The annual feasts of saint Leonard

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Five main ceremonies recall the great events of the life of Saint Leonard.

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The members of the Confraternity of Saint Leonard, at the end of each special mass, offer the opportunity for the faihfull to venerate his relics.

  • THE 17th OF FEBRUARY : This first feast day of the year, commemorates the rediscovery of the relics of the Saint in 1403. This is known as the « Invention of the Relics ». These relics had been lost for many years. The circumstance of this miraculous rediscovery are recounted by the Abbot Oroux in the18th century, as follows ; « After having lost the hiding place of the relics, we organised a ceremony of prayers and a man from the countryside came forward to show where we should start digging, within the church precincts. We started digging and came across a stone sarcophagus within which we found three caskets, two of which had inscriptions in Latin making reference to the bones and ashes of Saint Leonard » Two of these lead caskets are to be seen in the treasure house of the Collegiate Church.

    Following this discovery, the relics were placed above the High Altar in a wrought iron cage which was protected by three locks. This cage is still in place six centuries later.

  • THE 11th OF AUGUST : On this date we celebrate the miracle which took place in 1094, when the relics of Saint Leonard were exposed and carried in procession to combat the « Mal des Ardents » (the malady of the fevered). This malady, as reported by the Abbot Oroux, was a deadly food poisoning attributed to the ergot of rye, which disappeared after the showing of the relics of the saints of the entire region. At Noblat the procession passed between two lines of the sick and all those who could touch the bones of Saint Leonard, were cured. Therefore they made a second passage between the lines, so that all could be cured.

  • THE 17th OF OCTOBER : This is the feast of the transfer (translation) of the relics from the original primitive chapel « Our Lady Beneath the Trees » erected by Saint Leonard, himself, to the Collegiate Church . The miracle which indicated the exact emplacement of this church is recounted in the « Life of Saint Leonard ».

  • quintaine5THE 6th OF NOVEMBER : This is the anniversary of the death of Saint Leonard in the 6th century and it has been celebrated, ever since, in the Limousin. The ceremonies take place on the Sunday which is closest to this date. This anniversary is marked in all the Sanctuaries dedicated to Saint Leonard throughout Europe ; even if in some countries like Belgium, the main votive feast takes place on the Monday after Pentecost.

  • THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY, the competition known as the QUINTAINE , takes place in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat

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< saint Leonard, patron saint of prisoners | the Quintaine >

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