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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