Antwerp, Churches and Tourism
Tourism Pastoral, Diocese of Antwerp (TOPA vzw)

Saint Paul’s, the Antwerp Dominican church, a revelation

Saint Dominic, the founder of the order,
and the Dominican Order

Dominic’s identity card

born: between 1171 and 1173 in Claruega, in the bishopric of Osma (Castile, Spain).
parents: Felix de Guzmán and Juana de Aza.
name: de Guzmán, as a canon also ‘de Osma’, after his official residence.
first name: Domenico (‘of the Lord’; Latin: ‘Dominicus’).
education: since the age of 14 higher education in  arts, discussion, theology and Biblical studies in Palencia.
social position: nobleman by birth, since 1196 canon in Osma, ordained a priest
voyages: When he returned from Rome with his bishop, he helped the latter to convert the Albigensians in the south of France. After his bishop’s death in 1207 this remained his most important mission.
founder: In 1215 he founded the order of Preachers (predicatores), from the insight that heretical movements flourish due to lack of popular education and pastors.
writings: strangely enough none has been preserved, with the exception of a few letters.
death: 6th August 1221 in Bologna, where his relics rest.
canonisation: 1234
Saint’s day: Because the day of Dominic’s death was the feast of Jesus’ transfiguration on Mount Tabor, before Vatican II he was celebrated on 4th August; now he is on 8th August. The Epistle of that day is a passage from  Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy (4:1-8) about the true gospel.
apostolic mission: According to the legend Paul appeared to him in a vision and gave him this commission: “Preach the word of God, Dominic, for this task I have elected you”. On his voyages Dominic carried the Gospel according to Saint Matthew and the Epistles of Saint Paul.
Tympan at Veemarkt
Domini canem
Domini Canem
a clergyman: the tonsure of clerical status.
a Dominican: the white habit and the black cloak of the Dominican order.
a teacher: book, which refers to his theological formation and teaching; hence not specifically the Bible.
a proclaimer of the faith: the (legendary) torch dog and the globe. Shortly before the birth of her son Dominic’s mother Aza dreamt that  she would give life to a small dog bearing a torch in its mouth with which it would put the entire world ablaze. Due to this legend the (later black and white spotted) dog has become one of the most important attributes of Saint Dominic.

How popular the torch dog as Dominic’s attribute is, is shown  from the fact that in the part of the Antwerp Dominican church that is open to the public the dog accompanies the founder of the order no less than 16 times. There even used to be dogs on the tower..

founder of the order: the constitution book of the order.
star on his front: According to the legend, when lifting him from the baptismal font, his godmother saw a brilliant star on small Dominic’s front lending lustre to the entire world.
chaste: lily. In the alleluia verse of his saint’s day the reference to the Messiah  (Hosea 14) can also be applied to Dominic: “he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar.”
penance: scourge, sometimes a chain and a stone.
worshipper of Mary: Dominic receives the rosary out of Our Lady’s hands: an image cherry picked by the Dominicans to promote devotion to the rosary.
Dogs in Saint Paul's church

The Dominican Order

name: The Order of the Preachers, which was approved of by Pope Honorius III in his bull in 1216: Ordo Predicatorum, abbreviated as ‘o.p.’.

Initially they were commonly called ‘Preachers’.

Because most of them were priests, later they were generally called ‘predikheren’ (‘Friars Preachers’) in the Low Countries.

surname: Only after Dominic’s death the Friars Preacher were also called Dominicans, after their founder.

The surname ‘Jacobins’ refers to the Dominican convent in Paris, named after the already existing chapel, ‘Saint-Jacques’, of which the theological school was at the top of all Dominican trainings. Because the French revolutionaries had meetings there they were also called ‘Jacobins’. Because of the negative connotation the word was no longer used to refer to Dominicans after the French Revolutionary Rule.

motto: ‘Veritas’ (truth).
device: ‘Laudare, benedicere, praedicare’ (praising, blessing, preaching) typifies the order, which concentrates on prayer, administration of sacraments and preaching.
blazon: The eight pointed star is black and white due to the colours of the habit. In the middle of it there is a dog with a burning torch in its mouth.
habit: Inside the convent the Dominican wears a white habit, outside he wears a black cloak over it.
reputation: Since the mission of the Dominicans was to defend Catholic faith against heresy, the Dominicans were the leaders of Inquisition (‘Investigation’).
3 orders: first order: brothers, to be distinguished into priests (‘friars) and lay brothers

second order: women monastics (contemplative nuns).

third order: the lay order, groups of both men and women that depend on a convent of the first order. Famous members were Catharina of Siena and Rosa of Lima; in those days however they did wear the sisters’ habit.