Last modified: 2012-10-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: val-de-marne | saint-maur-des-fosses | archery |
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Flag of Compagnie d'Arc de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 December 2006
The town of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (75,700 inhabitants; 11.25 sq. km) is
located in the south-eastern outskirts of Paris.
In the Middle Ages, the abbey of Saint-Maur was one of the most famous in France. The abbey was founded in 639 by Regent Queen Nathilde, and was then known as Saint-Pierre-du-Fossé abbey, a fossé being a ditch. The abbey church was rebuilt two times in the IXth century and around the year one thousand. In 1137, the region was hit by a severe drought and the relics of St. Maur, kept in the abbey since 868, were carried during a procession. It rained and the cult of St. Maur flourished; the abbey was officially renamed Saint-Maur-des-Fossés abbey in 1281. In the late XVth century, the saint's relics were invoked against epilepsy and gout during pilgrimages.
Saint Maur (aka Amaury, Maura, Morane, Mauro; c. 512-584) was the closest disciple of St. Benedict and studied with him in Monte Cassino abbey; he was sent to Gaul were he became the first Abbot of Glanfeuil, an abbey located near Angers. In France, the Congrégation de Saint-Maur grouped up to 191 Benedictine abbeys in the period 1614-1791. Saint Maur is the patron saint of the coalmen, of the coppersmiths and of the gravediggers.
The archery brotherhood Compagnie d'Arc de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, today a sports club, was in the past closely linked to the Saint-Maur abbey. A document kept in the National Archives says that the brotherhood was granted new statutes in 1734 but already had a flag, since permission was given on 27 April 1734 by the Canons of the abbey to charge the flag with the Chapter's coat of arms, a T surrounded by two fleurs-de-lis and surmounted by the letters S.M.. The archery brotherhood was at that time in charge of maintaining good order during the pilgrimages in the abbey. The same system was used by the Saint-Médard abbey in Soissons, the archery brotherhood being there the St. Sebastian Brotherhood.
The modern, ceremonial flag of Compagnie d'Arc de
Saint-Maur-des-Fossés is blue with a yellow diagonal stripe and the
lettering COMPAGNIE D'ARC / DE / SAINT-MAUR / DES FOSSÉS in upper right
corner and FONDÉE / EN / 1734 in lower left corner, all in yellow (or
maybe white, the source image is not very clear).
This flag is derived from the municipal coat of arms of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, shown on the municipal website as:
D'azur à la bande d'or chargée d'une anguille tortillée du champ accompagnée en chef de trois fleurs-de-lis d'or, au bâton de gueules péri en bande, et en pointe d'une couronne d'épines enfermant le mot PAX surmonté d'une fleur-de-lis et soutenu de trois clous, le tout d'argent.
(Azure a bend gules an eel twisted of the field in chief three fleurs de lis or a bendlet couped gules per bend in base a crown of thorns enclosing the word PAX ensigned with a fleur de lis and supported by three nails all argent.)
The eel recalls the river Marne whereas the chief recall the Princes of Condé, once lords of the Bailliwick of Saint-Maur. The base of the shield shows the arms of the abbey of Saint-Maur and their motto PAX (in Latin, Peace).
Ivan Sache, 18 December 2006