Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 8, 2007
Eglise Saint-Denis survived British fire
Parish patron St. Denis is portrayed carrying his head in his hands
St. Denis – October 9
By TED FITZGERALD
- WCR photo by Ted Fitzgerald
A painting capturing the martyrdom of St. Denis hangs behind the 1805 ornate church reredos.
The Christian Community of Saint-Denis and his Companions, martyrs is now part of an expanded parish in the Saint-Hyacinthe Diocese that includes Saint-Charles-Borom‚e in the east river bank south of Saint-Denis.
As with many area vintage churches, the interior of Saint-Denis is spacious. Highly decorated and illuminated by a prized crystal chandelier. Most impressive are the main altar from the original church and the 1805 sculpted white and gold reredos.
Denis was the leader of a group of bishops sent by Rome in the third century to evangelize parts of Gaul.
In church art, the parish patron is traditionally portrayed carrying his head in his hands but here, the sainted bishop is shown in a very dark oil painting at the moment of his martyrdom by decapitation at the hands of a villainous-looking axe-wielding executioner.
Denis was the leader of a group of bishops sent by Rome in the third century to evangelize parts of Gaul. This first bishop of Paris with two companions, was martyred on the Parisian hill later to be known as Montmartre. He is said to have carried his head north to the present site of the basilica and city suburb named for him where he was buried.
After a prayer to the good saint, visitors might opt to cross the street to relax beside a large statue of the Sacred Heart in a water's edge park.
There, they can examine an information board that provides a comprehensive history Au Couer de la Paroisse of Saint-Denis before following a brochure available at the Maison Nationale des Patriots that describes the Pedestrian Circuit to view historic houses, buildings and moments before snacking at one of the town's small, quiet eating places.
Farther afield, the Richelieu Valley above Saint-Denis is a treasure trove of history, with church-centred villages alternating on both banks of the river.
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