Saint-Génitour church: a story about a hole and a chopped-off head

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The façade - © / CC-BY-NC-SA The façade - © / CC-BY-NC-SA
Saint-Génitour church Parish church Miracle Martyr Legend

Some bawdy saints

The church dates back to the end of the 11th century, raised by the abbey of Déols (Indre). Génitour is part of those “phallic saints” so popular in Berry, supposed to cure sterile women and gave energy to men.

Hey, yes, in the Berry area, we have lots of bawdy saints! St Phallier (in Châbris), saint Greluchon (in Gargilesse), saint Ludre (in Déols)...

Saint Génitour: damn, my head!

A mum and her sons

Génitour was Le Blanc’s patron saint. The legend (the “Good Saints” legend) said about this Sir that sainte Maure and her 9 sons came from Hungarian to Tours, in order to be baptism by saint Martin, after they renounced to their pagan faith.

Then they could quietly leave the place and get back home. But king of Goths, not really happy because of their conversion, send them a horde of riders in Le Blanc. They threatened them, they forced them to renounce to their new faith, but no way: they refused. Beware, the sentence will be terrible!

A hole in the door

Each brother was executed near the river, on the Upper Town. Génitour, one of them, was decapitated. But immediately, he took his head, ran across the river Creuse and went to the church where he found a close door. Never mind!

He knocked several times. A voice answered: “What? Who’s that?” It was the old church’s guardian, a blind man. Blind and stubborn! He didn’t want to let Génitour in. So, this one opened a hole in the door and said: “Look in the hole, old man, I’m Génitour.” The old man looked... and immediately regain the view!

So, in memory of this miracle, they opened a hole in the door, a hole where people used to put their fingers to cure eyes diseases... The Good Saints’ relics were kept in the church St-Etienne of le Blanc: remains of Messaire, Tridore and Principin...

A church with decapitated body’s plan?

On the door flanks by the hole, we can see little sculptures in the wood, kind of blazons flank by characters (one of them seem eating by a wolf).

The church’s plan seems a little misshapen, don’t you think? Lots of churches have their choir’s axis out of alignment with the nave. It seems bending to the left, a direction that echoes to Jesus’ bending head on the Cross. Yes, it may happen, like in the Romanesque church of Preuilly (Indre-et-Loire).

Here, the choir follows this direction, but, above all, it seems completely separated from the church! A plan that looks like a man’s lying body... a decapitate body! Maybe a reminder to saint Génitour’s martyr?

And also!