Notre-Dame cathedral in Senlis: Rieul's stump, the victorious Virgin

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The cathedral - © / CC-BY-NC-SA The cathedral - © / CC-BY-NC-SA
Notre-Dame cathedral in Senlis Cathedral Miracle

The cathedral

The smallest Gothic cathedral in France! In the beginning, the current cathedral was a simple oratory belonging to saint Rieul. Then, several buildings succeeded one another. The current cathedral’s building site began in 1153.

But the thunder hit the church, who entirely burnt in 1504. So they re-raised it. By the way, did you see this impressive right bell-tower, flanks by its spire (78 metres high)? It dates back to the 13th century: at that time, this kind of construction was a real technical exploit!

Except the spire, the cathedral houses treasures, inside: a chapel (next to the Southern entrance) with a nice vault and 16th century stained-glass windows (the oldest one) and a pretty Virgin Mary (14th c.).

Saint Rieul

Rieul was the first bishop of Senlis, in the 3th century. First he was bishop of Arles: a legend says that one day, during a Mass, he saw 3 gory doves entering in the church, with blood names written on their wings. The names of Eleuthère, Rustique and Denis…

3 martyrs who were tortured and executed in Paris! It was a sign: Rieul had to go to Paris, to replace Denis in his bishopric! The saint left Arles and go towards Paris. He stayed here 2 years. And then, he went in Senlis.

Did you know that Rieul is often represented with cervid? Because after his death, stags and deers came in the cathedral, where he was buried. They stayed here for hours, then left without a noise...
A painting from 1645 made by Frédeau, in the cathedral, represents the ″tooth’s miracle″.

We can see king Clovis in Senlis, praying on Rieul’s grave. The bishop Liévain exhumed his body, and Clovis asked a relic. They gave him… a tooth! What about that miracle? It happened when the blood flew, when they took it in the saint’s mouth!

Virgin of Victory

In a small chapel, we find Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire (″Our-Lady-of-Victory″). It was the name of a former abbey, located not far from Senlis, founded in 1222 by king of France Philippe Augustus, in memory of the battle of Bouvines (July 1214).

Philippe made a vow: to raise a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary if he won the battle. So Philippe raised a church but also an abbey, managed by monks of Saint-Victor of Paris. The abbey became a place of pilgrimage, proof of that is that small Virgin statue...

And also!