Émilion: monk founder of a world famous city
In the 8th century, a Breton named Émilion born in Vannes and famous for his miracles, decided to leave his homeland to retire and dedicate himself to prayer. Along the Atlantic coast, he became a monk and then moved to Ascumbas, former name of the city of Saint-Émilion.
Joined by a few Benedictine followers, he founded the first religious community and evangelized the population, creating a large monastic town, to which worshippers later gave his name.
The holy man probably died around the year 767, after spending the last seventeen years of his life in his hermitage, a simple cave around which the village was built.
The numerous monasteries, convents and churches still present in the region show that many religious communities settled in the village over the centuries. They were attracted by the cult of Émilion. Thus, between the 8th and the 18th century, Bene- dictines, Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans and Ursuline nuns lived together or followed one another. They welcomed pilgrims of the monk Émilion and of Santiago de Compostela, St James’s Way being quite near the village.