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Soon after the founding of the original basilica, major conflict erupted.Abbot Artaud demanded money from the townspeople for the reconstruction of the church and the monks refused to grant political independence to the citizens.King Nicholas I in 867 and King Charles the Bald in 868 confirmed the donation.The new Vézelay abbey was overseen by the great Benedictine abbey at Cluny.Dating primarily from the early 12th century, the Basilica of St.Mary Magdalene has a Romanesque nave and Gothic choir, both full of light.
The Basilica of the Madeleine was dedicated in 1104 by Paschal II, Artaud's successor.During the 16th century Wars of Religion, Vézelay was thoroughly sacked by Huguenots.The Huguenot masters of Vézelay converted the Madeleine into a storehouse and stable and burned the relics.Papal bulls of Lucius III, Urban III, and Clement III confirmed the statement that they possessed the body of St. Accordingly, the tomb of the saint was visited in the 12th century by a host of illustrious pilgrims."All France," wrote Hugh of Poitiers, "seems to go to the solemnities of the Magdalen." The pilgrimage led to the town of Vezelay rising up around the abbey and an increase in the monastery's power and prestige.
Despite these conflicts, Vézelay continued to receive thousands of pilgrims and it hosted a number of important historical events: The prestige of the abbey began to diminish in 1280 when the Dominicans of St.