Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Sainte Dévote Church

The original chapel, dating from before 1070, the date first mentioned in the archives, backing onto the wall of the Vallon des Gaumates and facing east, occupied the space where the Chapel of Relics now stands. It was restored and without doubt, extended in the 16th century.

 Picture : Sainte Dévote Church

Saint Dévote Church

Prince Honoré II added a span in 1606 and a porch in 1637 (now the gallery). In 1870, the facade was refurbished, then extended in 1891 in a composite, “18th century Neo-Greek” style. The 15 metre tall bell tower dates from 1870.

The front steps, marked with the initials S and D, topped with a crown and flanked by decorative motifs in white and black pebbles were created by the Del Torchio brothers in 1880.

Charles Lenormand, architect of the Cathedral and the Saint-Charles Church was responsible for the extension works which added an additional span, a false transept and a chancel apse. The works took place between 1885 and 1891. The chapel became the parish church in 1887.

The stained glass windows were produced by Maison Nicolas Lorin, of Chartres. Some were salvaged from the former Saint-Charles College, previously established on the Rock by Monseigneur Theuret, first bishop of Monaco and installed here. These stained glass windows, blasted during Monaco’s bombardments in August 1944, have been restored or refurbished, such as the stained glass window of Saint Dévote completed by Maison Fassi Cadet, of Nice, in 1948.

Saint Dévote and Monaco

The “Legend of Saint Dévote” is one of the Principality of Monaco’s oldest traditions - it has influenced national culture in fields as diverse as religion, folklore and popular beliefs, history, literature, the arts, painting, music, coins and stamps. This legend, passed on through a medieval document, holds a special place in the heart of Monaco's people and over the centuries has been awarded a permanent place in the city's history.

This legend, the Passion of Saint Dévote or Passio Devotae in Latin, became known through several official copies made in the 17th and 18th centuries from the original documents which had disappeared. A version of these copies was printed for the first time in 1613 in Lyon. During the same period, many Italian, Corsican and French authors published works inspired by it.

The oldest version of this legend known to date predates the earlier copies by five centuries and was discovered by Claude Passet in the well-stocked collection of manuscripts at the National Library in Paris, in the form of four pages bound in a Latin manuscript and dated as late 11th or early 12th century through the writing and content. This parchment manuscript comes from an old abbey in south western France. It could have belonged to Cardinal Mazarin before passing to the Royal Library (later the National Library) on his death.

The Legend

According to this passion, Devota - Dévote -, a young Christian woman from Corsica, would have been martyred by the prefect Barbarus, under the Emperors Diocletian and Maximien in around 303 or 304. Her body, taken by night by the faithful, was placed on a small boat bound for Africa.

However, a headwind drove the boat towards Monaco and the Saint's body was interred in a chapel in “Vallon des Gaumates”, now part of Monaco, near the port on 27th January in the same year.

Prince’s Palace of Monaco