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Saint Polycarpe Church


Saint Polycarp, (68 after JC), was a disciple of John the evangelist who made him bishop of Smyrna (today Izmir). At the time of the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius, he stood up to the proconsul and will be killed in 155, in Smyrna.

Saint Irénée recognized him as this one from who he received the Johannes tradition.

Saint Irénée replaced Saint Pothin, first bishop of Lyon, after his martyr and his death in 177.

In 1616, the order of Oratorian stayed in the town centre then in 1642 on the hillsides of the Croix-Rousse hill. They began the construction of the church Saint Polycarp in 1665, it was finished in 1670, the front in 1756. In 1791, it became parish church and was named of Polycarp in tribute to the minding masters Pothin and Irénée


During the XIXth century, a great work of decoration took place with the famous Lyonnais artists: Bossan, Fabisch, and Janmot… The grand organ  is installed in 1842 are renowned.


In 1815, the family of Antoine Jaricot settles in the Puits Gaillot street, near Saint Polycarp, at the base of Croix-Rousse hill. It is the quarter of silk work, where modest workers named « canuts » live both with rich traders and merchants.

It is the time where missionary movements and prayers for mission grown up.

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Pauline Jaricot, requested by her brother Philéas, rushes to ask for help her neighbours or her poor workers friends those with she began a prayer life.


She launches a fundraising, collecting hand to hand with a prayer intention for Missions « the coin of Pauline »  or « the weekly coin » ; this collect will be sent to the Paris Foreign Missions.

Abbé Gourdiat, the parish Saint Polycarp priest will manage the society and will become the treasurer of the association. Saint Polycarp became the cradle of the Faith Propagation Society.


In the church Saint Polycarp, the Pauline Jaricot heart is remained, carried on, in 1889, in the chapel dedicated to Saint François-Xavier.


A white marble plaque placed on the wall shows this place and the first writings of the brief of Leon XIII Pope, on 13th June 1881, are engraved on it.

Saint Polycarp is one of the parishes of Lyon where a lot of nationnality and religons are living together.


Diocesan parish it welcomes for:

  • Religious offices: Eucharistic celebrations, sacraments of baptism, of marriage

  • The awakening to the Faith and the catechesis of children; school chaplaincy,
  • Reflection or prayer groups offered to all as well as a cultural space.

The renowned organ is used to organize concerts.
Tours are offered on request.

Saint Polycarp Parish on the Croix-Rousse hillsides, 

Eglise Saint Polycarpe, 25 rue René Leynaud, F-69001 Lyon

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