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On the banks of the Bouzanne river in the Berry region, the Limoges road intersected with the old Roman road which linked Lyons and Poitiers.

On the site of this ancient ford, Compostelan pilgrims were able to venerate relics of the Crucifixion in a building which was a replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. A pilgrimage site itself, the round church at Neuvy was considered a goal for those unable to travel to Jerusalem itself.

Several chronicles from the 1040’s attest to its foundation then by Eudes of Deols and the a local noble Boson de Cluis who had recently returned from pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Eudes himself had travelled to the Holy Land in 1027.

Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre is a replica of the church built by the Emperor Constantine on the site of Christ’s burial, begun in 326 and known as the Anastasis. In contrast to the basilical plan it was constructed as a rotonda in order to signify its location as the epicentre of the earth. Constantine’s church had been partially destroyed by the Turks in 1009 and was subsequently repaired. It was eventually rebuilt by the Crusaders in the aftermath of the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre is therefore closer to the original Anastasis of Constantine than the romanesque church which still stands at Jerusalem.

In the centre of the rotonda was an aedicule in imitation of that at Jerusalem which reputedly housed Christ’s tomb.

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