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Queen Giovanna of Naples Opened a Holy Brothel

Joan I (1328 – 12 May 1382), born Joanna of Anjou, was Queen of Naples from 1343 until her death. Joan was forced for a period to flee to Avignon. On 8 August 1347 she opened a large brothel in Avignon called the "Abbey". It was regulated by strict rules after the model of religious houses, and none but good Christians were admitted.

The notion of "holy brothels" was introduced supposedly in an effort to maintain control of prostitution. The “Abbey” was run according to very rigorous rules, and the women who were employed there lived in conditions similar to those in convents. In addition, they received regular medical checks, and pregnant women were cared for until their confinement. She later sold all the property in Avignon to Pope Clement VI, effectively ending the prostitution trade in Avignon.



Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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