Saint Willibrordus Church
A brief survey
The monumental SaintThis is a title that the Church bestows on a deceased person who has lived a particularly righteous and faithful life. In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, saints may be venerated (not worshipped). Several saints are also martyrs. Willibrord’s church in the Antwerp ‘Seefhoek’ backs on a nearly 750 years old history. The first Saint Willibrord’s Chapel
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.
to be built on this site dates back to the 13th century. The actual church, 7th in a row, is consecratedIn the Roman Catholic Church, the moment when, during the Eucharist, the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus, the so-called transubstantiation, by the pronouncement of the sacramental words. More in 1891 and denominated after Saint Willibrod, missionary to our region in the 7th – 8th centuries.
This grand, late 19th-century artwork is a realization of the architect brothers Leonard and Henry Blomme. They build in the prevailing neo-Gothic style that leans on the ideas of the French architect Viollet-le-Duc. The exterior and interior give hereof a harmonious synthesis. The strikingly slender 84 m high tower dominates the surrounding streets. The floor plan of this north-south oriented church is a three-aisled basilicaA rectangular building consisting of a central nave with a side aisle on each side. On the short side opposite the entrance, there is a round extension, the apse, where the altar is located. The Antwerp Saint Charles Borromeo church is based on this basilica structure.
An honorary title awarded to a church because of its special significance, for example as a place of pilgrimage. There are 29 basilicas in Belgium, the best known of which are the Basilica of Scherpenheuvel and the Basilica of Koekelberg. Worldwide this is Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. These churches do not have the architectural form of a basilica.
. The impressive choirIn a church with a cruciform floor plan, the part of the church that lies on the side of the nave opposite to the transept. The main altar is in the choir. is enclosed by a beautiful wrought iron fence that connects to a large ambulatoryProcessional way around the chancel, to which choir chapels and radiating chapels, if any, give way. with side choirs and chapels. The naveThe rear part of the church which is reserved for the congregation. The nave extends to the transept. has a threefold uprising with lancet arches, fully encircling triforium and stained glass.
The sculpture of the structural parts, the confessionals and communionThe consumption of consecrated bread and wine. Usually this is limited to eating the consecrated host. rails is beautiful work by Jan Gerrits. In the side choirs dedicated to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart the neo-Gothic vault and wall paintings are remarquable. The uniform neo-Gothic interior also offers a wide variety of artwork. The altars, the pulpit and most neo-Gothic sculptures are nice sculpture work by J.B. De Boeck and J.B. Van Wint. The altars are also embellished with copper work by Lambert Van Rijswijck. In the Saint-Roch chapel we find a painted altarpiecePainted and/or carved back wall of an altar placed against a wall or pillar. Below the retable there is sometimes a predella. More of Joseph Janssens. Albert Poels and Alfons De Roeck placed around 1940 four striking statues of saints against the pillars of the crossingThe central point of a church with a cruciform floor plan. The crossing is the intersection between the longitudinal axis [the choir and the nave] and the transverse axis [the transept]..
A number of works from the former Willibrord’s Church are still present, among them; the 15th-century statue of Our Lady with the Grapes, with her wonderful wardrobe, and the painting of P. P. Rubens, Willibrord adoring the Holy Family. The four votive paintings in the transeptThe transept forms, as it were, the crossbeam of the cruciform floor plan. The transept consists of two semi transepts, each of which protrudes from the nave on the left and right. are unique in Antwerp.
The late 19th-century neo-Gothic stained glass windows come from the most renowned glass artist studios: Stalins & Janssens, Jules Dobbelaere and Joseph Osterrath. In 1933, two special by Eugeen Yoors are added hereto.
The epitaph monument for painter Cornelis Schut (mid-17th century) occupies a special place. Finally, the church has two Ways of the Cross, a 19th century painting by Edward Dujardin, and a 20th-century sculptured by Nestor Gerrits.