The Our Lady’s Cathedral of Antwerp, a revelation.
The parish church
From the very beginning the uttermost southern Lengthwise the nave [in exceptional cases also the transept] of the church is divided into aisles. An aisle is the space between two series of pillars or between a series of pillars and the outer wall. Each aisle is divided into bays. was meant to be the parish church, which explains why it is as wide as the The space between the two central series of pillars of the nave.. In this part of the church used to be the parish 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., the pulpit and the The stone or metal vessel containing holy water, used for administering baptism. Often the baptismal font is/was located in a specially designed baptistery, usually close to the entrance of the church.. To it also belonged a private The room where the priest(s), the prayer leader(s) and the altar server(s) and/or acolyte(s) prepare and change clothes for Mass. and the ‘Table of the Holy Spirit’. Until 1640 the churchwardens had their meeting room close to the
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.
. This room is now the sacristy of the Venerable Chapel. It could be that in the 16th century the first confessionals were here, but afterwards most of them were in the Processional way around the chancel, to which choir chapels and radiating chapels, if any, give way.. In the 17th century one of the annexes was made into as a ‘wedding choir’: a private chapel in the form of a citizen’s room with more intimacy for the matrimonial ceremony, which then was usually done in front of a small group of people. Moreover, the panelling provided for more warmth than could be found in the large church.
The parish altar
For their services the parish had a private parish altar (In 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. in 1469). Close to it were the churchwardens’ stalls. In 1621, a few years after the division into the Our Lady’s Parish North and South in 1614, this altar was abolished and this space became part of the The consecrated host, in which the presence of Jesus Christ is acknowledged. A synonym is ‘the Venerable’. In larger churches a chapel is dedicated to it, usually on the south side of the church. Chapel. Probably the services continued there.
The crossing altar
Because the All the canons attached to a cathedral or other important church, which is then called a collegiate church. In religious orders, this is also the meeting of the religious, in a chapter house, with participants having ‘a voice in the chapter’. had been abolished in 1801 and the In 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. screen had been demolished, there was free play to as
sign the newly to be built altar to the parish community. Before, tens of masses were celebrated at as many altars, but now the new high altar by Jan Blom (1824) had to serve for a few Masses on Sundays and days of feast, which were attended by large crowds filling the entire central The rear part of the church which is reserved for the congregation. The nave extends to the transept..
When in 1993 the restoration of the choir had been finished the community idea – an important emphasis of the Second Vatican A large meeting of ecclesiastical office holders, mainly bishops, presided by the pope, to make decisions concerning faith, church customs, etc. A council is usually named after the place where it was held. Examples: the Council of Trent [1645-1653] and the Second Vatican Council [1962-1965], which is also the last council for the time being. – could be given shape more definitively in a marble table altar. For this the precious silver Literally: “something hanging in front”. An ornament placed in front of the altar and usually covering it completely. An antependium can be made of various materials: silver (as in Antwerp cathedral), wood but also textiles. In the latter case it is sometimes adapted to the liturgical colours. with Our Lady’s birth, by Jan Verschuylen (1865), was borrowed from the so-called Shoemakers’ Chapel, in Schoenmarkt, devoted to Our Lady of Refuge. When bathing in the light of the setting sun falling through the stained glass mesh work in the west front, the antependium seems to turn into gold.
The baptistery used to be in the west end of the uttermost southern aisle. Because of the General name for the typical clothing of a particular religious order.
A long-sleeved, unbuttoned robe down to the feet, usually with a hood attached. This attire is typical of monks and nuns.
to baptize as soon after birth as possible, also during the night, the baptistery was easily accessible near the entrance of the church, here the side entrance under the southern tower. This position was a result of the Catholic theology of those days, which stated that one had to be baptised first before being part of the church community and entering the church building. In the present bookshop the reliefs of two keystones (between 1430 and 1469) remind us of this original function: The Through this sacrament, a person becomes a member of the Church community of faith. The core of the event is a ritual washing, which is usually limited to sprinkling the head with water. Traditionally baptism is administered by a priest, but nowadays it is often also done by a deacon. of Christ and an Angel holding Jesus’s robe.
Because the almoners liked to have their chapel near their other rooms by the southern aisle, the baptistery was moved to the end of the opposite uttermost northern aisle, near the entrance under the northern tower. Among those who were baptised there in 1599 was Antony van Dyck. When in 1614 the parish was split up into Our Lady’s North and South, the existing baptistery was simply divided into two, with two separate doors, but preserving the one baptismal A small basin at the entrance of a church, containing holy water so that the faithful may sprinkle themselves with it when entering the church, while making the sign of the cross, as a symbol of outward and inward cleansing., which could be used by each from one’s own side.
Now the baptismal font is in the centre of the church, opposite the pulpit. According to the theology of the Second Vatican Council, which focuses more on the Church as a community, you become part of the church community by being baptised, in answer to the word of Jesus that was spoken to you.