Henri Gabriel Didon

A brief biography.


Henri Gabriël Didon was born 17th March, 1840, at Touvet (Isère), France. At the age of eighteen he left the seminary of Grenoble to enter the Dominican Order at Flavigny. Four years later he went to Rome to complete his studies at the Dominican priory Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.
Returning to France as a lector of sacred theology, he taught Scripture for a brief time, and began a brilliant career as a preacher in Paris in 1868.

He had a majestic carriage, strong features, a massive forehead, black eyes, a vibrating voice which he perfectly controlled, and an ease in emphasizing his words by superb gestures. He was essentially a man of his time, an advocate of progress; but withal loyal to the Church whose place in modern civilization he strenuously endeavoured to strengthen.
He delivered the funeral oration of Archbishop Darboy, of Paris, who had been shot by the Communists 24 May, 1871. In the following year he preached Lenten and Advent conferences in the principal churches of Paris, many of which he published.

In 1879 he was bitterly assailed by the secular press of Paris for the attitude he took in a series of conferences on the burning question of the indissolubility of marriage, which he discontinued at the request of the Archbishop of Paris, but published in book form.
A year later he was bitterly attacked by other critics while delivering Lenten conferences on the Church and modern society, and the accusation was made that he was in contradiction with the Syllabus. Although his preaching was orthodox, he was sent by the master general of his order to
the Dominican priory at Corbara in Corsica.
There for seven years he laboured at a "Life of Christ", leaving his retreat for an extended visit in Palestine and again for a sojourn at the Universities of Leipzig, Göttingen, and Berlin.
Returned to France in 1887, he completed his "Life of Christ" in 1890.
In January 1892 Didon reappeared in the French pulpit when he preached at Bordeaux a religious-political sermon in favour of the Republic. He then delivered at the Madeleine in Paris a series of Lenten conferences on Jesus Christ

He was in contact with Pierre de Fredi de Coubertin (1.1.1863-2.9.1937), which launched his plan, – 29.11.1892 -, to refund at the Sorbonne at Paris the Olympic Games to educate young people. On request of de Coubertin, Henri Didon formulates the slogan of the Modern Olympic Games, Athens 1896: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger).

Henri Didon died 13th March 1900, in the dominican priory at Toulouse.
The deeply religious character of Father Didon is especially manifest in his "Lettres à Mlle Th. V." (Paris, 1900)





The slogan of the Modern Olympic Games (1894)

by Henri Gabriel Didon, O.P. (17.03.1840-15.03.1900):

Altius, Citius, Fortius.

Bosnia and Herzogovina 2004, Mi Bl 29; Sc 479.






Honouring the Olympic Games.

On this cover at the bottom the slogan Citius, Altius, Fortius.


China 2000.







90th Anniversary of the International Olympic Committee
and the Summer Olympic 1984.

France 1984, Mi 2447, Sc 1831.
FDC with the slogan of H.G.Didon.






Henry Gabriel Didon was director of the Albert the Great College in Arcueil in 1890 when he, on request of Pierre
de Fredi, baron de
Coubertin, wrote his slogan Citus
Altius Fortius for the Modern Olympic Games in
in 1896.
The city of Arcueil honoured him with a postmark and a cover in 1996.


France 1996. Postmark Arcueil 13.04.1996.




Homage á Henri Didon Père de la devise olympique citius altius fortius. Espace Julio Gonzalez Arcueil du 11 au 14 avril 1996.



France 1996. Franking stamp Arcueil 13.04.1996.




In 1997, the mayor of Arcueil and 2.000 citizens petitioned that Arcueil be designated City of the Olympic Slogan and
that a stamp be issued to recognize that fact.

The French Post responded by including a large (double-stamp size) label in a sheetlet containing five pairs of 3 fr. stamps marking the 2000 Olympics.
The Coros Chronicle nr 314, December 2000, p. 149.
On the top the head, the slogan and the signature of Didon.


France 2000, Mi 3481,82; Sc sheet 5: 2784a + label.




A special hand franking stamp was used in the Julio Gonzalez Gallery where a special temporary post office served as philatelic exhibition on the theme of Sports and Olympicism.


France 2000. Postmark Arcueil 18.09.2000.














The Arcueil Post Office has also been using a commemorative machine slogan.
In Arcueil Didon creates his slogan for the Modern Olympic Games. He died on 13 March 1900. Issue to commemorate the centenary of his death.


France 2000. cover and franking stamp Arcueil.





Slogan of H.G.Didon, O.P.: Citius, Altius, Fortius.


Germany, DDR 1963, Mi 940, Sc 636.







Slogan of  H.G.Didon, O.P.: Citius, Altius, Fortius.


Germany, DDR 1985, Mi 2949, Sc 2479.






   Olympic Centenary Year 1996.


   The devise of H.G.Didon: Citius, Altius, Fortius.


    Great Britain 1996. Postmark.




The Olympic Fire
and devise of H.
G. Didon: Citius Altius Fortius.


Great Britain 1996. Postmark London 03.12.1996.







In the series Olympic Games in Seoul of Walt Disney
the  issue of 10 c with the devise of Didon.


Grenada 1988, Mi 1728, Sc 1587.









On this Souvenir Sheet, according the Olympic Games
at Munich 1972, the Globe, Olympic Rings, and the Intelsat, launched 25 January 1971.
At the bottom the slogan of H. G. Didon, O.P.: Fortius  Citius  Altius.


Hungary 1972 Mi Block 89, Sc C324.




Olympic Games of Moscow 1980.

Issue with the devise of Didon.


Hungary 1980, Mi Bl 145, Sc C 427.





Slogan of  H.G. Didon,O.P.: Citius, Altius, Fortius.


Hungary 1994, Mi 4296, Sc 3444.










The Olympic Games are in The Netherlands, Amsterdam,
in 1928.

The slogan of H.G. Didon Citius Altius Fortius on the
adresside of the series of postcards.


The Netherlands 1928.
Olympic Games, nr 76.





The firm Altius Houtagenturen bv in Laren (Netherlands) used in the Olympic Year 1984
the rings and slogan of the Modern Olympic
Games: Citius Altius Fortius.


Netherlands 1984. Machine postmark Laren 28.08.1984.




The slogan of the Modern Olympic Games:
Citius Altius Fortius, used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne 1987.


Switzerland 1987. Machine postmark Lausanne 27.01.1987.




Henri Gabriel Didon, O.P. with his slogan of the Modern Olympic Games: Citius, Altius, Fortius.


Vatican City 2000. Aerogramme.




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