Saint-Denis: From the Dazzling Obscurity of Divine Darkness to the Aesthetics of Light

The Cathedral Basilica at Saint-Denis is one of the most important buildings in the West. It was the first example of gothic architecture and is the resting place of France's kings and queens. When it was built in the early 12th century, its only rival in Christendom was the great basilica of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Its antecedent, the royal abbey, goes back to AD 250. Following his earlier forum on the Basilica itself, philosopher Frédéric Berland talks about two geniuses behind it, the Abbot Suger and his aesthetics of light, and St Denis the Areopagite, the father of Christian mysticism who inspired him and to whom the Basilica is dedicated.