Archive for February 28th, 2019

February 28, 2019

Saint Louis Church at Darmstadt!

So I take you back to Germany ,its a tour really lol! sorry.  A bit of story telling here. Several years back while working for a multinational French co with a branch in Germany at Darmstadt I needed to visit and did a couple of times. The city was nice and the people very helpful that took me out to see the city and eat out etc. Rolled the clock several years later, my family decided they wanted to vacation in Germany so ok off I went, family votes counts! So ,while road warrior tours of Germany visiting several cities, I decided why not show them the city that i came on business for the them to see. Something of a tradition we do where once gone on business if the city is nice I bring the family later on. So they did and really enjoyed, especially those pretzels lol!

Well we did stop and wrote my blog posts on it, but decided this unique Church of Saint Louis needed a bit more exposure. I think one of the must see in the city of Darmstadt even if not well publicise oh well here I go again on the off the beaten path trail.

St. Louis Church is the main Catholic Church in Darmstadt. Its characteristic dome, is located in a conspicuous place above the city, at the end of the Wilhelminenstraße street.The Saint Louis Church was built between 1822 and 1827 as the first Catholic Church of Hesse-Darmstadt since the Reformation. The model was the classical construction of the pantheon of Rome. The construction site required a great deal of money for Grand Duke Louis I of Hesse. The building was bombed in 1944. This destroyed its foundations; its reconstruction took place in 1950. The wood of the old construction of the dome was replaced by a steel structure. The exterior decoration was completed in 1994, and that renovation of the interior in 2005. There was a new organ as well in 2005.

Darmstadt

On February 19, 1827, the fifteenth anniversary of Grand Duke Louis I’s marriage to Princess Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt, five years after the start of the building, the new Church was consecrated. In honor of the Grand Duke, it was named after Saint Louis of France. The Pantheon of Rome was taken as a model for this classicist construction with a total reduction of one fifth. The 35 meters high central plant consists of a cylinder with a diameter of 43 meters with a semi-spherical top. The entrance emphasizes the colossal dimensions with a gable. A circular line of plaster, insistent on a high basement, divides the façade, which is almost completely devoid of openings. The capitals of the pilasters hold a high double-arm beams, ending in a band decorated with roll motifs. The dome, which rests on an inner crown of 28 Corinthian columns covered with imitation marble, has a diameter of 33 meters. With its 33.5 m opening was the largest wooden dome in Germany. Simple oak beams and double radial rings absorbed the circular pressure and the tensive forces of the dome and ensured the spatial tightness. The natural light only descends through a circular opening nine meters wide on the dome, screened by a Trinitarian window, symbolizing the illuminating intrusion of the divine in the world. In the plastic representation, the blue of the Divine Eye (Father) joins with the blue of the dome, the Red of the Cross (Son) with the red of the roundabout, and the Yellow of the Dove (Holy Spirit) with the tapered fields of the dome.

A more general restructuring took place between 1909 and 1910. On the main altar there is a 4 meters long sandstone slab and a mosaic angel on the back wall. They are both works of the late 20C and the mosaic is from 1960. The chromatic re-elaboration with intense red and blue on the dome and on the walls became the dominant stylistic figure after 2005. Noteworthy are the stations of the Via Crucis made in 1905.

Some Catholic members of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt are buried in the Church of St. Louis: Grand Duchess Matilde ,1862 on the right and Prince Frederick of Hesse-Darmstadt , 1867 on the left.

In 2005 the new altar island, surrounded by a communion bench, whose canteen rests on a Jewish menorah. The seven arms of that candlestick recall the seven sacraments that also appear on the back of the choir’s benches. The altar is still wrapped in twelve embossed metallic symbols, written in the marble floor, representing the twelve Tribes of Israel. There is also a match with the twelve squares of the altar, in which the names of the Apostles are engraved. At the apex is the Cross done in 2007

In 1823 the first organ with 34 registers came in. The instrument was damaged in 1944, and was replaced in 1955 with an organ with two keyboards and 20 registers. In 2005, a new one was made at 43 registers in a Romanesque French style.

