Rocamadour Pilgrims have flocked to Rocamadour since the discovery in 1166 of an historical grave and sepulcher containing an undecayed body, mentioned to be that of the early Christian hermit St. Amadour. King Louis IX, St. Bernard, and St. Dominic had been amongst many who visited the location as a spate of miracles had been heralded, it’s claimed, by the bell above the Black Virgin and Child within the Chapel of Notre-Dame.
Though the town suffered with the decline of pilgrimages within the seventeenth and 18th centuries, it was closely restored within the nineteenth century. Nonetheless a holy shrine, in addition to a well-liked vacationer destination, the location above the Alzou valley is phenomenal. The perfect views of the town can be had from the hamlet of L’Hospitalet.
There are numerous tales in regards to the life of St. Amadour. One legend claims that he was Zaccheus of Jericho, who knew and conversed with Jesus throughout his time on Earth. His spouse, St. Veronica, gave Jesus a cloth to wipe his face throughout his journey to Calvary. After Jesus’ crucifixion, Zaccheus and his spouse fled from Palestine to escape religious persecution. On their travels, the couple met St. Martial, Bishop of Limoges, in Aquitaine, France, who was preaching the Gospel. They continued to Rome, and while there they witnessed the martyrdoms of St. Peter and St. Paul. The death of his spouse led Zaccheus again to France and the place later named after him, where he stayed till he died in AD 70.
This Romanesque chapel was constructed within the fifteenth century near the location where St. Amadour’s body was discovered. Considered the holiest of Rocamadour’s chapels, it houses the well-known statue of the Black Virgin and Child. Pilgrims who heard in regards to the statue flocked to the shrine, usually climbing the Grand Stairway on their knees as they prayed for the forgiveness of their sins. A ninth-century bell hangs within the chapel’s vault and is believed to ring when a miracle happens.
The Museum of Sacred Art is housed within the Bishop’s Palace, which was constructed by the abbots of Tulle within the thirteenth century. The museum’s assortment of statues, paintings, and religious artifacts has been assembled from totally different sites round Rocamadour. Notably fascinating is the seventeenth-century statue of the prophet Jonah, carved in wood, and the fine lanterns, vases, and chalices which can be nonetheless used in numerous religious ceremonies at Rocamadour.