Colombiers - Aerial view

A stone's throw from the Canal du Midi, Saint-Sylvestre and Sainte-Colombe church is a Romanesque style building. This first trace of a place of worship dates from the early Christian era, the most beautiful vestige of which is the Visigothic altar, a listed historic monument. And it is from this altar, reinstalled in the church, that we can see that the church has witnessed three different periods: Visigothic, Romanesque and modern, without ever being neglected as a place of prayer.

A first place of worship was built on the mound near the ancient dirt track which preceded the nearby Via Domitia. The eact date of its appearance is unknown but it is believed to be from the early Christian era.

The Saint-Sylvestre and Sainte-Colombe Church has undergone many alterations, especially in the nineteenth century when it was adorned with lavish ornaments, signs of wealth for that time. But it was in 1987, under the passionate initiative of Father Itié, priest of the parish and lover of the village, with the participation of the municipality and volunteers, that the building was freed from its multiple additions, restoring the simplicity and unity of a place conducive to meditation.

The excavations of the ancient cemetery have uncovered several slate tombs and sarcophagi, the best preserved of which, said to be acroteric, is displayed at the back of the church.

The Romanesque part of the building is represented, mainly, in the apse located to the east as it should be, located on the primitive apse: in blond stones, it is admirable and deserves to be seen "on the courtyard side" , at the back of the church. The apse is pierced with three openings called oculi, all redesigned. We can see only one apse: did the fragility of the land prevent the construction of a second? The presence of a buttress suggests this.

In the seventeenth century, there were worries that a very high bell tower, with a spire at the top measuring over three metres high was too fragile. In 1782 repairs were necessary and were carried out by a mason who inscribed his name in a cartridge surrounded by black stones: Maitre Cardos, from Nissan. In 1855, lightning set it on fire, mobilizing the local population. That was when the spire covered with beautiful terracotta was removed, and the building gained a more modern appearance.

In 1868, the church was extended because it was deemed too small for the time. The walls were pushed back without respecting the ancient construction and the fresco was decorated. The stained glass windows were installed by the master glassmaker Gesta from Toulouse. The stained glass windows are impressive but the most remarkable of all is the large rosette with five lobes with the Virgin in the chair according to Raphael. As forthe central apse which dates from 1992, there is a dove devoted to Saint Colombe, the symbol of the church.

Among the furniture present in the building, some pieces are quite remarkable such as the Cross of Saint Sylvester, the medieval baptismal font or, in the north chapel, a beautiful virgin in white marble from the eighteenth century.

Saint-Sylvestre and Sainte-Colombe Church is not only a place of meditation or worship, but also a story of construction, a peaceful place…