Darmstadt

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Saint Louis Church site in German

Tourist office of Darmstadt on heritage in English

City of Darmstadt on heritage in English

There hope you have enjoyed this off the beaten path city and Church of Saint Louis in Germany. Oh Darmstadt is very close to Frankfurt, and even closer to the main airport  Flughafen where I landed the first time and went by rental car to Darmstadt on the A5 highway. The family visits were done from south of Trier Germany.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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February 28, 2019

Other Churches of Brussels!!!

So I am moving up again to my neighbor Belgium, many times here taken advantange of family near the Belgian border. I have several posts on one of my favorite cities in my blog, but feel obligated again to tell you a bit more of its most interesting monuments.

What better way to do this then by showcasing several Churches of historical and architectural significance in the city of Brussels and nearby Schaerbeek. Therefore here is a bit more on these wonderful buildings!

The Royal Church of St. Mary is on the Boulevard de la Reine in Schaerbeek, a suburn of Brussels. Built in the 19C in the Romano-Byzantine style, the church is located on the Royal Route leading from the royal residence of Laeken to the royal palace in Brussels. Officially dedicated to Notre-Dame de l’Assomption ,she is popularly associated with Louise-Marie d’Orléans, the first queen of the Belgians, earning her the qualifier Royal.

Further along, with the Rue des Palais and the Rue de la Reine, a large royal route is created linking the royal residence of Laeken to the royal Palace of Brussels. On the plan, at the beginning of the Rue des Palais, a parcel of land is destined for the construction of a church. The work site opened 1846. There is a statue of Notre-Dame in the main façade and three bells,  Marie, Joseph and Salvator are installed in 1866. The Way of the Cross is placed during Lent 1868. The black granite baptistery takes its place in 1873. The definitive completion of the work is officially done in 1888. On October 14, 1902, On the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Church is solemnly consecrated.

From 1887 the stained glass windows are installed. In 1894, Confessionals are done. In 1899, a new bell which will be removed by the Nazis occupier in 1943. Throughout the 20C the Church will be embellished with suitable furniture, especially in secondary chapels. Thus the benches of Communion done in 1905) and the organs in 1907. The Way of the Cross is blessed in 1908. But above all, the Sanctuary is built from 1900. A carved copper altar in a Romano-Mosan style replaces the primitive altar.

The degradation is such that, in 1966, the Royal Church of St. Mary is closed to the public because it is considered too dangerous! The liturgical offices are celebrated in its Crypt. In 1982, the complete restoration work of the historic monument began. They’ll last 14 years. Facade, turrets, pinnacle, porch, cornices; everything is inspected and restored. All the stained glass windows and the bell tower covering its three bells as well. Inside large surfaces of ceilings and the stuccos that are restored. The Royal Church of St Mary is reopened to the public in 1996.

City of Schaerbeek on Royal Church of St Mary

YELP favorite site on reviews on the Royal Church of St Mary

Brussels

The Church of Notre-Dame des Victoires at Sablon, is located on the edge of the Sablon. It was not until the 18C, more precisely in May 1716, that a written record of the name Notre-Dame des Victoires was found, which was already at that time in use by the people, because one believed, wrongly, that it had been founded to celebrate the victory of Duke John I at the Battle of Worringen. On the other hand the reference to the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 is well established.

The arrival in 1348 of a miraculous Virgin whose cult and procession called Ommegang were soon to supplant the devotion and procession to Saint Michael was to give this Church a major role in the social life of Brussels. The progression of this nearly century-long workyard is poorly known, due to the disappearance of the crossbow archives. The Choir was completed in 1435, as evidenced by mural paintings bearing this date. The north transept was probably completed around 1450, and the south transept and the first five bays of the nave were already done. It had built two chapels: the Chapel of St. Ursula north of the Choir done 1651-1676, and the Chapel of Saint Marcou south of the choir,1690.

