St Honarat

The Island of St Honorat, situated off the bay of Cannes on the Côte d’Azur, has been a place of monastic life for over sixteen centuries. The second largest of the Lérins Islands archipelago, Sainte Honorat is separated from the larger Island of Sainte Marguerite by a 500 metre wide channel.

Uninhabited until around the year 410 AD when according to tradition, Saint Honoratus arrived and made his home on the island intending to live as a hermit but found himself joined by disciples including Saint Caprais who formed a monastic community around him. This community of monks quickly grew and spread throughout Roman Provence. The Abbey became renowned as a centre of learning and theology. It is reputed that during the fifth century Saint Patrick stopped here before returning to Ireland from Rome and spent several weeks studying in the monastery.

In 1859, the island was bought by the Bishop of Fréjus. Ten years later, a Cistercian community was established which has remained there since. Today, the fifteenth century monastery is now home to around 30 monks.

The Abbey is open to visitors and pilgrims, offering a unique location for quiet contemplation and reflexion. Depending on season and time of arrival, certain groups may be able to join the celebration of the Eucharist with the Cistercian monks.

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