Tuesday, September 2, 2014

France: St Thiebaut Church Thann

According to legend, the church was founded when the servant of St. Thiebaut was given a divine sign.   The servant with St Thiebaut's thumb in his pilgrim's staff (that is a whole other story) was on his way home to Holland. His staff grew into the ground in Thann, and the local Comte took it as a sign to build a chapel here in honor of St Thiebaut. The staff came free after the promise was made.
The chapel was built around 1287 and dedicated to St Thiebaut. Pilgrims began coming here in increasing numbers, and the need for a larger church became evident. It was completed over a 200-year-period, and the steeple was added in 1516.
I have a very interesting picture that I took inside the church. I was looking in the direction of the creche and nothing was in my way. It wasn't until the next day that I looked at my pictures and got quite a shock. There is what appears to be fog in front of me, and if you look carefully, you can see the man who appears to be walking across the church, oblivious to us mortal visitors.

The church has some very fine wood carvings on the choir stalls, which are made of oak and date from the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the carvings are of men, the fiddler, the monk, the scholar, and the gossip just to mention a few.
In the Lady Chapel, there is a very lovely polychrome linden statue of the Virgin of the Wine Growers from the 16th century. It was a gift to the church by the wine growers. It is amazing, fresh looking, and quite beautiful.
The small treasury is located in a case and has some chalices and monstrances. There is a statue of St Thiebaut in the nave that appears to be covered with gold.
Some of the stained-glass windows are from the 15th century, which is amazing to me. There are wonderful statues over the main portal as well as the side portals. They tell the story of the Bible in a way that people of the Middle Ages could understand, and they are still as thought-provoking today. You can follow the story of creation and Genesis. We spent quite a while identifying the different scenes.

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