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Notre-Dame de Kernitron: The chapel of the end of the world

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MATTES RENÉ / HEMIS.FR / HEMIS VIA AFP

Notre-Dame de Kernitron (Bretagne).

Anne Bernet - published on 05/13/22

Notre-Dame de Kernitron in Brittany is a site with pre-Christian origins and an eventful local lore where the Virgin triumphed over a legend.

Everything is shadows and mysteries around this ancient sanctuary of the village of Lanmeur in Finistère. The place is surrounded by tragic legends, and local lore holds that on the day of the end of the world, which is said will take place on a Trinity Sunday, it will be the last possible refuge offered to survivors. Kernitron means, in Breton, “the domain of the Lady.” It is generally believed that this lady is the Virgin Mary, Itron Varia, but again, nothing is certain. Some maintain that it is rather a Breton princess, Tryphine de Vannes, whose tragic destiny is closely linked to Lanmeur. But, as is often the case in these countries with a very long memories, references to myths from before the Flood, a flood, precisely, at the heart of our history are part of the Notre-Dame de Kernitron story.

The lost homeland of the Bretons

This story begins around the fifth century. At that time, what is known today as Brittany, a Celtic land that had been a Roman province for more than four hundred years and had been Christianized for almost as long, met a disastrous fate. As the barbarian hordes swept through the Empire and Italy itself was no longer safe, Emperor Valentinian III – whose courage was not his dominant virtue – decided to cut his losses. In order to protect himself and his capital of Ravenna, he made an attempt to repatriate the legions of Brittany, abandoning the island.

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