Aubazine, in the beginning was the faith

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Aubazine: view from a window of the corridor leading to the former dormitories. Photo: © Isabelle Cerboneschi

When two priests discovered this lost place in the heart of the Corrèze, they decided to live in a hermit. This austere place was still called Obazine. - Isabelle Cerboneschi

By his radiant faith, his benevolence, and his intelligence, Stephen had quickly attracted to him many disciples who wished to follow him on this path of austerity.

He built two monasteries, one for women in the nearby valley of Coyroux, isolated at the bottom of a gorge, and one for men, which later became the orphanage where Gabrielle Chanel spent seven years of her life. The rule that prevailed at Obazine was that of Saint Benedict as well as the Cistercian monastic usages. The bishop of Limoges consecrated the two churches in 1142.

It was not until 1160 that the place became an orphanage run by the congregation of the Holy Heart of Mary.
Since 1965, the abbey belongs to the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church, a church of Byzantine tradition united in Rome, but the Cistercian spirit remains inscribed in the least of its stones.

Isabelle Cerboneschi


Acknowledgments: Thanks to Mr. Luc-Emmanuel Feuillet, Regisseur of the Abbey St Etienne of Aubazine, who was a precious guide and a wonderful storyteller of the history of Etienne d'Obazine.

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