Chapel of Our Lady of Refuge
Also known as the Shoemakers’ Chapel
Dear Visitor. Welcome in the oasis of quietness and prayer at the Schoenmarkt (Shoe Market). Because of its location the Antwerpians know this place of worship as the Little Shoemakers’
A small church that is not a parish church. It may be part of a larger entity such as a hospital, school, or an alms-house, or it may stand alone.
An enclosed part of a church with its own altar.
, even though it has nothing to do with this trade. The usage of ‘little’ illustrates the sympathy a lot of Antwerpians have for this oasis of prayer. The chapel is bathed in an atmosphere of popular devotion: constantly candles are lit, the The altar is the central piece of furniture used in the Eucharist. Originally, an altar used to be a sacrificial table. This fits in with the theological view that Jesus sacrificed himself, through his death on the cross, to redeem mankind, as symbolically depicted in the painting “The Adoration of the Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers. In modern times the altar is often described as “the table of the Lord”. Here the altar refers to the table at which Jesus and his disciples were seated at the institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper. Just as Jesus and his disciples did then, the priest and the faithful gather around this table with bread and wine. is always buried by flowers, ex-votos have been placed on the walls. All this because the chapel is devoted to Jesus’ mother Mary: officially the chapel of Our Lady’s Nativity or of Our Lady of Refuge. It is a refuge for everybody, whatever the need, rank, social class or age may be. Only because till the 1970’s quite a few prostitutes of the town centre came here to say their prayers, the nickname ‘Whore’s Chapel’ also came into use.
It is with great regret that we have to close the Schoenmakerskapel indefinitely from 4 July 2022, as we cannot sufficiently guarantee the safety of the chapel. During the closure, we will carry out the necessary work to be able to reopen this space of devotion in a safe manner.
In the meantime, everyone is welcome to come to the The main church of a diocese, where the bishop’s seat is. to light a candle, pray or celebrate The liturgical celebration in which the Eucharist is central. It consists of two main parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The main parts of the Liturgy of the Word are the prayers for mercy, the Bible readings, and the homily. The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the offertory, whereby bread and wine are placed on the altar. This is followed by the Eucharistic Prayer, during which the praise of God is sung, and the consecration takes place. Fixed elements are also the praying of the Our Father and a wish for peace, and so one can symbolically sit down at the table with Jesus during Communion. Mass ends with a mission (the Latin missa, from which ‘Mass’ has been derived): the instruction to go out into the world in the same spirit.. Celebrations will be held on weekdays at 4 pm in the Venerable Chapel, on Saturdays at 4 pm and 5.30 pm (English) in the The space between the two central series of pillars of the nave., and on Sundays at 10 am and 12 pm, also in the central The rear part of the church which is reserved for the congregation. The nave extends to the transept..