The Hermitages of Mount Montserrat

Montserrat (Catalan pronunciation: [munsəˈrat]) is a multi-peaked mountain located near the city of Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). The mountain is the namesake for the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Montserrat is sometimes referred to as “tall”, or “la cuchador” (the spork).
montserrat abbey
It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary.
virgin of montserrat

The Monastery of Santa Cecília stood some four kilometres from that of Montserrat, on the road to Can Maçana. The church, simple and austere, basically that same as that originally built in the 10th century, is one of the purest examples of early Catalan Romanesque art. The three apses, with Lombard arches, correspond to the nave and two aisles in the interior, with hammer-carved stone walls that were originally whitewashed. The building is harmoniously integrated into the landscape, forming a beautiful site. The Monastery was founded between 942 and 945 by Abbot Cesari. The community was never large, and the monastery was finally merged with that of Montserrat in 1539.
There are some 15 chapels, former hermitages, dotted over Mount Montserrat. Formerly subject to the dioceses of Barcelona or Vic, they were all abandoned when the hermits were forced to flee before the French invasion in 1811. Though they were later rebuilt, few were inhabited once more and most were finally abandoned in 1822, after which the buildings began to deteriorate. All that remains now, in some cases, are the walls.

Hermitage of La Santa Creu
Has been conserved, along with the two cisterns, still in use. This one of the few hermitages inhabited in modern times, its last occupant being Father Basilio, who died at the age of 78 on 23 December 2003.

Hermitage of Sant Jaume
All that remain the wall foundations, now half-hidden amongst the vegetation. The hermitage stands on a rock known as “Gorra Marinera”, and which commands five views of the monastery. From here, the hermit could hear the church organ and monks choir at song and prayer.

Hermitage of Santa Anna
By the María mountain torrent, beside the crossroads of the paths leading to the other chapels, not far from the monastery, for which reason this was where the hermits came twice a week to hear mass.

Hermitage of Sant Benet
Was built in 1536 to shorten the distance between the two hermitages. All that now remains, however, is a chapel-shaped building built later, and now used as a mountain refuge.

Hermitage of La Santísima Trinitat
Are remains of some of the walls, the cistern and the Chapel of El Sant Crist, More rooms were added to the hermitage in the 17th century as, along with the Hermitage of Sant Dimes, it had direct access to the monastery via a staircase with 660 steps.

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