August 22, 2014

1200 FRANCE (Normandy) - The Church and the Statue of Saint Joan of Arc in Rouen

Historic capital city of Normandy, one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, and one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries, Rouen has also an unfortunate fame, because there was burned at the stake Joan of Arc, The Maid of Orléans, one of the iconic figures of France and a Roman Catholic saint. Born to a peasant family at Domrémy (in north-east France), Joan said she received divine visions instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims. On 23 May 1430, she was captured by the English-Burgundian faction, being later handed over to the English, and then put on trial, declared guilty, and burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about 19 years of age.

Since 1979, in the center of the ancient market square in Rouen (Place du Vieux-Marché), in the location where Joan of Arc was burned alive, is the Church of Saint Joan of Arc, a large, modern structure designed by the architect Louis Arretche, which has the shape of an upturned viking boat or of a fish. The stained glass windows come from the 16th century Church of Saint Vincent, almost completely destroyed in 1944 during WWII. Fortunately the windows had been removed and stored in a safe location during the war. A large cross outside the church marks the exact spot where was burned Joan, and nearby, in a niche outside the west end of the church, is a statue of the saint, made by Maxime Real del Sarte in 1928. The saint is shown wearing long flowing robes. She has her hands clasped in front of her as she looks to up to the heavens with her head tilted towards her left shoulder. She is standing in front of a 2' wide by 1' deep decorated marble slab that represents the stake at which she was burned.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the definitive series issued on  July 16, 2014, about which I wrote here.

Church of St Joan of Arc - Wikipedia
The Modernist Church of St. Joan of Arc in Rouen - Daydream Tourist
Saint Joan of Arc - Rouen, France - Way Marking

Sender: Wilma van Vegten (direct swap)
Sent from Rouen (Upper Normandy / France), on 18.08.2014 

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