Cathédrale St-Lazare Central Apse, Stained Glass Windows Autun Cathedral
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Saint-Lazare was built between 1120 and the end of the 12th C. to accommodate throngs of pilgrims coming to venerate the relics of St. Lazarus of Bethany, known from the Gospels as the brother of Mary Magdalene and Martha, and beloved friend of the Lord, who raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44). The design of Saint-Lazare was inspired by Cluniac churches, notably Paray-le-Monial. However, unlike other pilgrimage churches of the period, Saint-Lazare was planned without an ambulatory or radiating chapels at its east end, where relics were typically placed. Instead, Saint-Lazare terminates with a central, three-story semi-circular apse, flanked on each side by a smaller apse. The upper portions of this area had to be rebuilt in the 15th C. after lightning struck the belfry and started a huge fire (ca. 1469). While rebuilders retained the Romanesque round arches for the tops of the windows, advances in engineering technology (the exterior buttressing system) allowed the apse to be pierced with many tall windows. In contrast to the Romanesque nave, the choir at Autun cathedral is flooded with light. Stained glass in the upper register of windows dates from the 19th C. Some of these windows have scenes depicting episodes from the lives of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and Martha when they encounter their friend Jesus as the Christ. The stained glass windows filling the two lower registers date from the 20th C. ca. August 1981
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