Origny-en-Thiérache
Église Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte

What you need to know about this church

Église Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte Origny-en-Thiérache

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte is located in Origny-en-Thiérache, a commune with 1.432 inhabitants in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

A key is available at the Mairie at certain times

This church was listed as a historical monument in 1927

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Origny-en-Thiérache Église Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte
Church front
Tower from the north

Visiting Église Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte

What does the church of Saint-Cyr and Sainte-Julitte in Origny-en-Thiérache have to do with the Vietnamese city of Saigon? We will see later.

In any case, it is named after two Christian martyrs, Son and Mother, from the fourth century. A rather unusual name for a church, although the church we see today is also rather unusual.

Not much remains today of the original church built in the village. Only the stone façade wall of the keep and its beautiful 12th or 13th century door, as well as two large 16th century brick towers on either side of the door, remain. Several embrasures pierce their walls. In the left tower is a spiral staircase leading to the top of the keep. A date (1606) indicates that the fortification took place at a time when France was going through a period of martial calm under Henry IV.

In the following centuries, the church became so dilapidated that partial reconstruction became necessary. This was done at the end of the 19th century under the direction of the architect Pierre Bénard, to whom we owe the present choir, nave and transept.

And now to Saigon: after a partial destruction of the church during the First World War, it was renewed again after 1921, and was also to receive a new bell tower. And this was financed by the Diocesan Council in Saigon.

Why Saigon, you will rightly ask? This curious connection goes back to a son of the place, namely Pierre Pigneau de Behaine, whose extensive work in Vietnam from 1765 until his death in 1799 (among other things as a missionary, diplomat and advisor to the Vietnamese King Nguyễn Phúc Ánh) was honoured with this donation.
Therefore, this bell tower was built as a copy of one of the towers of Saigon’s Notre-Dame Cathedral. By the way, old views of the church still without the pagoda tower can be found here on the parish website.

When we visited on a Sunday, the church was locked, otherwise a key is available at the mairie (for opening hours see tourism page above).

View from south-east
Church from the village football ground