Church Sainte-Croix Bordeaux

The Church Sainte-Croix is in Bordeaux, France.  Its abbey is an ancient Benedictine monastery. Although the abbey was founded in the seventh century, the present church was built towards the end of the eleventh century and in the early twelfth century.  With a Romanesque facade, it has the shape of a Latin cross. The building consists of a nave of five bays with aisles, a transept with a large apse on each arm, and a polygonal apse.  The length of the nave is 39 meters.  The apse is 15.3 meters high.

The abbey was restored by Paul Abadie in the nineteenth century, when a belfry, symmetrical to the original, was added to the left of the facade. The monk Dom Bedos de Celles built its organ in 1750, which is currently regarded as a masterpiece. The organ was restored by factor Pascal Quoirin in 1995.

Founded in Merovingian times, the abbey is south of Bordeaux, on elevated ground.  It is surrounded by a swamp that is traversed by a small stream called l’Eau Bourde (Foolish Water).  The stream flows into the Garonne a few hundred meters from the present church.  The exact date of its foundation is not known. According to an inscription dating from the seventh century, Saint-Mommolin, abbot of Fleury sur Loire (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), died there around the year 679. The monks followed the Benedictine rule.

The original abbey was destroyed by the Saracens around 730, and then probably rebuilt at the end of the century. It was again completely destroyed by the terrible Norman raids during the ninth century; the raids left the country devastated.
The rebuilding of the abbey is attributed to William the Good, Count of Bordeaux, on the site of the oratory dedicated to Saint-Mommolin, perhaps in 970.  The abbey acquired the towns of Saint-Hilaire du Taillan and Soulac. Later, it expanded its holdings to include St. Macarius and Macau. Therefore, due to donations for acquisitions, the parish gradually spread. The Dukes of Aquitaine confirmed successive privileges.

The abbey church was built in the late eleventh century or early twelfth century, along with the church of Soulac and that of Macau.  The kitchens, dormitories, dining halls, etc., gradually deteriorated as the abbots left. In 1664, the monks of the Congregation of St. Maur obtained permission to build a new monastery.  It was completed in 1672.