An adventure destination in the Provence, France – Worthy of the Last Crusade of Indiana Jones

Perhaps not the Last Crusade, there are many other adventurous destinations that may be worthy of those with the bold spirit of Indiana Jones. And, wip and fedora are optional.

Consider in the South of France, Apt Cathedral (Cathedrale Sainte-Anne d’Apt), which is a former cathedral, and national monument of France, in the town of Apt in Provence. Now the church of Saint Anne, the former cathedral was the seat of the bishop of Apt until the French Revolution.

According to historic accounts Saint Anne was the mother of the Virgin Mary, who in turn was the mother of Jesus Christ. Saint Anne’s life of service to God did not end with the one great gift of her daughter. According to legends of an early account of her life, when her husband Joachim died, Anne married his brother Cleophas, with whom she had another daughter. This child was also named Mary and became the mother of James the Lesser, Joseph the Just, Simon, and Jude. Anne later married again and had another daughter who gave birth to James the Greater and John the Evangelist.

Saint Anne did not live to see the torment and execution of Christ. However, even in death she continued to play an important part in the lives of early Christians. Sometime after the resurrection of Christ, Mary Magdalene, her brother Lazarus, and other apostles were driven from Jerusalem because of their faith. They journeyed by boat carrying the remains of Saint Anne and set ashore in Marseille, France. Her remains were taken farther inland from the coast to what is now France, where they were concealed in a crypt. These events were transcribed in the Martyrology of Apt, dating from the second century.

Charlemagne consulted the text in an attempt to locate her body nearly seven hundred years later. All efforts appeared to be in vain until the reconsecration of the Cathedral of Apt. During this ceremony, a fourteen-year-old deaf mute began striking the main altar with his staff, greatly disturbing those in attendance, including the emperor. Charlemagne was so impressed with the determination of the boy to draw attention to the altar that he gave orders to open its stairs after the mass. An underground door sealed with stones was uncovered. When these were removed, the boy led the group through the underground catacombs of the church to a wall, which he also struck with his staff. The company eagerly broke through the wall to find a crypt containing a casket of cypress wood. Inscribed on it were the words “Here lies the body of Blessed Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary.” Charlemagne had the recollection of these events written up, notarized, and sent to the pope in Rome. The original papers of this corre ¬≠spondence are still in existence today.

Because of these events, the Cathedral of Apt became an important pilgrimage site, and the cult of Saint Anne spread throughout France, becoming particularly strong in Brittany. Many Breton legends claim Saint Anne as a Breton queen who escaped a brutal husband. One legend sup ­poses that angels led her to a ship that landed in Jerusalem, where she gave birth to the Virgin Mary.


One Reply to “An adventure destination in the Provence, France – Worthy of the Last Crusade of Indiana Jones”

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