Under the French revolution , the Church of Notre-Dame des Victoires was spared the anti-religious zeal of the revolutionaries, its priest having agreed to take an oath to the Republic. It was nevertheless closed for a few years, then returned to the cult under Napoleon I, as a branch of the Church of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle. The Chorus is illuminated by eleven lancets of some fourteen meters high separated by fibrous pillars. The Choir is framed by two baroque chapels. In the north the Chapel of St. Ursula is the sepulchral Chapel of the Tour and Taxis, the general postmasters from the 16C. The sponsor’s funerary monument a white marble allegorical group consisting of virtue, time and fame, accompanied by a group of Angels, stands out on the black background. The second part is dominated by a statue of St. Ursula, around two genies symbolizing death and life; in niches an allegory of truth and an allegory of hope. Under the chapel is the family vault of the Tour and Taxis, during its opening in 1928, the bones and coffins of nineteen members of the family were found, disturbed during the French revolution. They were then brought together in a single sarcophagus. To the south, the Chapel of Saint Marcou, which is during that of Saint Ursula, was also commissioned by the Tour and Taxis. His prescription is the same; the entrance gate is topped by a statue of Saint Marcou accompanied by the date 1690. The interior in faux marble color is decorated with various statues. The canopies above these two chapels come from fragments of ancient stained glass, the arms of the transept are decorated with two registers of arches surmounted by a frieze of cabbage leaves, dated 1545. The nave has a central ship flanked by four collateral. It is divided into seven bays; the five spans originally planned and two additional bays built at the beginning of the 16C. The pulpit of the Truth in Baroque style was made in 1697 for the now gone Augustinian church. It is decorated with medallions of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Virgin and Saint Thomas of Villeneuve. It is based on the sculptures symbolizing the four evangelists: the Angel, the Eagle, the Ox and the lion. In the north brace of the transept a jacquemart of the 15C rings the hours.

Brussels site on the Church Notre Dame

YELP reviews on the Church of Notre Dame

Brussels

The Church of Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg, built between 1776 and 1787, is part of a set of nine neo-classical buildings that form the perimeter of the Place Royale in Brussels.  The Church is  Royal parish and Cathedral of the diocese to the Belgian Armed Forces.   It succeeds two neighboring places of worship; the Castrale Chapel of the Palais du Coudenberg and the Church of the Abbey of Coudenberg, both demolished for the occasion. The Church of  Saint-Jacques (St James) is the third known church in Brussels, after Saint-Géry (destroyed at  the French revolution) and Saint-Michel (now the Cathedral Saints-Michel-et-Gudule). It is possible that Saint-Jacques originated as a castrale chapel of the first castle built around 1100 by the counts of Louvain on the Coudenberg, the highest hill on the right bank of the Senne river that crossed the  town. Most probably St. James (St Jacques) was a adjacent church at a hospice for pilgrims from Santiago de Compostela next to the castle, which would explain its title of St. James. The presence of a church on the Coudenberg is attested in the 12C. The name of its servants is known from 1121.

In 1183 the Brabant was erected in the Duchy, and the Coudenberg became the habitual residence of the Dukes. During the construction of the first precinct of Brussels in the 13C, the Church, the hospice (now Prévôté) and its gardens, which extend to the present  rue Brederode  are found intra muros. In remembrance of his parents, the Emperor Charles V built, in extension of the Aula Magna, a gothic chapel which became the new Chapel Castrale in place of the Church of the Prévôté. In 1774, Prince Charles-Alexandre de Lorraine proposed to transform the square  into a royal square. As neither the old Gothic-style castle Chapel, nor the ruins of the abbey church, presumably in Romanesque style, were compatible with the neoclassical taste of the late 18C, they were demolished and replaced by the Church of St Jacques in a Neoclassical style  that we know today.

