Calvairs in Confort-Meilars
Amongst many other things, Brittany is the country of calvairs. Calvairs are a cultural part of Brittany and the visitor can find calvairs all over the country. Either isolated somewhere or, what is mostly be the case, in the middle of a village and closely connected to the local church.
In this article we report on a location we found in the village of Confort-Meilars in the department of Finistere.
Brittany and Calvairs
Visit Brittany, drive through Finistere and you will definitely find a place with a calvaire. So did we. See for yourself. We were on our way to Pointe du Raz when we drove through a little village, when we saw this:
Calvairs and Brittany - meet the village of Confort Meilars. Admittedly, we did not consult the travel guide, otherwise we should have known that a Calvaire is to be seen there. What we did was just follow the navigation. The thing is, when you see such a beauty on your way, you can only stop the car jump out and do what a photographer has to do: Shoot a little photo series.
Cool, isn't it?
A confession built in stone
So what are these monuments are all about? The English word is "Cavalry" and what makes them so important to the people? First, you will find a cavalry mostly adjacent to a church as is the case in Confort Meilars.
Cavalries are always part of a parish, which is a stonewalled enclosure, called Enclos pariossial; this enclosure is an architectural complex secured by strong walls against the world outside. The Enclos pariossial consists of a gate, the Calvaire, the ossuary (ossuaire) and the adjacent church. The cavalry there is mostly close to the church's main door. as can be seen in the images.
The Calvaire is an architectural art specific to Brittany, the main period in which these monuments were build is between 1450-70 and mid 17th century.Basically, the Calvaire is a stonebuilt pedestal on which sculptures in a specific order are erected. The returning crusaders brought their memories of Golgatha back to their Breton home and tried to realise their memories and experiences in a stone monument.
The scene of passion and the crucifixion group are always at the centre of the Calvaire.
The Golgatha is mostly depicted as Tree of Life with residual branches.
The Calvaire shown here is a rather small one. We can see the apostles which line the upper edge of the monument. Jesus Christ is depicted on the cross, whereas Jesus has a very prominent position in the entire composition. The scene of Golgatha and the crucifixion of Jesus' is of course the most prominent incident in Christian faith. That very scene on Golgatha is manifested in stone, let us say a confession built in stone, maybe as a inheritance for the generations to come. It is certainly no longer a place of continuous worship, but it is a remembrance of a certain and, obviously, important piece of faith, for the people passing by.