At the origin: a Republic... monastic!
A Republic of monks, is it possible? Well, let's go back in time... Here we are 1000 years ago, in Greece, on the peninsula of Mount Athos, in front of a paradisiacal landscape: fine sand, cliffs, mountains, sea... all at 2000 meters of altitude!
For centuries, only hermits have been fighting for this beautiful, isolated and quiet place. But in 963, a community of orthodox monks officially settled there! Quickly, nineteen other monasteries were established on the spot, and this is how, later, Mount Athos became a "monastic republic", a real autonomous state, recognized by the European Union. Incredible!
In 1978, Simonos-Petra, one of the 20 monasteries of Mount Athos, decided to send a group of monks to France to make the Byzantine tradition flourish. This small group of monks settled in an old house, in the hollow of a wild valley, not far from Grenoble. Very quickly, some nuns joined them and founded their own monastery, which took the name of "Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God"...
But this small house was no longer enough: the community was growing at a crazy speed... In 1991, they left their brother monks to settle in an old farmhouse... and that's when Solan showed up! The Orthodox monastery, which never changed its name, is the one we know today.
The nuns put their hands to work, and restored this old farm, and all the land around it.
By the way, for the little anecdote, if you are told "Saint Catherine", "Saint Sophie", "Saint Ambrose", "Saint Simon", what does it inspire you? Great holy figures? Yes, but not only! Indeed, the sisters of Solan also make wine, and they baptize each vintage with a saint's name!
Funny, isn't it?
In 2004 they were able to build a wine cellar, from which they complete the vinification and bottling themselves!
"We prefer to entrust our land to Saint Gilles, rather than to chemicals! "This is the motto of the sisters of the Solan monastery in terms of monastic craftsmanship.
Yes, the nuns are champions of ecology! In addition to the daily services, they spend their days between the 3 hectares of vegetable garden and orchards, and the 6 hectares of vineyards. They are constantly at work! Their goal: not to use any synthetic fertilizers, but to use natural resources to grow fruits and vegetables!
Everything abounds in their vegetable garden, managed by them, by hand.
And every month, they obviously bless the water, the wheat, the wine, the oil etc...
It's made with love, it's good, and it's organic! What more could you ask for?
All dressed in black...
Today, 17 orthodox nuns, all dressed in black, live a primitive monastic way of life, inspired by the precepts of Saint Basil (4th century). They organize their day around prayer and work, with a possible adaptation according to the work in the vineyard. Original, isn't it?
Unlike Western monks who celebrate each office at its original "hour", the sisters of Solan group their seven offices according to Eastern custom. Two prayers in the morning, two prayers in the evening. The services are celebrated in French, but sung a capella according to Byzantine melodies and traditions. What a beautiful sound to expect! Ah, yes, and a little anecdote: during the mass, the sisters use their homemade bread, and the fruit taken directly from their vineyard!
If you want to treat yourself, you can click here to buy online the products of the monastery of Solan!
Monastery of Solan
1942, Route de Cavillargues
30330 La Bastide-d'Engras
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator