The Holy and the Headless

Hey, how about a weird martyrdom story on this Sunday afternoon? I take you now through the magic of text to Paris in the middle of the third century. St. Denis, now revered as the patron saint of the city, was the bishop there, and he managed to make an enemy of the pagan priests. They decided to have him executed on Montmarte, the highest hill in the area. When I learned about the martyrdom of Denis in history class, my professor said that they beheaded him before reaching the summit because they found him annoying. The Wikipedia page doesn’t mention this, but what’s really important is what follows. According to legend, after being beheaded he continued to walk, carrying his own head and preaching a sermon, until he finally reached the top of Montmarte and died for real.

Denis is not the only saint who is said to have kept on talking after losing his head. There’s even a term for saints who are depicted carrying their own heads, cephalophores. Variations on the talking head martyrdom story appear to be pretty similar, with the basic idea being that someone was beheaded before they could finish what they were doing, so they just kept on until they were done. I suppose the loss of a head is a small matter when you’re doing God’s work.

St. Aphrodisius of Alexandria, who is said to have walked to a cathedral carrying his own head.

While searching for information on Denis, whose name I couldn’t remember, I also came across some information on St. Edmund, an East Anglian king who was killed by Vikings. After sticking a bunch of arrows in his body, they cut off his head, which rolled into the bushes. It called out to the Vikings, and they put it back on his neck, where it reconnected itself.

This entry was posted in Catholicism, Christianity, France, History, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Holy and the Headless

  1. dzul says:

    THAT WAS DRUNKARDS WHO COMITTED SUICIDE YOU KNOW “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    YOU WANNA PROOF
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    CUT YOUR DOG’S HEAD WITH VERY SHARPEST KNIFE
    “””””””””””””””””””””
    YOU STILL HEAR DOG’S HEAD BARKING & IT’S BODY MOVEMENTS
    ::::::::::::::::::: IT ISN’T DEATH INSTANTLY RIGHT “”””””””””””””””””””
    SO DON’T YOU EVER TRY IT TO YOURSELF :O:K:

  2. vilajunkie says:

    Any connection to “The Strange Adventures of the King’s Head” in the Mo stories? :)

  3. Pingback: They Haven’t Yet Built the Man That’ll Keep Old Johnny Down | VoVatia

  4. Pingback: Oh Yeah, No Head | VoVatia

  5. Pingback: The Way You Swing Your Head While Strolling Fancy Free | VoVatia

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