The hermitage near the sky

Listed as a historical monument since June 1, 1992, the Notre-Dame-de-Pène hermitage dates from the 16th century.

It is located south-west of the village of Cases-de-Pène, on a rocky ridge overlooking the Agly river and is accessed by a staircase of 51 steps.

The hermitage's Catalan name is Nostra Senyora de Pena.

A first sanctuary dedicated to Saint Anne is built on the ruins of the old castle of Cases-de-Pène.

The construction of the choir of the new chapel dates from 1530, followed by that of the nave shortly afterwards.

Additional buildings were built around it in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The chapel of the hermitage consists of a single nave.

Like many hermitages in Roussillon, Notre Dame de Pène was not built directly for this purpose.

The place is in fact an old medieval castle built to watch over the Agly valley.

This castle is mentioned in 1011 under the name of Castellum de Pena, and is located at the top of the Rodon peak at 335 meters above sea level.

Like all the castles of that time, it included a castral chapel, which was used as the parish church of the inhabitants of Cases-de-Pène in those days.

The first mention of this chapel dates back to 1224, when it was called Sancta Maria de Pena. Little by little the castle lost its strategic interest and was abandoned.

There is a trace of it still in 1414 with the construction of a cistern, but nothing more stands out in history afterwards.

Later the practice of eremitism began to spread in Catalan society.

Some hermits had taken up residence in former places of worship and lived in a fairly self-sufficient way.

These hermits were pioneers.

At Notre Dame de Pène, the first trace of a hermit arrived quite early, in 1488. It was Fra Daniel Benet.

The 17th century was that of the rise of hermitages.

This was the case of the old church of Our Lady of Pena, which appeared under the name of Hermita de Nostra Senyora de Pena in 1688.

Its privileged location, on a rocky escarpment overlooking the Agly valley, makes it a place of meditation.

To get to the hermitage, you have to follow a steep path along which you pass 3 oratories.

The hermitage is curiously decorated with ancient liturgical objects diverted from their functions: chasubles, rosaries, paintings, luminaries, statuettes, ...

An aplec (a celebration) takes place every year at Notre-Dame-de-Pène at Pentecost.

 

Ermitage Notre-Dame-de-Pène

D117

66600 Casas de Pène

Tél. : 04 68 38 90 90

Tél. : 04 68 29 10 42

 

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

(free version)

 

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