, Salome with John’s head during the feast of Herod.
  • A farmer presents his ox to Saint Blaise

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