For the Church of St Jacques, the work was completed in 11 years (from 1776 to 1787). The interior of the Church is built between 1785 and 1786. In 1849,it replaced the old bell tower with an imperial wooden dome tower with four bells and, in 1851, decorates the pediment of an original fresco of the Virgin consoling the afflicted. In neoclassical style, the interior of the Church is united, sober and solemn. Outside, the façade evokes, with its triangular pediment and its six Corinthian columns, the appearance of a Greco-Roman temple. Two large statues frame the porch, king David and Moses. The three statues of the pediment, Saint James (in the center) with Saint Andre (to his right) and Saint John (to his left). After the annexation, on 1 October 1795, of the Austrian Netherlands by the first French Republic(revolution), the Church of St Jacques became, for a period of time, a temple of reason before being rendered, by the signing of the Concordat of 1801, to the Catholic cult in 1802.

Other religious events concerning the Belgian royal family were celebrated in Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg Church, such as the funeral of Charles of Belgium 1983 and King Leopold III 1983 or the eulogy mass of King Baudouin 1993. Several royal children received baptism such as Leopold II in 1835, Albert I in 1875, Leopold III in 1901, Charles in 1903, Marie-José in 1906, Josephine-Charlotte in 1927, Baudouin in 1930, Philippe in 1960 and Astrid in 1962. In 1978, the Church of St Jacques was entrusted to the Apostolic Vicariate by the Belgian armed forces. In 1986, this vicariate became the Diocese of the Armed Forces and the Church of St. James (St Jacques) its Cathedral. The titular bishop of this diocese is the Primate of Belgium, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels.

Military parish of St Jacques Church

YELP reviews on the Church of St Jacques

Brussels

The present St. Catherine’s Church was built on the site of a basin of the old Port of Brussels between 1854 and 1874. Opened in St. Catherine’s Square, it replaced an ancient building dating back to the 15C. It was finally consecrated to the cult in 1874. It is the only religious building built in the Pentagon (historical center of Brussels) since the end of the old regime. The Italian campanile adjoining the entrance to the Church of St. Catherine is, in fact, the Baroque steeple that lined the choir of the old church demolished in 1893.

Inspired by 16C French churches, such as the Saint-Eustache Church near the Halles of Paris; the Sainte-Catherine Church presents a hybrid architecture, between Gothic forms and Baroque decoration. The size and sobriety of the interior of the Church is reinforced by the white coating that covers it. It presents a homogeneous furniture, designed in Neo-Renaissance style, to which were added the main works of the old church, such as the washbasin, the cupboards of the sacristy. The pulpit of truth would come from the Cathedral Saint-Rombaut de Malines. By 2014, following a decision by the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, the Church of St Catherine in Brussels was reopened to worship and placed under the responsibility of 4 young priests of the Brotherhood of the Holy Apostles.

Official site St Catherine Church

YELP reviews on St Catherine Church

Brussels

There you a bit long even if condensed a lot just to give you a better overview of these magnificent Other Churches that are worth a visit while in Brussels. Hope you enjoy the tour!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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February 28, 2019

Other Churches of Valencia! Spain of course!!

And why not come down the Mediterranean coast to a lovely town often overlook for the bigger two others but worth a detour indeed.  I have come since teens years as my aunt used to lived just south of it at El Saler. Then visited with the family and always nice souvenirs of our visits.  I have written several posts on it before but feel deserves to tell you about the other Churches architecture and historical jewels of Valencia, capital of Comunitat Valenciana in my beloved Spain. This is their tourist portal here on the region: Tourism in the Comunitat Valenciana Valencia Spain

Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on some of the other wonderful other Churches of Valencia.

The Church of San Juan de la Cruz, formerly Parish Church of San Andrés, located in Calle Poeta Querol N º 6 in the city of Valencia, was one of the first to be founded after the conquest of Jaime I of Aragon, on an old mosque. Its current configuration date, however, between 1602 and 1615 .

It is a single-nave church with chapels between the buttresses and polygonal headboard. In its facade the decorative elements are concentrated especially on the door, while the rest is a smooth brick wall on a stone plinth topped by a balustrade with balls. At the sides were opened two small chapels one of whose acropolis is still visible today. The cover is already from the end of the 17C and is notable for the use of spiral columns and side corbels on which two female figures seem to slide. The upper Aedicule was presided over by a statue of St. Andrew of which today only the traces of its cross with its characteristic shape of blade remain.

