The Church of Piopolis

Saint-Zénon de Piopolis Church


The Church and the Village

As in most villages, there is a strong connection between the history of the village and its church. Here, in Piopolis, this history is quite unusual.

A Chapel in the Old Village

In 1871, a group of 14 papal Zouaves and a missionary priest is sent to the area in order to clear the land and build the city of the Pope; Piopolis.

They found a cabin where they first settle, approximately 3 km away from the current village. Nowadays, it is a road called « Chemin du Vieux Village » which means the Old Village Road.

The group started to clear the land in order to settle down. Among the first building they erect, there is a small chapel where they can pray and attend the mass. Built in summer 1871, the chapel measures 30X40 feet and is also used as lodging and clergy house for the newly arrived pioneers.

The First Church

In 1873, they will use the foundations of the chapel to build the first church of Piopolis. Next to it, a clergy house will be built. As the years pass, the pioneers’ families grow and more people are settling in the village. Soon, the church is not big enough anymore.

Nowadays, there is no trace left of this church, except a white cross that stands at the crossing of Route des Pionniers and Chemin du Vieux-Village.

The Great Moving

The idea of building a new church starts in 1902 but the community strongly disagrees on the place to build it. Finally, they decide to move the village closer to the lake, since it is a more strategic location for the economy and the trade.

Among the people not satisfied by this decision, there is Odilon Martel, the oldest of the 14 Zouaves, who dedicated his life to erect the village and built his house next to the church. He was so shocked by the decision that he decided to leave the village forever, along with other citizens.

A Gathering Place

Since some parishioners were coming from many kilometers away for the Sunday mass, the parvise of the church was a meeting point for many. Some were even coming by boat from Lac-Mégantic, before the construction of Sainte-Agnès church in Lac-Mégantic in 1911.

The Church Today

Nowadays, the church is open to visitors during summer. There is an exhibition about the history of the church and the area.

Thanks to its many devoted parishioners and the numerous activities they organise there, the church is still an important part of Piopolis and is very much alive.

Piopolis church is part of the parish of St-Joseph-des-Monts and there is a mass celebrated there two Sundays per month.

Text Version

You are in front of the beautiful church of Piopolis. Even today, it is an important and lively place in the heart of the village. It reminds us of its presence throughout the day, as the bells ring every hour in the village.

In addition to the religious celebrations every two weeks, the church is best known for the shows that are held there. Indeed, the church has an incredible sound and it is equipped with a high-quality sound system. Every year, it hosts the St Zénon de Piopolis festival, which offers a variety of concerts in its warm setting, throughout the year. Internationally renowned artists as well as talents to be discovered come to warm the hearts of the spectators. This festival attracts people from all over the region and it greatly contributes to the viability of the building. It is often sold out and music lovers take the opportunity to spend a few hours in the village, for a complete enriching experience.

In summer, the church is open to visitors. Inside is a permanent exhibition on the history of the church and the region. It can count on a large number of committed parishioners who aim to keep it alive by various means. Think of its bazaar, in the basement, where are sold items of all kinds: clothes, plants, hand-knitted slippers and an infinite variety of small items. It is open on summer weekends. 

In winter, the young and old of the village meet behind the church to enjoy the village ice rink, which is hidden there, and the little ones gather there to slide. 

Even if the church seems to have always been in the center of the village, it has not always been there. Discover its particular history in the files that follow.

Extract of
History of Piopolis | In the Footsteps of the Pioneers

History of Piopolis | In the Footsteps of the Pioneers image circuit

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