Saint-Étienne-du-Mont

Last updated
Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont
St-Etienne-du-Mont Exterior, Paris, France - Diliff.jpg
Overview of the building
Religion
Affiliation Roman Catholic Church
Province Archdiocese of Paris
Location
Location Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, 5th arrondissement of Paris, Paris
Geographic coordinates 48°50′47″N2°20′53″E / 48.8465°N 2.3480°E / 48.8465; 2.3480 Coordinates: 48°50′47″N2°20′53″E / 48.8465°N 2.3480°E / 48.8465; 2.3480
Architecture
TypeChurch
Style French Gothic, French Renaissance
Groundbreaking1494 (1494)
Completed1624 (1624)

Saint-Étienne-du-Mont is a church in Paris, France, located on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève in the 5th arrondissement, near the Panthéon. It contains the shrine of St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The church also contains the tombs of Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine. Jean-Paul Marat is buried in the church's cemetery.

Church (building) Building used for Christian religious activities

A church building or church house, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly for Christian worship services. The term is often used by Christians to refer to the physical buildings where they worship, but it is sometimes used to refer to buildings of other religions. In traditional Christian architecture, the church is often arranged in the shape of a Christian cross. When viewed from plan view the longest part of a cross is represented by the aisle and the junction of the cross is located at the altar area.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.0 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

The sculpted tympanum, The Stoning of Saint Stephen , is the work of French sculptor Gabriel-Jules Thomas.

Tympanum (architecture) architectural element

In architecture, a tympanum is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, door or window, which is bounded by a lintel and an arch. It often contains sculpture or other imagery or ornaments. Most architectural styles include this element.

Saint Stephen 1st-century early Christian martyr and saint

Stephen, traditionally venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity, was according to the Acts of the Apostles a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who aroused the enmity of members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy at his trial, he made a long speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him and was then stoned to death. His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who would later become a follower of Jesus and known as Paul the Apostle.

Gabriel Thomas French artist

Gabriel-Jules Thomas was a French sculptor, born in Paris.

Renowned organist, composer, and improviser Maurice Duruflé held the post of Titular Organist at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont from 1929 until his death in 1986.

Maurice Duruflé French classical composer and organist

Maurice Duruflé was a French composer, organist, and teacher.

History

The Church of Apostles Peter and Paul was built during the reign of King Clovis, who was buried here with his wife Clotilde as well as Saint Genevieve. Later, it was rededicated as the abbey church of the royal Abbey of Sainte-Genevieve. The abbey church also served as the parish church for the surrounding area until it became too small to accommodate all the faithful. In 1222, Pope Honorius III authorized the establishment of an autonomous church, which was devoted this time to St Etienne, then the patron saint of the old cathedral of Paris. [1]

Clovis I first king of the Franks (c. 466–511)

Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.

Clotilde saint and second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I

Saint Clotilde, also known as Clothilde, Clotilda, Clotild, Rotilde etc., a princess of the kingdom of Burgundy, supposedly descended from the Gothic king Aþana-reiks, became in 492 the second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I (r. 481–509. The Merovingian dynasty to which her husband belonged ruled Frankish kingdoms for over 200 years . Venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church as well as by the Eastern Orthodox Church, she played a role in her husband's famous conversion to Christianity and, in her later years, became known for her almsgiving and penitential works of mercy . She is credited with spreading Christianity within western Europe.

Genevieve Patron saint of Paris

Saint Genevieve, is the patron saint of Paris in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. Her feast day is kept on January the 3rd.

The rood loft viewed from the south-west. St-Etienne-du-Mont Interior 3, Paris, France - Diliff.jpg
The rood loft viewed from the south-west.

Soon, the new building was overwhelmed by an increasingly dense population: the Sorbonne and many colleges were located on the territory of the parish. It was enlarged in 1328, but a complete reconstruction became necessary from the 15th century. In 1492, the nearby Génovéfain monks donated a portion of their land for the construction of the new church.

Sorbonne historical monument

The Sorbonne is a building in the Latin Quarter of Paris which was the historical house of the former University of Paris. Today, it houses part or all of several higher education and research institutions in the Paris region.

The Congregation of France was a congregation of houses of canons regular in France.. Its members were called Génovéfains, coming from the motherhouse of the congregation, the Abbey of St Genevieve. The religious habit was white, covered by a linen rochet, and a black cloak for outside the abbey.

