28.1.11

Saint Thomas d'Acquin Church

I never really noticed this church before, but on the way home after lunch the other day I had some time to spare, so I thought I would have a look. This is another of the some 130 catholic churches in Paris, the Saint Thomas d’Acquin Church. (When I came home I found out that Saint Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century Sicilian Dominican Doctor of Theology, working in Rome, Paris… His fame as a scholar made him the Patron Saint of Universities and Students.)

The church is a bit hidden and I believe not much visited by “tourists”, but I was struck by the beauty of its interior… however, first some history.

Originally, in 1632, a Dominican chapel was built here. The present church dates from 1683 under the name of Saint Dominique, connected to a Jacobin (Dominican) monastery. The origin of the name “Jacobins” for these Dominicans was that their original and major convent was established at rue Saint Jacques (James, Jacob…).

Just after the 1789 Revolution, the church was renamed Saint Thomas d’Acquin, but the church and the monastery were soon emptied in line with the Revolutionary ideas.

The “Jacobins” was also the (nick-)name of one of the leading movements during the Revolutionary years (Robespeierre…) and they were so called due to the fact that they used the (empty) premises of the Dominican Jacobins for their meetings, mostly at rue Saint Jacques, but also here.

The concordat between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII in 1801, allowed the church to be reopened for religious services, but the monastery buildings have since been occupied by the Army. Napoleon and Josephine came here as Godparents for a baptism in 1802.

Pope Pius VII held a mass in this church December 26, 1804. The Pope had come to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon as emperor some three weeks earlier (December 2). (You should read the story of Pius VII, it’s fascinating.) On the famous painting by David (at the Louvre, copy at Versailles), we can see Pius VII.
What the Pope could not admire then was a large part of the beautiful wall and ceiling (especially the “Transfiguration”) decorations, mostly added during the 19th century, nor the stained glass windows, from 1902.

The organ (1777) is by F-H Clicquot, member of the family which made most of the famous French organs (nothing to do with “Veuve Clicquot”).



33 comments:

Flartus said...

Such beautiful photos! Indeed, the outside gives little hint of what lies within. Great sleuthing, once again.

Ninja said...

Your pictures are always amazing,it's makes me happy!!!

V Rakesh said...

Marvelous pictures, every single one of them! Thank you for sharing!

Studio at the Farm said...

What a beautiful church! And once again, full of fascinating facts. Thank you,Peter.

Olivier said...

Magnifique, je ne connaissais pas cette eglise, mais elle est tres belle

Kate M said...

Боже мой, как красиво!
Когда мне выпадет возможность побывать в Париже, я обязательно посещу эту церковь!

Parisian Heart said...

'Fabulous photos, Peter! I adore churches in Paris, but this is one I never visited. Ah, to have the opportunity to remedy that! I really appreciate your including history notes along with the stunning photos as well.

ALAIN said...

Une petite église chic, dans un quartier chic. Je ne la connaissais pas.

claude said...

Tu as bien fait d'y ^^etre entré, elle est magnifique cette Eglise.
Beaucoup plus dedans que dehors.
Merci pour le cours d'histoire. C'est toujours passionnant de venir chez toi.
Bonne journée !

Ola said...

amazing!

Adam said...

Certainly a lot of curious mixtures in this church. Neoclassical from the outside and completely baroque inside. For some reason it reminds me of a set of extravagant china porcelain!

Mystica said...

Thanks for the beautiful photos. We have an Aquinas Institute of Studies in Colombo (run by the Church here).

Bagman and Butler said...

Wow. Beautiful.

Louise said...

Another beautiful gem of Paris that I would never have seen. Thanks so much Peter.

Cezar and Léia said...

This Church is very special and beautiful!
I'm also enchanted by that image , sculpture of Our Lady with her son, in your collage, it's adorable!
Thanks a lot!
Léia

Jean(ne) in MN said...

I've learned so much since I found you via Virginia. Thank you for another interesting chapter and beautiful photos.

Simony said...

Lovely church! The ceilings were amazing with their frescoes and cupolas.

Starman said...

There is a Jacobin church in Toulouse (among other places). Last time we were there, a jazz festival was scheduled to take place, starting on....the day after we left.

Trotter said...

Most of the times I would take the Rue des Saint-Pères to get to Saint-Germain; but sometimes, coming from the Pont du Carrousel, I would take Rue du Bac to go the Gallimard and to «Les Ministères» for a steak tartare... Sometimes I got lost and ended up at Rue du Beaune and at your church today... The only way to get there... ;))

Thérèse said...

Difficile de deviner la beauté de l'intérieur en regardant l'église de l'extérieur!

Ash said...

Beautiful photos, as always!

wockley said...

Fantastic photos Peter. The art takes my breath away & makes me hungry for Paris! Yet another location I will have to vist in May 2011

Jack said...

Peter, I am mad at myself. Years ago we stayed at a small hotel called Thomas d'Acquin just off the Blvd St Germain and we walked past this church several times a day. It seemed pretty plain and it never occurred to us to walk inside. Look what we missed!!!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I'm glad you've noticed this Church and shared it with us. What magnificent details it has.

Rhi said...

As always, your photos are truly magnificent. Wish I had that eye for detail. If I make it back to Paris I will be making a list of things to see off of your blog. (And hopefully I'll be there more than a day!) Hope all is well. The weather has finally warmed up here and it's truly nice to be able to walk outside without dealing with inches of snow. Take care!

Anai Le said...

"Etsi longissimo terrarum"
(Pius VII)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

You have done it again Peter :-) a great post and beautiful photos .. Thank you , need to see it myself next time I am there .. :-) Take care.

Virginia said...

Just when I think i"ve seen ALL the churches in Paris, you find another b eautiful one to share. Your photos are so nice. Mine of course were blurry half the time.
V

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Peter, Marie and I stayed so close to this church last June and we did either did not see it or did not notice... shame on us. Your photos and research will ensure that it is on my list for the next trip!

Bises,
G

DawnBreak said...

amazing...

Cinthia said...

Great shots...

sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Peter,
Saint Thomas d’Acquin Church is really beautiful!
I can see that Paris is always a "surprise" even for the people that lives there.
Your posts is always full of wonderful photos and precious information about Paris. I feel that I "know" Paris through your eyes. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for your nice comment on my place. Have a nice Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Is the the Dominican church in Paris that houses the relics of St. Hyacinth?