1st Area

LEM-CERCOR - 1st AreaMonastic collections


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Corpus monastiques

Supervisor: Noëlle DEFLOU-LECA

This area of research consists of seven complementary research programs:

  • The production of a corpus on regular French establishments during the Middle-Ages (monasteries), covering thus far about three quarters of the French territory. This project is made in collaboration with a team of historians and archeologists.
  • A topographical and cartographic analysis of the religious communities, both collegiate and monastic (France, 816-1563), in collaboration with Anne MASSONI (Limoges), COL&MON project, selected by the ANR 2015 (French National Agency of Research)
  • A history of the Carthusian monasteries and the Carthusian Order.
  • The collection “Analecta Cartusian”, made by James Hogg, which publishes facsimiles of sources, proceedings of colloquiums, academic monographs, collections of articles, popularization books and photo albums on the history and spirituality of Carthusian monks.
  •  A multidisciplinary history and art history PCR (Collective Project of Research) on the abbey of La Chaise-Dieu.
  •  Sources and technologies for the history of the Monacan environment.
  • Corpus of Medieval Latin texts (Bourgogne, 5th-15th century): both hagiographical and epigraphic.

 MONASTERIES. Historical, archaeological and topographical corpus

Supervisor: Noëlle DEFLOU-LECA (noelle.deflou-leca @ laposte.net)

This area of research consists of two complementary research programs:

  • the production of a corpus on regular French establishments during the Middle-Ages, MONASTÈRES, covering thus far about three quarters of the French territory. This project is made in collaboration with a team of historians and archeologists.

  • the topographical analysis of religious communities (France, 816-1563), in collaboration with Anne MASSONI (EA 4270 CRIHAM, University of Limoges), COL&MON project.
    The production of a database focusing on monasteries located in French territories during the Middle-Ages was based on the will to reshape the Cottineau by including historical, iconographic, architectural and archaeological expertise, brought up to date since the 1939 overview. By “monasteries” we mean to address all of the establishments ran by monks, nuns or canons regular, and inhabited by a community.
    On top of bringing together knowledge on French medieval monasticism and producing a work tool for researchers, the purpose of such project is also to eventually develop monographic studies and comparative areas of research such as spatial organization, filiations or monastic networks.
    For a detailed presentation of the project, see the website: MONASTÈRES. Historical, archaeological and topographical Corpus.
    The creation of this database is done in collaboration with the EA 4270 CRIHAM, the EA 4270 CRIHAM, University of Limoges (Rémi CROUZEVIALLE (remi.crouzevialle @ unilim.fr)).
    Regions currently input (January-July 2015): Ecclesiastic provinces of Trèves, Cologne, Lyon, Auch and dioceses of Limoges, Auxerre, Nevers. First planned uploading: 2nd semester of 2015 
    In relation to the constitution of the MONASTÈRES corpus, we are also offering the possibility to consult online the two volumes of the topographical and bibliographic Repertory on the abbeys and priories of dom Laurent-Henri Cottineau (Mâcon, 1939), which are still the main references on the subject. Realization: Ahmad FLITI (ahmad.fliti @ univ-st-etienne.fr) (LEM-CERCOR). URL: Abbayes et prieurés (abbeys and priories). Dom L.-H. COTTINEAU.


Collegiate churches and monasteries from the Carolingian reform to the Council of Trent (816-1563)

Program financed by the ANR (April 2016-March 2020)

Supervisors: Anne Massoni (CRIHAM, University of Limoges) et Noëlle Deflou-Leca (UMR 8584 LEM-CERCOR, University of Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne, University of Grenoble-Alpes

This research project, which is about the history and spatial analysis of the religious phenomenon, focuses on the establishments that all sheltered a collective clergy between 816 and 1563. They were everywhere in the medieval West and represent two major forms of religious life during the Middle-Ages; they are also an essential part of the ecclesiastic network connecting cathedrals, simple parish churches or chapels.

Coming from the convergence of two databases, one about collegiate churches, the other about monasteries, the project means to unite them both to create an original and digital corpus and to conceive a common Geographical Information System (SIG, Système d’Information Géographique), in order to link together two complementary questions, both canonic and monastic. The founding reason behind this project is to bring together two sectors of historical research that often ignored one another by following parallel lines of study. The monastic or regular institutions and the secular institutes such as collegiate churches are indeed traditionally considered separately, in a pattern that oversimplifies the ecclesial reality; secular clergy on one side, monastic clergy on the other side. Their reunion is thus the result of such assessment and of the will to draw links between two types of institutions that are admittedly distinct but not without many common points (collective clergy, liturgical activities, documentary productions, spatial organization, seigniorial domination…).  

