Antwerpen Belgium

Old City centre seen from across the river Scheldt.

Antwerp Kathedral logo

Onze Lieve Vrouw kathedral Antwerp, anno 2009

Other interesting parish churches of Antwerp

Saint Antoniuskerk

This is one of whole the series of churches there were built in Antwerp in the second half of 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century. This is the period of the first one hundred years of the existence of the Belgian Kingdom that was set up in 1830.

At the beginning of 20th century, the Saint Anthony of Padua church was built from the beginning as a parish church in the neogothic style. The parish inhabitants have found the inspiration for this church in the Strasburg cathedral and in Saint-Chapelle in Paris.  

There are rich paintings in this church including ‘Saint Francis receives Jesus child’
(P.P. Rubens, 1614); ‘Worship of the child by penitent sinners’ (G. Seghers, 1640); ‘Escape to Egypt’ (J. Jordaens, 17de century) and retable ‘Our Lady of Good Success’ (P. De Roeck, 20ste century). All arts are from de destroyed church of Walburg and the church of Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

On the side of the church is a chapel of Our Lady of Good Success protecting seamen and merchants. 

Saint Antonius van Padua

Saint Eligiuskerk

Saint Eligiuskerk

1st December 1903, the First Stone was laid down as the church foundations. The church was built as many others at that time, in neogothic style, with three naves and square tower on the west side.

There is a very interesting window in the shape of the rose at the church front, something that makes this church closer to divine. There is an eye in middle of the rose window and around, there are 12 pictures of the Zodiac animals. 

The parish of Saint Eligius is located in the poor Antwerp district of workers, district that is called today the Seefhoek known from the fact that first foreign workers that came to Antwerp from North Africa has chosen this place as his home. It was not appreciated by the original habitants in the area and after a couple of years, the first right wing racist political party was born here.

St Eligius is particularly honored in Flanders, in the province of Antwerp, and few other cities. He is the patron of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and all workers in metal.

In the Middle Ages his relics were the object of special veneration, and were repeatedly divided and transferred to other resting-places, in 881, 1066, 1137, 1255, and 1306. A mass of legend has gathered round the life of Saint Eligius. He is the patron of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and all workers in metal.

Saint Joriskerk

The story of this church is going down to 12th century. In 1201 the Saint George Chapel was mentioned as standing outside the Antwerp’s defensive walls. In 1304 the chapel was ofically inaugurated by Swedish de archbishop Isernus. In 1314, after the next enlargement of Antwerp, the small chapel got located inside the walls. In 1326 the construction of the Saint George has begun.

In 1566 the church interior was demolished during iconoclastic acts and was then changed to Calvinistic church. In 1585, after Spanish Fury the church came back to the hands of Catholics.

During the violent actions just before and during the French revolution in 1797 the church was completely destroyed and the ground was sold. In 1846 pastor Jan Van Cauwenbergh purchased this terrain with houses on it, destroyed the houses and begun construction of the new church designed by Amsterdam’s architect Léon Suys. This was neogothic design, probably the first neogothic church in Antwerp.

Saint Joriskerk

In 1853 the construction was completed and in 1871 the walls inside have been decorated by Godfried Guffens and Jan Swerts. At the end of 20th century the church was renovated. It is said that the chapel of Our Lady is still as it was originally constructed in 14th century.

Saint Willebrorduskerk in Berchem

Willibrordus Berchem

Saint Willibrordus was with the visit in 710 in the woods of Berchem. Due to rescuing his life he built a small wooden chapel in the place called then Berchembos. This was later on destroyed by Normans but then in its place the stone chapel was built. With the time the church from the white stone was constructed in the Roman style.

In 1566 the church interior was demolished during iconoclastic acts and was then the whole church was looted and even damaged from outside. Between 1605 and 1630, when Catholicism was back in Antwerp, the church was rebuilt with some gothic elements. During both World Wars the church was again damaged and therefore in 1983 the church was renovated and added to the list of Belgian monuments.

There are some interesting sculptures standing in the garden of the church and valuable paintings from 17th and 18th century inside. There is also the marble tomb of Maria Anna of Berchem from 1663.

Saint Willebrorduskerk in Antwerpen

This church is built on the edge of the district called Seefhoek and Plantin Moretus Wijk. The church was constructed in 1886 to 1891 in the neogothic style and it is one of the biggest in Antwerp with the tower that is 81 meter high. As by Saint Eligius we can see the window at the church front in the shape of rose with 12 mozaic blades around the central point.