The highlight is, however, the rococo decoration of the interior, done in the second half of the 18C. Made in stucco, but worked with exceptional quality, the reloaded full forms of angels, fabrics and vegetation seem to climb the walls.

City of Valencia on the Church of San Juan de la Cruz

valencia

The Church of San Martín Obispo and San Antonio Abad, located in Calle San Vicente 11 martyr of the city of Valencia , was built in the 14C with reforms of the later centuries 15-16-17C being its styles Gothic Valencian and Baroque , retracing its antiquity to the time of the conquest of the city of Valencia by the troops of Jaime I, the Conqueror. It would not be until the year 1902, when the temple was definitively consecrated with the complete dedication of San Martín Obispo and San Antonio Abad. Its current design, with subsequent extensions and reconstructions, corresponds to the works of 1372 to 1401, in which it was used for the enlargement of the temple the space occupied by an old building,   graciously given to the parish by the General Council of the City in 1372.

The Gothic construction presents a type of longitudinal plant, of a single nave, without cruising, with the peculiarity of its irregularity, in trapezoidal form, because only the wall of the gospel parallels the axis of the temple, being at an angle the western and southern one that it was adapted the layout of the streets that border them, especially to the west, Calle San Vicente, whose antiquity exceeds that of the church, being an old Roman way on the side where the parish building appears.

City of Valencia on the Church San Martin Obispo

valencia

The Church of Santa Catalina the Martyr is one of the Gothic temples of the city of Valencia. It was erected in the Cathedral district, in the current Plaza Lope de Vega, on a previous mosque. In the 13C it acquired the rank of parish. It consists of three naves, with lateral buttresses, between which the chapels were installed, and girolas. Its baroque tower is very emblematic. In the 16C the Church was covered with classicist decoration to the Renaissance taste. After a awesome fire suffered in 1548, it was partially rebuilt. In 1785, following the prevailing fashion, it was given a baroque look.

The belfry was built between 1688 and 1705 . Masterpiece of the Valencian Baroque, is of hexagonal plant and its elevation is divided into four floors separated by mouldings, plus the body of bells and the upper crown. In its origin it was called Bells Salomonic by the helical columns that adorn that high part. It also stands out for the highlights as pilasters that adorn its angles and the decoration of its windows, where the decorative style of the ephemeral Baroque was moved with mastery. It reaches 56 meters high. The bells melted in London in 1729 and later, in 1914, the clock was added. During the restoration carried out in 2012, when going to repair the clock they realized that the machinery was relatively modern and had no value, so it was decided to remove it and replace the old bell that had been removed in 1902.

In 1936 the Church Santa Catalina the Martyr was assaulted by Republican militiamen and burned, demolished it completely. In the 1950’s works of Repristina were carried out, to give back its original gothic physiognomy, for which it was stripped to the walls of the remains of baroque and neoclassical decoration. It is a temple of Eucharistic reparation for more than 50 years, ruled by the Brotherhood of Diocesan operative priests. It has a nice museum inside.

Tourist office of Valencia on Santa Catalina the Martyr

valencia

The parish Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro martyr is a parish church located in Calle Caballeros No. 35, in the historical center, specifically between the neighborhoods of La Seu, El Carme and El Mercat. It is one of the best examples of coexistence of a 15C Gothic Church with a spectacular 17C baroque decor. After its restoration in 2016 it is popularly known as the Valencian Sistine Chapel. It has its usual worship schedule and also a timetable for sightseeing or cultural visits. The temple is located next to the Calle Caballeros, which was the old Decumano of the Valentia Edetanorum founded by the Romans in the year 138 BC, and in the vicinity of the Plaza de San Nicolás have been found funerary remains belonging to an ancient Roman temple. Then it was briefly a temple Paleocristian- Visigoth until the arrival of the Muslims in the 8C, when in its place a mosque was erected towards the east, towards Mecca. With the conquest of Valencia by King Jaime I of Aragon in 1238 this ancient mosque was consecrated as a Christian parish and donated to the Order of preachers or Dominicans, who baptized it in honor of St. Nicholas of Bari. Years later the same order added another titular Saint to the parish, St. Pedro el Martyr, who was the first martyr of the Dominican Order.

