St. Genevieve of Paris
January 16 (January 3 old calendar).
In France 500 years after Christ's birth, there lived a shepherd girl with a blooming faith in her heart, the very same faith which budded in the hearts of the Judean shepherds who followed the star to the Lord's manger-bed.
Born into a wealthy family, the young Genevieve watched her family's flock as a matter of custom rather than need. Their home was in the lovely hill-country of Nanterre outside Paris. And in it Genevieve's soul was nourished with the Gospel message, the icons which illumined it, and the example of her parents peaceful and pious lives.
One day the holy Bishop Germanus came to Nanterre and the people flocked to him as to a living iconof Christ. As he blessed the crowd, his eye fell upon the child Genevieve; his heart recognized the flame of love for God in her and he knew God intended to crown it with Divine Grace and unshakable faith. He called her to him, kissed her head, and told her parents that many would come to Christ because of her. Then he asked her, quite seriously, if she wished to dedicate her whole life to Christ, as a bride. And just as seriously little Genevieve replied that he had spoken exactly the desire of her heart. They entered the church for Vespers together and the Bishop rested his hand on her head until the end of the service.
The next morning the holy Bishop presented her with a medallion engraved with a cross and asked her never to wear another ornament but the Ornament of God's Grace through the Holy Spirit. With that, he gave his blessing to the townspeople and left Nanterre.
At fifteen Genevieve was consecrated to the monastic life. When her parents died she went to live in a monastic community in Paris. The Evil One wasted no time in stirring up words against her, but the kindly Bishop Germanus treated her warmly in the sight of all and spoiled the Devil's plan to be rid of her quickly.
For the rest of her life the people of Paris wavered in their loyalty to her. One month they brought their sick to her for prayers and glorified God when their loved ones recovered. The next month the Wicked One sowed little seeds of evil in their ears and thoughts and they wanted to stone her. To his dying day her friend the Bishop stuck by her and even from his deathbed sent a message where- by she found favor with the people once again. As a reward for their repentance and because of Genevieve's heartfelt prayers and fastings with her sisters, God turned away an invading army and spared the city of Paris.
In her later life the Saint showed great compassion and steadfastness as Bishop Germanus had foretold. Once a pagan king, de siring to kill some prisoners, tried to do it before Genevieve could hear about it. He knew that if she begged for their lives he could not resist her pleas. But God told her about it and she rushed to the execution just in time to have the prisoners spared. People saw from this example that the prayers of this Saint must be very powerful before the king of Mercies is even a pagan king could not resist them.
One night in a violent rainstorm, the only lantern of Genevieve and her sisters blew out in the pitch dark of the muddy woods. Our Saint signed the lamp with the Cross of the Lord and a bright flame crowned the candle lighting their way to early morning Liturgy.
St. Genevieve reposed at a great age and her relics rest in the Church of St. Stephen in Paris, France.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
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