A northern section of Paris situated on a hill overlooking the rest of the city; commune from 1790-1860.
Prior to the 9th century two churches stood on this hill, one midway up, on the traditional site of the martyrdom of Saint Denis; the other, said to have replaced a temple to Mars, on the summit.
This second church was reconstructed in the 12th century and consecrated, 1147, by Pope Eugene III, with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter the Venerable officiating as deacon and subdeacon respectively.
In 1095 the two churches became the property of a monastery, first occupied by the monks of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, and later by the Benedictines.
For centuries Montmartre was a popular place of pilgrimage as a shrine of the Blessed Virgin, and here, in 1534, Saint Ignatius and his companions, among them Saint Francis Xavier, made their vows.
In recent years it has become more famous as a center of devotion to the Sacred Heart, since the erection of the National Basilica.
Proposed during the troubles of 1870-1871, this was started 1875, as an expiatory offering to the Sacred Heart, to obtain the release of the pope and freedom for France.
After a meeting of 70 architects, Abadie was entrusted with its construction.
Built in Romanesque style surmounted by a Byzantine dome, it has cost something over $8,000,000, and is one of the most imposing of modern religious edifices in the world.
Motivated by a like desire to make expiation, a new confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was established in Montmartre, 1876, and in 1894 was privileged to incorporate into itself other confraternities, of like name and object, throughout the world.
New Catholic Dictionary