It was in the 15C when the temple was rebuilt and expanded acquiring its current physiognomy of the Valencian Gothic with a single nave, polygonal apse and six bays, in which there are so many vaults of simple crossing and six chapels to each side located between the buttresses of the nave’s pointed arches. Another gothic element that is preserved is the outer cover at the foot of the temple, built in the second half of the 15C, with archivolts in pointed arches, with a Baroque relief added later in the tympanum and with a meat dish carved in the key alluding to a miracle of St. Nicholas of Bari. On this cover there is a large neo-góthic rosette inspired by the star of David, which was an extension of the original Gothic rosette that had in the same place but smaller dimensions.

To the right of this cover is the only Chapel outside the temple, closed with a gate and call of the Christ of the Fossar, since in this place was the old parish cemetery before its 15C Gothic enlargement.   The taste for Baroque decoration opens its way inside the Christian temples within the atmosphere of the Reformation and the idea of modernizing the Gothic. For this reason at the end of the 17C, between 1690 and 1693, the Baroque recovered the interior with engravings, stuccoes and reliefs that were rather sculptures, like the plaster putti sculpted on each pilaster. It was, also the work of the arches of half point on the chapels that hide the original gothic pointed arches. The south facade, which falls to the pedestrian Plaza de San Nicolás, is all neo-Gothic style due to the urban renovation of the Plaza de San Nicolás promoted by the city/town hall in the 19C.

To the left of its cover is a ceramic panel of 1957 in memory of the premonition that the Dominican Valencian San Vicente Ferrer ( and can preaching in my current area of Morbihan and is buried in the Cathedral St Peter in Vannes! )did to a young Alfonso de Borja, predicting that someday the young man would be named Pope, as it happened years later as Pope Callixtus III (He was also responsible for the retrial of Joan of Arc  that saw her vindicated) . Visits are only accessed by the door located in Calle Caballeros, No 35, which leads to a hallway through which access to the interior of the temple as cultural or tourist visits are not allowed on Mondays or during the worship hours. They can be made from Tuesday to Friday from 10h30 to 19h30, Saturdays from 10h30 to 18h30   and Sundays from 13h to 20h. The timetables may undergo modifications for specific liturgical celebrations, so it is recommended to consult the agenda of the Church.

Official site of San Nicolas of Valencia

Tourist office of Valencia on Church San Nicolas de Bari, San Pedro el Martyr

City of Valencia on Church San Nicolas de Bari

valencia

The Church of Santo Tomás and San Felipe Neri is located in the Plaza of San Vicente Ferrer and is a temple built in the 18C in Baroque style. This Church is also called the congregation’s Church, because it was part of the convent house erected by the congregation of the Oratory of San Felipe Neri on the former parish of St. Thomas. After the disentitlement the rest of the convent complex was demolished and only the temple remained. The Church was built between 1727 and 1736 , and was inspired by Baroque models of Rome, recognizable especially in the broad façade. Constructed of red brick with elements of stone , it follows the form of the Roman Church of the Gesu and consists of two bodies: a wider inferior one crowned by a entablature and with a lowered arch on the door, and another more narrow upper , which corresponds only to the central nave, is topped by a triangular pediment and has two large volutes on its sides. Pilasters, corbels and statues compose a very classical image that is completed with the bell tower and its curious eighteenth sundial. If we enter, we will observe a Latin cross style temple, with a short nave covered with a barrel vault with lunettes between side chapels crowned by small domes. It also has a large transept on which stands a large dome and contains rich pictorial backgrounds.

City of Valencia on the Church San Tomàs Apostol and San Felipe Neri

Valencia

SO there you go a small tour of some of the nice monument Churches of Valencia a very nice city to walk as well, beautiful architecture is all around and history to boot. We always have come here by car, the most scenic route. Therefore, hope you have enjoyed the Other Churches of Valencia.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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