St. Genevieve of Paris


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Commemorated on January 3

Geneviève of Paris was a nun originally from Nanterre who lived in France in the fifth century. She is considered the patron saint of the city of Paris, together with St. Denis.

One day, while traveling to England to combat the ongoing heresy against Christ, Bishop St. Germain passed by the town where Genevieve lived. Seeing the eight-year old girl, he laid his hands on her head, and asked if she wanted to give herself to the Lord. Genevieve said “Yes!” Her mother opposed her decision, which angered Genevieve tremendously. Genevieve’s mother was struck blind until she was forgiven by her daughter.

St. Geneviève is associated with many miraculous events. When Attila the Hun approached, she upbraided the cowardly men who wanted to leave town. They remained in Paris, and Attila’s barbarians turned away. St. Symeon the Stylite wrote her a letter after seeing her in a vision. St. Geneviève also worked exorcisms using holy oil blessed by the bishop.

When old, she ate only bread with milk, and only on Sundays and Thursdays. The milk was added by insistence of the bishops.

At her death, she was buried in a tomb across from the Pantheon in Paris. Most of her relics were dumped into the Seine by the radical atheists of the French Revolution, but others were collected from churches around France to which they had already been distributed.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)