The objective here is to create and to analyze a corpus on the monasteries and collegiate churches of the French territory between 816 and 1563, in order to understand the motives behind their implantation and their evolution; both of these aspects are major elements of the medieval ecclesiastical geography. The main approach counts on the relevance and the pedagogy of the work tool – which is about representation and spatial analysis – to try to grasp these motives, through a process of specific and comparative analysis. The point is to allow a cartographic use of historical data, which is to this day still largely underexploited. 

The COL&MON project means to compare, on a large scale and in a diachronic perspective, the establishments and their networks, all while going further than the utterly monographic aspect of most available studies. It will allow the development of a new expertise on medieval religious communities thanks to links drawn between several subjects, that all have different cognitive procedures and methodologies: geography, history, architecture, art history, law and geomatics history. The complexity and the interweaving of religious phenomena call for a close collaboration between these subjects, in order to elaborate and configure the tools that are best adapted to modern research.

Through the creation of a new historical tool considered thanks to this cartographic and interactive approach, our subjects of research – collegiate churches and monasteries – will be entirely apprehended through digital technology, at every level of methodology: interactive cartography online (Webmapping), choices of downloadable thematic maps, spatial data servers, databases, interoperable data exploitable through search engines, digital iconographic documentation, online publications, collaborative tool for scientific exchanges – all of those based on a web portal.

Collaborating labs: CRIHAM, University of Limoges (lead Anne Massoni) ; UMR 8584 LEM-CERCOR, University of Jean Monnet de Saint-Etienne (lead Noëlle Deflou-Leca) ; UMR 8589 LAMOP, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (lead Thierry Kouamé) ; UMR 5600 EVS, University of de Saint-Etienne (lead Thierry Joliveau).

History of Carthusian monasteries and the Carthusian Order

Supervisor: Sylvain EXCOFFON

Research on the institutions and on the history of the order, research on the Carthusian economy and on the relations Carthusians had with society. A “Carthusian atlas” is currently being made.


 The collection « Analecta Cartusiana »

Supervisor: Sylvain EXCOFFON


The abbey of La Chaise-Dieu. Traditions, influences and reforms

Supervisor: Frédérique-Anne COSTANTINI

The Collective Project of Research (PCR, Projet Collectif de Recherche) dealing with the abbey of La Chaise-Dieu and its surrounding town, initiated within the scope of the CERCOR in 2013 by Daniel-Odon HUREL (UMR 8584 LEM) and Frédérique-Anne COSTANTINI (fa.costantini @ me.com), involves about twenty Europeans researchers. This project, supported by the DRAC Auvergne, is in line with a policy of patrimonial restoration, thanks to the diversity of its historical and archaeological approaches. Such policy has been implemented since 2012 by the General council of the Haute-Loire, under the authority of the Council of Europe. At the end of the first year of the PCR, a presentation of the researches has been organized at La Chaise-Dieu for the regional governments associated with the project and the researchers. The result of the archives study, the archeological digs and the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) analysis of the abbey allows us to contemplate holding an international colloquium around 2016 and the publication of a monograph dedicated to the abbey of La Chaise-Dieu.


Sources and technologies for the history of the Monacan environment (2019-2022)

Coordinated by the Università degli Studi di Bergamo, under the scientific responsibility of the professor Riccardo Rao.  

The CERCOR participates to a research program about the Monacan environment in the long-term (medieval and early modern periods), in collaboration with the Universities of Bergamo, Turin and Nice-Côte d’Azur  and financed by the Principality of Monaco. This program concerns part of the ecclesiastic and monastic seigniorial. It will lead to several study days in Nice and to publications, as well as the creation, in 2021, of a digital resource portal on the HUMA-NUM server supervised by the LEM-CERCOR, under the responsibility of Thierry Pécout and Ahmad Fliti

An organized and heterogeneous corpus of medieval Latin texts (Bourgogne, 5th-15th century): texts both hagiographical and epigraphic

Coordinated by Eliana Magnani

The purpose of this project’s new stage is to complete the database on medieval Burgundian diplomatic actions, the CBMA (Corpus Burgundiae Medii Aevi), by adding sources of other documentary type, such as hagiographical and epigraphic texts.