Saint Denis, not just another cemetery.

Just as the other sites we have studied placed heavy importance on the notion of the afterlife and their burial traditions, Saint Denis does the same, having had it’s origin as one of the earliest necropolis. Saint Denis becomes a site of more importance though, because here many of the sarcophagi that were revealed had writings or some sort of inscription that gives us insight on the individuals that were buried. Hunus the monk, for example, had two engravings on his tomb, the first of which described him, and the second that said the “young monk was of noble origin”. This gives us insight on his social status within the church, as well as the notion that this was important enough to note in his tomb. The importance of keeping a ranking within the church had already been established and we can see the further development of a social hierarchy or system.


The division of wealth that was caused by the church sometimes baffles me because today it is churches and religious organizations that are supposed to bring people together such as Saint Denis did, but I see the opposite happening. Although one of the most important things to strive for in Christianity is humbleness, it is ironic to see the materialistic ways this has transformed into today. In those times, the religious officials in power, such as Hunus the Monk or Abbot Suger, were making decisions that would benefit all of Saint Denis. They were able to establish a community that was sought after and traveled to from far away. Their community brought people of many different places together for multiple reasons. The town had establishments for various types of trades such as bakers, leather workers, potters and shoemakers, to name a few, but it was with the guidance of the abbots and monks that helped pave the way. Today we see people with religious power (although I’d rather call it influence, because I don’t think we should see it as a power source) in many situations but their actions are completely different than those of an abbot or a monk of those times. Which leaves me to wonder how ‘God’ could put such people in power.


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