1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Geneviève, St
GENEVIÈVE or Genovefa, ST (c. 422-512), patroness of Paris, lived during the latter half of the 5th century. According to tradition, she was born about 422 at Nanterre near Paris; her parents were called Severus and Gerontia, but accounts differ widely as to their social position. According to the legend, she was only in her seventh year when she was induced by St Germain, bishop of Auxerre, to dedicate herself to the religious life. On the death of her parents she removed to Paris, where she distinguished herself by her benevolence, as well as by her austere life. She is said to have predicted the invasion of the Huns; and when Attila with his army was threatening the city, she persuaded the inhabitants to remain on the island and encouraged them by an assurance, justified by subsequent events, that the attack would come to nothing (451). She is also said to have had great influence over Childeric, father of Clovis, and in 460 to have caused a church to be built over the tomb of St Denis. Her death occurred about 512 and she was buried in the church of the Holy Apostles, popularly known as the church of St Geneviève. In 1793 the body was taken from the new church, built in her honour by Louis XV., when it became the Panthéon, and burnt on the Place de Grève; but the relics were enshrined in a chapel of the neighbouring church of St Étienne du Mont, where they still attract pilgrims; her festival is celebrated with great pomp on the 3rd of January. The frescoes of the Pantheon by Puvis de Chavannes are based upon the legend of the saint.