A festive Divine Liturgy was celebrated Wednesday at the crypt under the St Suplice Church in Paris to commemorate Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris.
St Genevieve is also the protectress of the Romanian Orthodox Parish founded in the capital in 1998 with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Iosif of Western and Southern Europe.
Parish Priest Rev. Răzvan Ionescu reported that the Romanian Orthodox community will mark its patronal feast on Sunday, Jan. 7, but the commemoration of St Genevieve could not have passed unobserved. ‘She is an extremely protective Saint, because she invested her entire life in forgetting herself to serve others,’ Rector Răzvan Ionescu said referring to St Genevieve who was tonsured a nun at the age of 15.
Fr. Răzvan pointed to the love for St Genevieve noting that the believers usually visit and venerate the Saint’s relics placed at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church.
‘We feel her protection’, the parish priest said adding that ‘together with St Paraskeva, she is a bridge of sanctity connecting the Romanian people and the French people. Although they come from different places, holiness is what connects the two venerable Saints.’
Rev. Răzvan Ionescu cautioned about the ‘aggressiveness of those who do not seek nor understand God’, recalling that in 1793 the Saint’s holy relics were burnt almost entirely and thrown in the Sena River by French revolutionaries, while the church was closed and then turned into a secular mausoleum, also known as the French Panthéon.
‘We feel the Saint’s obvious presence in our community. I refer to her presence in our lives, the life of every believer entreating her in prayer,’ Parish Priest Razvan Ionescu said.
Photography courtesy of Fr. Răzvan Ionescu