In my first Churches of Toulouse post, I covered the St Sernin Basilica. In the post, I recount the story of how Toulouse’s first bishop, St Sernin, was killed by the pagan population by being dragged through the streets by a bull. On the spot where he died, a church was built – Notre Dame du Taur (Our Lady of the Bull). As the site became an important pilgrimage site, a bigger church was built down the street to house the saint’s remains – the St. Sernin Basilica.
I had tried to enter Notre Dame du Taur once before, but it was closed. Yesterday Vlad and I read that every Sunday there is an English Mass at Notre Dame du Taur, so this morning we went.
The mural above the altar illustrates the story of St. Sernin. In the bottom panel, the bull is being led away as Sernin is lying dead on the ground. To the right are the two Christian women of the town who give his body a proper burial. Above Sernin is entering heaven.
I think the mural offers a very beautiful and complete image of the Christian view of death: the parallel panels represent the parallel dimensions of Heaven and Earth. Here on Earth all we can see is a dead body, we cannot see the glorious entry into heaven simultaneously occurring above.
After the service, we explored the church (which is quite small).
For such a relatively small church, the organ was quite large. The sound filled the whole church during the service.
I loved all the different patterns in the church. The inside of the church wasn’t noticeably colorful; it took sitting for an hour to truly notice all the subtle patterns.
The church has a very special mural which only after leaving the church did I learn from Google that it is actually a genealogy chart. It goes from Abraham in the top left to I assume Jesus in the bottom right.
I admired it just as a beautiful example of Medieval art, but couldn’t inspect it closer because somebody really had to go to the bathroom. So this is my long distance picture. Hopefully I will be able to make it back to inspect the mural more closely.