Grande Chartreuse

Grande Chartreuse

The Grande Chartreuse is the head monastery of the Carthusian order. It is located in the Chartreuse Mountains, to the north of the city of Grenoble, in the commune of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse in the Isère "département" of France. Originally, the house belonged to the see of Grenoble, and Saint Hugh gave it to hermit Saint Bruno and his followers in 1084. With that house, Bruno founded the Carthusian Order.

Nowadays, the Chartreuse is off limits to visitors, and visiting motor vehicles are prohibited on the surrounding roads. However, about two kilometers away stands a museum of the Carthusian order and the lives of its monks and nuns. The order is supported by the sales of Chartreuse liqueur.

Famously, English poet Matthew Arnold wrote one of his finest poems, [http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/106.html "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse"] while staying at the monastery briefly. The quiet, serenity, and piety of the place contrasted with what he saw as the violent emerging age of machinery, and the monastic calm became, for him, the susurrations of a dying world. The Grand Chartreuse was also written about in the 1850 revision of William Wordsworth's The Prelude, Book VI and John Ruskin's Praeterita.

It was closed in 1903 by the French state ["The monastery, with a small portion of the surrounding pastures, was rented from the State till, in accordance with the Association Laws of 1901, the last monks were expelled by two squadrons of dragoons on the 19th of April, 1903." web cite|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03636a.htm|title=La Grande Chartreuse|work=Catholic Encyclopedia] , the monks found refuge in Italy until 1929 ["The monks of La Grand Chartreuse, driven into exile with the prior general, found refuge at Farneta, in Italy, until 1929, when Montrieux, the first of the French charterhouses to be restored, was reopened."web cite|url=http://cartusian.tripod.com/id156.html|title=La Grande Chartreuse|work= [http://doc0mr.tripod.com/ Immaculate Heart of Mary's Hermitage] ] , but returned in 1940. ["Meanwhile the Holy See's endorsement of the Petain regime in France brought it minor benefits, such as the Carthusians' return to their Alpine eyrie, the Grande Chartreuse."web cite|url=http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,764426,00.html|title=Church & Democracy|work=Time Magazine|date=Monday, Aug. 19, 1940|retrieved=24.02.2002]

A documentary about the monastery, "Into Great Silence", was made in 2004, to great acclaim in the film festival circuit.

References


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