The Church of Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg of Brussels !

So I am moving up again to my neighbor Belgium, many times there taken advantange of family near the Belgian border. I have several posts on one of my favorite cities, but feel obligated again to tell you a bit more of its most interesting monuments.I am updating rather redoing this older post where I had several monuments into one and splitting them to give them the credit they deserve in my blog. After all, these were memorable walks with the family which we love to do together when visiting anywhere.

What better way to do this then by showcasing the historical and architectural significance in the city of Brussels. Therefore, let me tell you about the Church of Saint Jacques sur Coudenberg of Brussels ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

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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 (see post) in Brussels.  The Church is a 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.. 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 as above). 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. 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.

Some of the 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.

The Royal Parish of the Cathedral of the Armed Forces on the churchhttps://paroisse-militaire-saint-jacques-sur-coudenberg.be/fr/accueil/

The Brussels Collection Heritage on the church: https://collections.heritage.brussels/fr/institutions/52

There you go folks,  a bit more just to give you a better overview of this magnificent Church of St James on Coudenberg  that are worth a visit while in Brussels. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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