Denis is named after the first bishop of Paris and his companions martyred in 270; a small chapel was built over the place of their burial, which is now the site of the Abbey. In 630 the abbey was founded for Benedictine monks, and used as a place of education. Over the years the abbey went through many additions and reconstructions. In the late 1000's the future king of France, Louis VI, was educated along side a young serf who was adopted by the church: the future Abbot Suger, inside the walls of the Abbey of St. Denis. Little did these two boys know that their shared ideas of the church reflecting the Divine Holiness through its architectural expression, would be a major influence on the entire world in terms of design. .
When the boys grew older, Louis became the sixth king of France and Suger was made Abbot of St. Denis. While Louis was away fighting in the crusades, he named Suger "Father of the Country" because of his successful maintaining of France and the respect given to him by the French people. With this title, Suger was in a position of power. Since the church took him in as a young boy, he felt it was his duty to raise money for the funding of a new abbey church, which was in need of a transformation. .
The goals of Abbot Suger for the new church were the same as the king, France, and the church itself: to honor God and represent his holy light. The ideas for the new church were intended to inspire awe and capture both patriotic and religious interest. The west end was done first, given a new facade with two towers and three doors, then the east end was donned a new choir. The architecture combined many existing design and structural aspects such as pointed arches, slender columns, groin vaulting, and stained glass. The combination of the arches and vaulting allowed for more open window space and lightness that was not found in Romanesque architecture, it also portrayed the doctrine of the divine light of God.