The interior of the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul church of Evaux-les Bains was ravaged in 1942 by a major fire that was started accidentally in the convent. It destroyed all of the features around the altar, including a monumental wooden altarpiece decorated with a painting of the martyrdom of Saint Peter and 7 statues, but also stalls and a wooden altar rail, similar to those of the nearby church of Chambon sur Voueize. The vault’s woodwork dating from 1703 was sadly also consumed by the fire. A new barrel vault made from chestnut wood was built to replace this loss.
Only the bas-reliefs carvings of an 18th century wooden altar were spared from the fire. They represent the transfer of power between the canons of St. Augustine on the right and the Génovéfains on the left. Fortunately, the shrine of Saint Marien was also saved from the flames.
The legend of Saint Marien states that the famous hermit was born in the 5th century and was highly esteemed in the Combraille region and surrounding area for the numerous miracles he performed. He had built his hermitage on a peninsula, at the confluence of the Tardes and Cher rivers, where a chapel and a pilgrimage commemorate him today. It is there that he was found dead under a tree in 513 before his remains were laid to rest in the first church of Evaux. In 1558, the silver shrine that contained the relics of Saint Marien was stolen. A second reliquary was made in the 17th century to hold the bones of the saint. Crafted from carved and gilded wood, the shrine remains in the church today and is classed as an historic monument.
Beautiful contemporary stained glass windows occupy the two bays and the oculus of the altar. Added in 1964 by the French sculptor and master glass artist Gérard Lardeur, the glass pieces are assembled to create an impression of movement and life.