St Urbain Basilica is one of the gems of Troyes religious heritage. Its construction started in 1262 when Pope Urbain IV, his real name being Jacques Pantaléon, from Troyes, decided to symbolize his pontificate by building a collegiate church at the exact place where his father’s cobbler shop was.
However, not everyone was enjoying the idea of this construction!
Nearby was Notre Dame aux Nonnains Abbey, a very old women abbey and the most important in the Diocese. These nuns were holding considerable power and privileges. Because of their ancient origins, they were given the title of patronesses of the city.
So, they did not really appreciate the construction of a collegiate church a few dozen meters away, in the very heart of their jurisdiction!
To prevent the consecration of the building, the nuns were not lacking imagination and did not hesitate to break the scaffolding, destroy the high altar, tear away the doors…
They were even suspected of setting fire to the construction site!
One of these nuns, the Abbess Ode de Pougy even dared to slap the bishop who had come to bless the cemetery in 1268!
This does not sound very catholic!
Anyway, the sentence had finally fall and the nuns involved were excommunicated until 1283.
The history of St Urbain basilica is rather unbelievable!