Also in this church one can find the painting of Rubens “Saint Willibrordus worshiping Maria”. This painting was given to the previous church in 1630.

Willibrord (658 – 739) is very popular Saint in Benelux. He was a Northumbrian missionary saint, known as the "Apostle to the Frisians" and also as ‘Apostle to Low Countries’ in the modern Netherlands. He became the first Bishop of Utrecht and died at Echternach, Luxembourg.

In 2009 the church renovation from outside have started and completed in 2010. At the time of this writing the renovation of interior is still ongoing.

Willibrordus Antwerpen

Saint Laurentius

Laurentius church

This church is not very old but the Saint Laurentius Parish exists since 1659. It was the first parish established by the Antwerp Bishop Ambrosius Capello outside the Spanish defensive walls. It was 200 years later when with new borders of Antwerp came this parish in 1860 within the Antwerp borders. 

At the beginning, was Saint Laurentius parish much bigger including the whole territory what is today the Federation Antwerp – South including not only Margrave Wijk but also Harmonie Wijk and Staatspark Wijk. Today there is 7 parishes at this part of Antwerp.

The choice of the patron, Saint Laurentius, was made to please the Spanish occupants of Antwerp in 17th century and in particular the Spanish soldiers. They used fire guns and their believed that as Saint Laurentius was burned he became the patron of fire including fire arms.

On the left the actual photo of the Saint Laurentius church seen from Margravelei.

The first church was built in this place in 1659 and in 1671 enlarged. The second church came in 1777. In 1814 was the second church destroyed to provide for more space for artillery fire.  In 1824 designed the famous architect Pierre Bruno Bourla a new church in neoclassical style. Pierre Bourla was buried in 1866 in the church graveyard. In 1892 is the Saint Laurentius church once more modernized with two west towers added at the front. 40 years later, in 1932 the church is demolished and in 1933/1934 the fourth church is constructed according to the plans of architect Huygh.

Saint Jozefkerk

The Saint Jozef church was originally the Rome - Catholic Church that was inaugurated in 1868. The church was built in neo-roman style due to the plans of the architect Eugeen Giffe. The church was constructed for the new parish in the wijk called Leopold’s Quarter. Many families of the military personnel were living in the neighborhood due to the military terrain and barracks situated in this parish. Therefore, in 1899 the church was enlarged and surrounded with wrought iron fence. In 1912 the new sacristy was added. In 1899 the church was enlarged and surrounded with wrought iron fence. In 1912 the new sacristy was added.

During the Second World War the church was seriously damaged but soon after in 1948 the church was urgently repaired. The original glass window ware replaced by new in 1965 showing all sacraments and 15 mysteries.

In 2000 the church was rented to Russian Orthodox Parish of the Birth of Christ (in 2000 was the 2000 year birthday of Jesus Christ). In 2004 Belgian government has officially recognized this Russian Orthodox Parish.

Saint Jozefkerk

Sint-Theresia van het Kind Jezus

Theresia Kind Christus

This church belongs to the youngest churches in Antwerp. Although the construction has begun in 1938 the church was completed after the WWII. This is parish church and this parish was first established short after the WWI.

At first it was small villa with garden and small chapel all that belong to Fathers Carmelites.  Not far from this place new industry has been started by Lieven Gevaert (today Agfa - Gevaert).  Despite low density of inhabitants in this area put the Cardinal Mercier the light on green asking Fathers Carmelites to collect for the church as many new families as possible. The new factory was certainly the helping factor.

In 1935 came new parish house and lots activities for younger generation as scouting, Chiro, KAJ and football club. Also for adults was something interesting organized to suit different tastes and preferences. The Fathers organized the groups of Woman Movements, Man Movements, Saint Theresa Choir and there was also the Parish Library.    

The garden of the Fathers became the Patershof open for the parish children and then for wider public. Patershof fests were organized with folk dancing, petanque, hand bow shooters and other activities. All the time it was very active parish of Antwerp. And it did not end yet.

Theresia Binnen

Few years ago the Polish Pater R. Kurowski joined the team and now, three times a week, Saturday 6.30 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. there is in this church Eucharist Celebration in the Polish language and the church is quite full with the polish Catholics living in Antwerp.