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Ostensions limousines (Religious festival, France)

Part 3

Last modified: 2012-04-09 by ivan sache
Keywords: limousin | ostensions | saint-yrieix-la perche | chalard (le) | crosses: 5 (black) | saint-junien | crocq | pierre-buffiere |
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Ostensions in Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche

[Ostensions flag]

Flag of the Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche ostensions - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche (7,007 inhabitants), located 40 km south of Limoges, developed around a monastery founded c. 560 in Attanum by St. Aredius / Yrieix, a friend of St. Gregory of Tours. On 17 May 1181, St. Yrieix' relics were transported to the collegiate church (12th-13th centuries), and, subsequently (15th century) placed into a reliquary bust.

The Saint-Yrieix ostensions flag (video) is a banner vertically divided blue- red.
The flag is clearly derived from the municipal coat of arms "Per pale azure three fleurs-de-lis or and gules an abbot's crozier in pale contourned". The arms recall the peerage chart signed in August 1307 by King of France Philip the Handsome (dexter) and the chapter of the former abbey (sinister).

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Le Chalard ostensions flag

[Ostensions flag]

Flag of Le Chalard - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

During the procession, the delegation from Le Chalard (296 inhabitants) used a white flag with a thin red cross throughout and a black cross couped in each quarter (photo).

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Ostensions in Saint-Junien

[Ostensions flag]

Flag of the Saint-Junien ostensions - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Saint-Junien (11,695 inhabitants), located 30 km west of Limoges, developed around the miraculous tomb of St. Junien, a disciple of the Hungarian-born hermit St. Amand (6th century). Junien, particularly skilled to kill dragons and to expel all kinds of demons, is invoked against blindness and paralysis.
Saint-Junien is the French capital of glove-making industry, producing every year 480,000 pairs of gloves, that is nearly one half of the French production. The other main industry in the town is paper-making.

The Saint-Junien ostensions, celebrating the local Sts. Junian and Amand and St. Theodore, a Roman soldier converted to the Christian religion and martyred in 304 during the Diocletian persecution, are considered as the most spectacular of the ostensions limousines, attracting more than 100,000 visitors. The closing procession involves 1,500 amateur actors, most of them being inhabitants of the town, dressed in historic costumes; the route of the procession is decorated with flowers and foliage recalling the forest of Comodoliac - "recreated" in the main street - where the two hermits retired and with temporary shrines linked to the main events of the saints' lives.

Two copies of the ostensions flag are required since the town has two churches. The senior inhabitant of the Notre-Dame borough has the duty to present the flags to the President of the Ostensions Committee; then the cortege moves to the church for the blessing of the flags. In the afternoon, the crowd, escorted by the Swiss guard and the brass band, visits the gates of the town, where the flags of the boroughs will be hoisted.
The flag of the Saint-Junien ostensions (photos), with the colors of the traditional boroughs of the town, is hoisted on the sites of the former gates of the town and on the churches. The flag is in proportions 2:5, vertically divided black-blue-white-red-green, with the writing, in blackletters, "OSTENSIONS / 2009 / HONNEUR / AUX / SAINTS" in the central, white stripe. The colors of the boroughs are the following;
- Church: All the boroughs' colors;
- President's borough: Blue-white-red;
- Notre-Dame: Blue, the color of the Blessed Virgin;
- Pont-Levis: Red, the color of blood;
- Saler: Green, the color of the forest of Comodoliac;
- Cemetery: Violet, the color of mourning.

Several other flags are shown on the photo gallery of the Saint-Junien ostension website.

The flag of the President's borough is vertically divided blue-white- red, with the writing, in golden letters, "HONNEUR / AU / PRESIDENT" all over.
The other flags are only tentatively identified:
- The Notre-Dame flag must be the blue flag with a golden cross on one side and the Marian monogram on the other side.
- The Pont-Levis flag must be the square red flag with a white cross and, in the middle, a cross surrounded by a wreath, all gold.
- The Cemetery flag must be the square black flag with a white cross and some golden writing.

[Saler flag]

Saler flag (?) - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

The Saler flag must be the flag vertically divided white-green.

[Virgin flag]

Virgin flag (?) - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Another flag, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, is vertically divided blue-white-red, with the writing, in black letters, "OSTENSIONS / 2009 / GLOIRE / A / MARIE" in the central, white stripe.

[Ostensions flag]         [Ostensions flag]         [Ostensions flag]

Flags in the church of Saint-Junien - Images by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

The inside of the church is also decorated with flags, mostly long forked bicolor banners and groups of three rectangular flags, vertically divided white-red, white-green and yellow-white.

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Ostensions in Crocq

Crocq celebrates St. Eligius. The Crocq ostensions were the first organized in the Department of Creuse since 1967 (Chambon-Évaux).

There is no information on the Charroux ostensions flag.

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011

Ostensions in Pierre-Buffière

Pierre-Buffière (1,148 inhabitants), located 20 km south of Limoges, organized ostensions for the first time in 2009, celebrating St. Cosmos and Damian. A local chapel, long disappeared, once kept relics of the saints, which were venerated by the pilgrims on the Way of St. James.

There is no information on the Pierre-Buffière ostensions flag.

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2011