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The strange life of hermits

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Discover the tomb of Saint Déodat and the role of the hermits in the history

of our small Loire villages.

The small town of Saint Dyé-sur-Loire is full of stories. The most fascinating, probably, is the one that goes back to the time of the Carnutes,

the Gallic people who once lived on this site

We are in the V century after J.C, two "strange" men,

Déodat and Bodemire, after having travelled thousands of kilometers,

settle here, on a small island, in front of the small Gallic city.

Bodemire prefers to isolate himself on the island while Déodat builds a small hut on the bank where he meditates and prays every day. He lives thus closer to the inhabitants. These curious characters are hermits, certainly the first Christians

in the Loire Valley.

But what is a hermit ?

It is a solitary person who lives away from the world, without any resources and detached from any form of material (no ostentatious house, no comfort,

few clothes...).

What does he do with his days?

They are essentially composed of prayers, meditation and asceticism, that is to say, he deprives himself of many things, in order to have the simplest possible life and as close as possible to Nature.

The Carnutes, very surprised to meet such characters, at the doors of their village, are wary of these strange men. These two hermits become very quickly

"objects of curiosity".

The Gallic population which lives here, even starts to be interested in them and ends up accepting them. Thus, close relations are tied up between these men. Gregory of Tours, a famous historian in the VI century, thinks that these hermits played a decisive role on the evangelization of our small villages. Indeed, these pacifist men were close to Nature and they quickly developed certain gifts of healers. Like druids, they have a great knowledge of botany, have gifts to tame wild animals and to make springs flow,...

A non-exhaustive list of "miracles" in which the local population participates, spreads everywhere in the countryside. These Gauls, whose daily life is punctuated by the seasons and Nature, find themselves in this belief and in this way of life.

Thanks to the "gifts" and blessings of these hermits, they gradually changed their attitude towards these first Christians and even their thinking. Thus, it was through these exchanges that the Christianization of the countryside was able to progress and settle in these lands with deep-rooted traditions.

After the death of the hermit Déodat, the village took the name of Saint Dyé-sur-Loire.

In the VI th century, the cave in which the Saint lived became a crypt on which the first chapel was built. We can admire his tomb inside the church.

It is also said that this church soon became a place of pilgrimage.

Clovis, the first king of the Franks, is said to have come here with his army in homage to these first men of Christian faith, who came to preach the Word of God

with kindness and compassion.

Translation by DeepL



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