About Saint-Étienne de Meaux Cathedral:
Construction began in 1175, and was in use until it was fully completed in 1540 with the completion of the bell tower. It has some beautiful stained glass windows, particularly the one of the Crucifixion (14th century) and the large Rose window (15th century).
The Cathedral also has a magnificent organ, work by Valéran de Héman (17th century).
But perhaps its most interesting point is that it contains the tomb of Saint Fiacre.
About Saint Fiacre:
Born around 600 in Connacht, Ireland, Fiacre was raised in a monastery where he later became a monk and gained knowledge of herbal medicine. He was later ordained a priest and time had his own hermitage, although the exact location is unclear. Crowds flocked to him seeking cures, but he sought solitude by traveling to France.
He arrived in Meaux in 628 AD and the bishop of Meaux offered him use of all the land he could till in one day. He miraculously used his staff to turn over acres of land and went on to build a small hermitage with an oratory in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as a vegetable and herb garden. From this he helped feed the poor. He built a hospice to care for travelers and his fame for helping to cure others, particularly Hemorroid sufferers, brought him many visitors, so needless to say, he did not achieve the solitude that he had hoped for. In addition to tending his garden
Hemorrhoids had been called “Saint Fiacre’s illness” in the Middle Ages and he may possibly have suffered from them himself. The story goes that one day he sat sorrowfully on a stone and that stone softened giving him relief.
He died on August 18, 670 AD, and his body was interred in the local church of the site of his hermitage complex. The site of his hermitage was later named Saint-Fiacre and is presently in the Department of Seine-et-Marne, France. His relics were originally preserved here, but in 1568 they were moved to their present location here in the Cathedral in Meaux because of concern that local Calvinists there might attempt to destroy them.
Among those to visit his shrine were , Saint John of Matha (founder of The Order of the Most Holy Trinity), King Louis XIII of France, Anne of Austria, and Saint Vincent de Paul.
Saint Fiacre is patron saint of gardeners, as well as hemorrhoid sufferers. And, in Paris, he is also patron saint of cab drivers. This is because the first cab ever to be hired was on the Rue Saint-Martin near the Hotel Saint Fiacre.
We celebrate his Feast Day on August 11 or September 1…..it is not quite clear which.
You can find a great selection of Saint Fiacre statues here.
There is no official website for the Cathedral, but click here for the official website of the town of Meaux (in French).
Traveling to Meaux:
You can reach Meaux by train from Paris Gare de L’Est station….the trip is about 40 minutes. It makes a great day trip or even just half a day. There is also regular bus service from Paris, including from Charles de Gaulle Airport, so if you have a long layover you can still visit and get back in time to catch your flight.
There is train service, but it is a commuter line, so you won’t find it on most rail booking sites.
Address: Place Saint-Pierre, 77100 Meaux, France
Tel: +33 1 64 33 52 35
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