Sunday, October 23, 2011

Church of Saint Julien Le Pauvre

The small Church of Saint Julien the Pauvre, Saint Julien the Poor, borders Square Rene Viviani to the south. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of churches in Paris. It was built between 1170 and 1240 on the ruins of the 6th century church of St. Julien the Martyr, one of three saints named “Julien” who are the patrons of the church This church of St. Julien the Martyr was destroyed by the Normans in 886.The legend of St. Julien le Pauvre has it that St. Julien mistakenly killed his parents. To atone for this sin, Julien built a hospice near a river where he and his wife cared for the sick, freely lodged poor travelers and ferried them across the river. One of these travelers happened to be Jesus disguised as a leper and forgiveness for Julien's sin was granted. This St. Julien is a patron saint of travelers and ferrymen.

The church of St. Julien le Pauvre was almost converted into a museum. However, in 1899, the church was re-consecrated and given to the Melkites, or Byzantine rite Catholics of Middle Eastern origin, who are the descendants of the early Christians of Antioch (Syria).

The fa├žade of Saint Julien Le Pauvre facing the street of the same name

The church was built, rebuilt and repurposed throughout the ages. Some of the early original building blocks have been retained.

An inscription above a side door to the church

 An inscription over the front door outlining the building’s history

The altar of Saint Julien le Pauvre

A closer view of the altar

The vaulted ceiling above the altar

Underneath the window, just before you reach the entrance to the small chapel in the apse, stands a wooden statue of the Virgin and Child. The statue dates from the 17th century.

The present name for the chapel is the Chapel of St. Joseph, and the large framed icon depicts St. Joseph holding the Christ Child on his shoulder.

Signs for concerts to be presented at the church

Street sign across from the church

Wider view of the small street and neighborhood where the church is located

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