Venerable Genevieve of Paris

Commemorated January 3/16

Saint Genevieve was born of wealthy parents in Gaul (modern France) in the village of Nanterre, near Paris, around 422. Her father’s name was Severus, and her mother was called Gerontia. According to the custom of the time, she often tended her father’s flocks on Mt. Valerien.

When she was about seven years old, St Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) noticed her as he was passing through Nanterre. The bishop kissed her on the head and told her parents that she would become great in the sight of God, and would lead many to salvation. After Genevieve told him that she wished to dedicate herself to Christ, he gave her a brass medal with the image of the Cross upon it. She promised to wear it around her neck, and to avoid wearing any other ornaments around her neck or on her fingers.

When it was reported that Attila the Hun was approaching Paris, Genevieve and the other nuns prayed and fasted, entreating God to spare the city. Suddenly, the barbarians turned away from Paris and went off in another direction.

Years later, when she was fifteen, Genevieve was taken to Paris to enter the monastic life. Through fasting, vigil and prayer, she progressed in monasticism, and received from God the gifts of clairvoyance and of working miracles. Gradually, the people of Paris and the surrounding area regarded Genevieve as a holy vessel (2 Tim. 2:21).

St Genevieve considered the Saturday night Vigil service to be very important, since it symbolizes how our whole life should be. “We must keep vigil in prayer and fasting so that the Lord will find us ready when He comes,” she said. She was on her way to church with her nuns one stormy Saturday night when the wind blew out her lantern. The nuns could not find their way without a light, since it was dark and stormy, and the road was rough and muddy. St Genevieve made the Sign of the Cross over the lantern, and the candle within was lit with a bright flame. In this manner they were able to make their way to the church for the service.

There is a tradition that the church which St Genevieve suggested that King Clovis build in honor of Sts Peter and Paul became her own resting place when she fell asleep in the Lord around 512 at the age of eighty-nine. Her holy relics were later transferred to the church of St Etienne du Mont in Paris. Most of her relics, and those of other saints, were destroyed during the French Revolution.

In the Middle Ages, St Genevieve was regarded as the patron saint of wine makers.

This article originally appeared on the website of the Orthodox Church of America and is used here with permission.


See also
St. Irenaeus of Lyons St. Irenaeus of Lyons
Commemorated August 23/September 5
St. Irenaeus of Lyons St. Irenaeus of Lyons
Commemorated August 23/September 5
When dealing with the heresies Irenaeus not only exposed and overthrew their teaching but also sought the orthodox interpretation and teaching as well. In spite of Irenaeus' interest in guarding his flock from the many heresies, his main preoccupation was the individual and his salvation. He was concerned with humankind's progress in order that he may achieve "the vision and enjoyment of God."
The Church of the Gauls. Part 2 The Church of the Gauls. Part 2
Monk Nicodemos
The Church of the Gauls. Part 2 The Church of the Gauls. Part 2
Monk Nicodemus (Jones)
Just as monasticism was beginning to put down its roots in Gaul, an event occurred that shook the minds and hearts of the entire Graeco-Roman world: after several centuries of violent conflicts and bloody skirmishes, the Germanic tribes of the north finally sacked the city of Rome. This marked the beginning of a new period in the history of the West, both ecclesiastically and politically, in the challenges it brought to the growing Orthodox Church.
The Church of the Gauls. Part 1 The Church of the Gauls. Part 1
Monk Nicodemus (Jones)
The Church of the Gauls. Part 1 The Church of the Gauls. Part 1
Monk Nicodemus (Jones)
The Gallic Church had its beginnings in the first century. Western tradition holds that Gaul (France) was initially evangelized and baptized by St. Mary Magdalene, St. Lazarus the Four-DaysDead, and his sisters Sts.Mary andMartha. On the basis of St. Paul’s second Epistle to Timothy, several historians have thought that the Apostle Crescens, an envoy of St. Paul, labored in Gaul. Some also think that St. Paul stopped in Gaul on his way to Spain. In any event, Christianity penetrated into southern Gaul at an early date, specifically into Provence and the Rhone Valley — areas that had a strong presence of Greek minorities hailing from Asia Minor, Phrygia and Syria.
Rdr Andreas Moran1/16/2020 5:00 pm
Mary, the usual and acceptable reason is that some hair may be shown in icons of female saints who were not monastics, such as St Nino of Georgia and St Xenia of St Petersburg, though we may note that icons of St Matrona of Moscow, who was not a monastic, do not show her hair. The icon of St Genevieve of Paris by Gregory Krug probably has to be thought of as an anomaly: the further article about St Genevieve has an icon not showing her hair.
Mary1/19/2017 2:39 am
Why do some women saints have their hair completely covered and others don't?
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required