Eglise de Saint Etienne Du Mont

Paris, France

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Enrique Lopez-Tamayo Biosca 1

The church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont originated in the abbey of Sainte-Genevieve, where the saint had been buried in the 6th century. Devoted to the Virgin Mary, then to St. John the Apostle, the place was too small to accommodate all the faithful.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Mike Schaffner 2

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 monks Génovéfains donated a portion of their land for the construction of the new church.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Drew McCarty 3

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 father of the author of Tales, 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.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Barbara Dalmazzo-Tempel 4

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de
Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Jerry Roop 5

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de
Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Jerry Roop 6

During the French Revolution, the church was first closed and then turned into a "Temple of Filial Piety." Catholic worship was restored in 1801 ...

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Nativity scene at Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Kay Harpa 7

The 19th century was marked by many events. On January 10, 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.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Saints at Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Thanh My & Yves-Noël-Marie Gonnet-Nguten 8

On January 3, 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.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Barbara Smith 9

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Barbara Smith 10

On August 23, 1997, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there during the visit to Paris on the occasion of World Youth Day. 1

Saint Genevieve

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Saint Genevieve's shrine at Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Thierry Reboton 11

St. Genevieve was born about the year 422, at Nanterre near Paris. She was seven years old when St. Germain of Auxerre came to her native village on his way to great Britain to combat the heresy of Pelagius. The child stood in the midst of a crowd gathered around the man of God, who singled her out and foretold her future sanctity. At her desire the holy Bishop led her to a church, accompanied by all the faithful, and consecrated her to God as a virgin.

When Attila was reported to be marching on Paris, the inhabitants of the city prepared to evacuate, but St. Genevieve persuaded them to avert the scourge by fasting and prayer, assuring them of the protection of Heaven. The event verified the prediction, for the barbarian suddenly changed the course of his march.

The life of St. Genevieve was one of great austerity, constant prayer, and works of charity. She died in the year 512. Her feast day is January 3rd.

She dressed in a long flowing gown with a mantle covering her shoulders, similar to the type of garments the Blessed Mother wore. One of the symbols of this saint is a loaf of bread because she was so generous to those in need. 2

Architectural Summary

Architect:

Date:
 

Style:

Stephen Viguier

Original:1222, Current:1537

Gothic

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Gabriel Nouar 12

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.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Jerry Roop 13

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.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Enrique Lopez-Tamayo Biosca 14

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

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Enrique Lopez-Tamayo Biosca 15

The church was dedicated on February 25, 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.

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Jerry Roop 16

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Tim Davis 17

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont
Photograph by Philip Rickerby 18

St. Etienne-Theodore Cuenot

Eglise de Saint Etienne du mont

Saint Etienne
Photograph by Thanh My & Yves-Noël-Marie Gonnet-Nguten 19

The family of Etienne-Theodore Cuenot, of Beaulieu, France, was so poor that when Etienne decided in his teenage years to begin seminary studies, his mother could only obtain the fabric needed to make him a fitting suit of clothes by cutting up her wedding gown. Etienne saw his mother weeping as she prepared to sacrifice this cherished memento of her wedding day for his sake. When years later Etienne was ordained a priest, he showed his gratitude by giving his mother a new dress. Father Cuenot subsequently entered the Paris Society for Foreign Missions, and set out for the Far East in January of 1828. After arriving at Macao, he continued on to Vietnam to begin his missionary labors there. In 1835, Father Cuenot was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Vietnamese missions. Over the twenty-six years of his episcopate, he ordained fifty-six native priests and procured Vietnamese translations of The Imitation of Christ and portions of the Bible. In 1861 Bishop Cuenot was captured by troops of the pagan emperor Tu-Duc. But before he could be executed, he died in prison. 3 .

References

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