Gallia Christiania (an encyclopaedia of all Catholic dioceses in France), which transcribed the founding charter of the first Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe shrine, informs us that on July 18th of the year 961, Godescalc, the Bishop of Le Puy, agreed to the building of the first Pre-Roman sanctuary on the Rocher d’Aiguilhe. It is to this same bishop - considered as the first ‘French’ pilgrim to have visited Saint- Jacques de Compostelle - that the rise of pilgrimages from the town is accredited.
It is impossible not to link the above facts and it’s within this context that the origins of contemporary Aiguilhe are fitted.
Despite this, the charter states that the initiative to build Aiguilhe is not attributed to this bishop, but to the Dean of Le Puy, named Truannus.
Truannus is not only merit-worthy for having managed to build a church on top of the Rocher, but also for making it accessible by building a wide staircase into the hard rock.
The Dean gave the rights to the Chapel as a gift to the Cathedral. He required permission from Bishop Godescalc, firstly, to build the Chapel and, secondly, to do with it as he wished after his death.
However close the relationship between the Bishop and the Dean and however subordinate the Dean was to the Bishop’s wishes, Truannus was not simply the executor of the Bishop’s project in this case. It was not necessary for the two dignitaries to ‘get on well’ for the work to go ahead but, the terms agreed in 961 remained respectful.
In any case, a written agreement became necessary which created the possibility of conflict. The difficulty never arose however, as Godescalc was replaced by his successor Guy d’Anjou shortly before 961 and the latter validated the act of donation to the cathedral after Godescalc’s death.
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