St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church is a feudal Spanish monastery which was constructed in the twelfth century near Segovia, Spain. However, it was taken apart in the twentieth century and transported to New York City, U.S.A It was ultimately rebuilt at 16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, Florida. Here it is currently an Episcopal church and tourist attraction under the name Ancient Spanish Monastery. This Spanish monastery is the most ancient European-constructed building in the West.
The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux was constructed between 1133 and 1141 in Sacremenia, close to Segovia in northern Spain. After its completion, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and initially called “The Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels”. After Bernard de Clairvaux was canonized in 1174, it was given a new name in his honor. Bernard was a Cistercian monk and mystic who founded and became the abbot of the Abbey of Clairvaux. He was one of the most prominent church leaders in the twelfth century. Cistercian monks inhabited the Monastery for almost seven-hundred years. After an 1830s social revolution, the Monastery’s Cloisters were confiscated, sold, and turned into a granary and stable.
Moving to the United States
William Randolph Hearst bought the Cloisters in 1925 and the Monastery’s outbuildings. The buildings were taken apart one stone at a time, tied with protecting hay, boxed in over 11,000 wooden crates, identified by number, and transported to the U.S. Soon after the cargo reached its destination, Hearst was compelled to auction off most of his collection due to economic difficulties. For twenty-six years, the gigantic crates stayed in a Brooklyn, New York warehouse. A year after Hearst’s demise in 1952, they were acquired by two businessmen to be used as a tourist attraction. It took just over a year and a half and about twenty million dollars in modern currency to resemble the monastery. It was call by Time magazine in 1953 history’s largest jigsaw puzzle.
Colonel Robert Pentland, Jr., a multimillionaire banker, patron, and sponsor of lots of Episcopal churches, bought the Cloisters in 1964 and bestowed them to the Bishop of Florida. Currently, the St. Bernard de Clairvaux parish church is an energetic and expanding congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida. Church services are convened every day, except for Saturday, in both English and Spanish.