The Tiny Chapel of Mont Bonviller, La petite chapelle de Mont Bonvillers.

Posted by on August 2, 2012

I was always fascinated by XIIth century chapel (although at that time it was prolly called a church) for it’s strangeness surrounding the place.  Although located now in the tiny village of Mont-Bonvillers, now a dormitory town when the iron mining industry closed it’s doors, ending a century old burst of revenues, at the time when whoever built the place started laying the first stones, the place was just empty with the nearest village 650 meters away on another hill where a second chapel was being built at the same time.  In Lorraine the population was not really that great as it was mostly rural.  The town of Briey had not received it’s charter yet and was only a castle with baron of some sort.  So what with that chapel?  On the right picture the XIII th century entrance is visible also the South wall is part of the XII th century chapel.  The South wall is on the right side of the church, the entrance being on the West.  Nothing of the original statuary  is left, the original Baptismal font have been stolen by…….. the Diocese of Metz to be place in their museum and could charge 2 euros to see it.  Some of the tombstones are visible on each side of the church right entrance.  The bell tower is part of the remaining original settings of the church.  The roof and some of the arches have been blown to bits during WW1 by who know who doing the shelling.

In 1933, the chapel has been classified “monument historique” by some sinistry I mean ministry.  The first statue once entered the church is a sitting roped Christ similar to the one visible in the Briey church (see previous thread).  The two were prolly carved at the time and even maybe by the same stone-cutter.  The next statue is located near a pillar and would be on the left side slightly forward of the Christ.   It is a statue of Sainte Barbe, patron saint of minor and artificer.  Since the iron ore business started really after 1920, it is easy to assume the statue is from that period.  It would be the time lots of immigrants arrived in the area, like my maternal Grandpa for example.  There were lots of Italians who made it then also but they were mostly communists fleeing Mussolini’s regime.  Paradox the Eastern Europeans were running from communism and Eyetilian were bringing it in.

Image courtesy of Paracelse | République No.6

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