The Church of Cessens
The church stands in the center of the village. It has an onion-shaped dome with a bronze bell from the 18th century, which has been declared a historic monument (French historic monument classification).
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The Church of Cessens in history
Until 1749, there was only a small chapel at the center of the village, while Masses were celebrated in the former church, located above Cessens, along the road leading to Col du Sapenay – and where the current Notre Dame de la Salette Chapel is now standing.
The former church was in such a dilapidated state that it was decided to build a new one in 1749. As parishioners and their priest wanted the church to be closer, it was built in the center of the village, from the existing chapel. The population was growing quickly and the new church soon became too small. It was extended in 1815 and an onion-shape dome was added to the building. It was extended again in 1838, still because of population growth, and then again in 1903, when it reached its current size.
The church has been renovated but still look the same as in the early 1900’s.
Saint Laurent of Rome
The church of Cessens is placed under the protection of Saint-Laurent of Rome, also called Saint-Laurent the Martyr. St Laurent was born in Aragon (Spain) and became Deacon in Rome in the 3rd century. Under the reign of Pope Sixte II, St-Laurent was the guardian of the Church assets and he used to share a lot with poor people. An edict prohibiting the catholic religion was established and the Pope and its Deacons were arrested and sentenced to death. Because of its particular function, St-Laurent’s life was spared. Requested to give all the Church assets to the Prefect, St-Laurent presented himself to the authorities with the poor and the crippled of Rome and said they were the one and only treasure the Church possessed. In punishment for his insolence, he was sentenced to be tortured to death (it is said that he was burnt on a grill).
He then became a martyr and protector of the poor. He is celebrated on August 10 throughout Europe, and people light a fire to his glory.