Vladimir Nabokov has a wonderful aphorism that it is not guided excursions that come to God, but lonely travelers. It seems that chapel of st michael in ancient the town of Le Puy-en-Velay in France just made for lonely pilgrims. It rises 280 feet above the city as it is built on a basalt rock. There are 268 stone steps leading to the entrance, and from the top there is a picturesque view of the surrounding area.
The history of the town of Le Puy-en-Velay is inseparable from the history of Christianity: it is famous for the fact that the appearance of the Virgin Mary was observed here. The city is built between hills and mountains, it is believed that the volcanic stone has healing powers. In 430 A.D. on the site of a former pagan settlement, the first church was built, since then the Christian pilgrimage began.
In 962, the chapel of St. Michael was built in the town to commemorate the return of Bishop Gothescalc, who led the first pilgrimage from Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela. In the 12th century, the chapel was significantly expanded with the addition of several galleries and portals, as well as a chapel. In addition, the collection of 10th century frescoes has been restored and new ones added. Several centuries later, in 1955, archaeologists involved in the restoration of the chapel discovered expensive icons and religious objects hidden in the altar; today they are on display for all to see.
Perhaps, in its asceticism, the chapel can be compared with an Irish monastery located on Skellig Michael Island, 15 km from the coast of Ireland.
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