This involved several steps. Under the direction of architect Stephen Viguier, the apse and the bell tower was sketched in 1494, the first two bells were cast in 1500. The choir of flamboyant Gothic, was completed in 1537 and the following year, it was the turn of the frame to be raised. The loft was built around 1530-1535.

Flamboyant Florid style of late Gothic architecture

Flamboyant is the name given to a florid style of late Gothic architecture in vogue in France from about 1350, until it was superseded by Renaissance architecture during the early 16th century. The term has been mainly used to describe French buildings and sometimes the early period of English Gothic architecture, usually called the Decorated Style; the historian Edward Augustus Freeman proposed this in a work of 1851. A version of the style spread to Spain and Portugal during the 15th century. It evolved from the Rayonnant style and the English Decorated Style and was marked by even greater attention to decoration and the use of double curved tracery. The term was first used by Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois (1777–1837), and like all the terms mentioned in this paragraph except "Sondergotik" describes the style of window tracery, which is much the easiest way of distinguishing within the overall Gothic period, but ignores other aspects of style. In England the later part of the period is known as Perpendicular architecture. In Germany Sondergotik is the more usual term.

In 1541, Guy, Bishop of Megara, blessed the altars of the chapels of the apse. The same year, the parish awarded contracts for the windows and statues from Parisian artisans. The nave, from the Renaissance period, was not hunched before 1584. The first stone of the facade was laid in 1610 by Marguerite de Valois, who had agreed to do so in a personal donation of 3000 pounds.

The church was dedicated on 25 February 1626 by Jean-François de Gondi, first archbishop of Paris, Cardinal de Retz's uncle. Nevertheless, developments continued: in 1636, the organ was installed, the work of Pierre Pescheur. When the organ was damaged by fire in 1760 it was rebuilt by Cliquot. Further work was carried out in 1863 by Cavaillé-Coll and the present instrument is the work of further revision by Beuchet-Debierre in 1956 [2]

In 1651, a new pulpit was installed. It was also adjusted for the local wardens and housing for the priests.

During the 17th and 18th century, the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont enjoyed great prestige. It was the scene of great processions where the shrine of Sainte-Genevieve went to Notre Dame and subsequently returned to his church. It also housed the remains of Pierre Perrault, the painter Eustache Le Sueur and Blaise Pascal. Those of Racine and Isaac de Sacy Lemaistre were also transferred in 1711 from Port-Royal in Saint-Etienne.

The nave, showing the rood screen, pulpit and ceiling details St-Etienne-du-Mont Interior 2, Paris, France - Diliff.jpg
The nave, showing the rood screen, pulpit and ceiling details
The organ St-Etienne-du-Mont Organ, Paris, France - Diliff.jpg
The organ

During the French Revolution, the church was first closed and then turned into a "Temple of Filial Piety." Catholic worship was restored in 1801, benefiting from the Concordat. The following year, the demolition of the abbey church of Sainte-Genevieve Abbey and the breakthrough Street Clovis made St. Stephen an independent building. Under the Second Empire, the church was restored by Victor Baltard: the front was raised and the statues destroyed by the revolutionaries, were returned. Baltard also built the chapel of catechisms.

The 19th century was marked by many events. On 10 January 1805 Pope Pius VII celebrated Mass in the church. In 1833, Frederic Ozanam, a parishioner of St. Stephen, founded with friends the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. On 3 January 1857 Bishop Marie-Dominique-Auguste Sibour, was assassinated with cries of "Down with the goddesses!" by the priest Jean-Louis Verger, opposed to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. A plaque at the entrance to the nave marks the grave of the prelate, who was to inaugurate the novena of St. Genevieve. The occultist Eliphas Levi was indirectly involved in this tragic event.

On 23 August 1997 Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there during the visit to Paris on the occasion of World Youth Day.

Timeline

Features

Today the church is characterized by its curved axis of the nave to the transept, the rood screen (the sole surviving example in Paris) of finely carved stone by Father Biard (1545), his chair designed by Laurent de La Hyre and sculpted by Claude Lestocart and its organ case (1631) (the oldest in the capital). The church also contains the shrine containing the relics of St. Genevieve until 1793 (when they were thrown in the sewer), the tomb of Blaise de Vigenere, of Blaise Pascal, of Racine, and Mg Sibour.

Huysmans described it in the Connecting (1895) as one of the most beautiful churches in Paris.

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References

  1. "Historical account" Saint-Etienne-du-Mont
  2. Hildebrandt, Vincent. "The Organs of Paris".