Lyon – Some Of The Churches
We’ve already shown you the wonderful Basilica, but there are many more churches in Lyon. The Lyon dioceses is one of the oldest in France, so it’s no surprise to see many churches, a cathedral, convents and many chapels. Anywhere you go in Lyon, you’ll stumble upon a church, some of them ruins with no information. And it’s not only Catholic churches you’ll see, every religion is well represented:
58 Catholic churches (and 1 cathedral, 9 chapels, 1 monastery and 1 seminary university), 10 Muslim mosques, 7 Protestant churches, 4 Jewish synagogues, 1 Armenian church and 2 Orthodox churches.
Here are a few of the churches I’ve come across, with the first and foremost:
Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon – Saint John the Baptist Cathedral
This cathedral plays an important role in the Catholic faith of France, since it was built by Saint Ponthinus and Saint Irenaeus in 1175 (but finished in 1480).
They played an important role in Lyon since the Pope gave the archbishop of Lyon supreme power over all Catholics in Gaulle (France, not counting Normandy) in the year 1079. The cathedral was placed on the ruins of a 6th century church.
Above is a view of the cathedral taken from the Basilica. Located in the centre of Old Lyon (“Vieux Lyon“), the front of the cathedral faces a smallish square with a large sculpture (see the top photo).
Due to squabbles with the city and their noblemen, they were not given the room that would normally be accorded to a cathedral (usually a big square). Hence the reason the cathedral is built-up against houses.
Funny enough, next to the big fountain where these little ones on the ground level. I’d have to presume they were meant for horses and other animals.
Inside, the cathedral is rather austere (compared to the Basilica). In fact, the cathedral is modest, but that is due to the lack of knowledge of the builders at the time.
Much of the cathedral was destroyed during the war of the religions and the French revolution (the Second World War did not help either), and there have been many opinions how the church should be restored.
This is the Bourbon chapel (the Bourbons were part of the royal family of France) and was ordered in 1486 by the Cardinal Charles II de Bourbon and is probably one of the more important pieces of art in the cathedral.
This is Saint Vincent-of-Paul chapel, constructed in 1401.
The cathedral is dedicated to Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist and Saint Etienne. Furthermore, there is an astronomical clock from the 14th century inside the church.
Eglise de l’Immaculee Conception – Church of the Immaculate Conception
The “Eglise de l’Immaculee Conception”, located close to the city financial centre (and the “Bourse du Travail” theatre), was built in 1856 by the same architect who built the beautiful Basilica (which was built after this church) and the Saint George church (see below).
The architect was inspired by his trips to both Sicily and Persia (now Iran).
The style used for the church is called “Byzantine Revival” architecture.
Eglise Saint-Bonaventure de Lyon
The church of the Saint-Bonaventure of Lyon is located right next to the very modern (and small) shopping centre and opposite of the wonderful Chambre of Commerce building (“Palais de la Bourse“), located on the “Presqu’Ile” (Almost Island).
The old church, and last remaining medieval construction on the “Presqu’Ile”, was built in 1325.
The church was closely aligned to the adjacent Franciscan Cordeliers monastery (which was been destroyed during the French revolution).
The church has 18 chapels, 9 on each side.
Most of the chapels were built by the local tradesmen, each guild has its own chapel.
Saint George Church
Located at the edge of the Old Lyon (“Vieux Lyon“), the building is anything but old like the rest of the part of the city it is in.
The church itself was built in 1844 by the same architect who built the “Eglise de l’Immaculee Conception” church (shown above) and the Basilica. Above the door you can see St George battling the dragon.
It has several small “parks” on the side with benches and like in the photo above, a small water fountain.
The church is located alongside the Saone river and the Saint George pedestrian bridge.
The church was built in the 9th century on a church that was built in the 5th century, which in its turn was built on a Roman temple, and the current church has the remains of Saint Nizier who is credited with many miraculous healings (after his death).
The Roman temple it was built on is believed to be the temple of Attis, whose worshippers are the ones that persecuted all the Catholics in Lyon in the year 177.
After the French revolution, the church was turned into a flour warehouse, but in 1816 it was turned back into a church.
This chapel was made in the 19th century.
The chapel dedicated Louis de Gonzague, a Jesuit monk from the 16th century.
A look at the very high arches inside the church.
The organ was made in 1885 and was considered the forefront in organ technology in those days, since it used partially electricity to operate the organ. This meant the keys and pedals could be placed away from the organ. This allowed the organ player to play two organs at the same time.
The city of Lyon has so many churches that several are no longer used and are rotting away.
The church is located at the Croix-Rousse metro stop, but after much time spent researching it, I couldn’t even find its name.
This ends a quick tour of some of the churches in Lyon. There are a lot of them, so it’s just a small sample. Add to that all the other houses-of-faith, and you’re in for a treat.