Champsec Chapel

Historic site and monument, Religious heritage, Chapel at Champsec 
  • This building is relatively recent. It was only constructed after the bleak days of the 1818 disaster. An old chapel had been consecrated on 20 April 1684, according to the archives.

  • In 1706 it was dedicated to Our Lady of Compassion and in 1786 to the Assumption, later to Saint Bernard of Menthon, the current patron saint of the village. On the evening of 16 June 1818, the little chapel was swept away by the tumultuous floods during the disaster. Seeking shelter from the capricious Dranse river, the residents of the village found a new site: the rock on the hillside that overlooks the village. There is an inscription engraved in the stone and fixed to the wall, showing...
    In 1706 it was dedicated to Our Lady of Compassion and in 1786 to the Assumption, later to Saint Bernard of Menthon, the current patron saint of the village. On the evening of 16 June 1818, the little chapel was swept away by the tumultuous floods during the disaster. Seeking shelter from the capricious Dranse river, the residents of the village found a new site: the rock on the hillside that overlooks the village. There is an inscription engraved in the stone and fixed to the wall, showing the level to which the water rose. We should clarify that this stone was originally found at the bottom of the staircase. During its restoration in 1961, it was installed in its current location to help preserve it from damage.

    In November 1820, thanks to the work of Jacques Belzarde, a master stonemason from Martigny as well as volunteer labour from the residents of Champsec, the new chapel was consecrated. In 1865, a Way of the Cross was added. In around 1869, the cracked bell was replaced. In 1923, the first restoration took place and the porch shelter disappeared. In 1961, during another renovation, the vault was secured and the staircase covered. Access to the chapel, which was risky in winter, was also improved. In 1977, the entire interior was restored in complementing tones of white and brown. More comfortable benches and a bigger rostrum were added.

    On one side of the nave is a painting of Saint Bernard of Menthon, and on the other side a painting of the same saint walking over the St Bernard Pass with nine pilgrims, a work by Félix Corthay. The patron saint of Champsec is celebrated on 15 June. But as is the case for most villages in the valley, they celebrate on the nearest Saturday to that date.
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