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

Antwerp's St Andrew's Church, a revelation.

The confessionals and enclosed porches

In order to support the private character of the conversation of confession the Council of Trent (1545-1563) created a new piece of furniture: the confessional. The parishioners can confess to a priest of their choice: the vicar, assistant priest, chaplain or a visiting priest.

In 1628 there were two confessionals in each aisle; they were the work of Filip Van Muysvelt. Later they were replaced by specimens of the open type, in Classicist late Baroque style: work of carpenter Frans Van Overdeput, with sculptures by Willem Roefs and Michael Ignatius D’Heur in the southern aisle (1773-1776) and by Willem Roefs only in the northern aisle. In the front, by the confessor’s cubicle, the confessionals have four square pillars, while the side compartments are flanked by flat, hollow (!) pillars, all of which are of the composite order, in which the Corinthian and Ionic order are mixed. After the Baroque custom these pieces of furniture have been incorporated into a continual panelling. The third confessionals, which the Van Mierlo brothers added in each aisle around 1895, are identical in construction, style and decorative details to the older ones.

Near the side altars in each aisle seats have been made in the panelling for the governors of the brotherhoods concerned.

End 18th century the two entrances to the transepts were given monumental Classicist Baroque enclosed porches. They are each other’s counterpart. They are decorated with medallions with a bust of an apostle. In the south patron saint Andrew is given the place of honour and below it he is flanked by Peter and Paul. In the north Saint James the Great is accompanied by John and Simon.