Saint Andrew’s Church
A short guide for a visit
Dear visitor, welcome to our homely parish church ‘Sint-Andrieskerk’! Even though this was once the ‘Parish of Misery’, the church still contains a number of gems from Antwerp’s artistic heritage which manage to surprise many visitors. Typical for these regions the church building is one in Gothic style with maniëristic paintings, baroque furniture and neogothic glass windows and, even more exceptionally, some contemporary additions. The light cast by the sun is very pleasant particularly in combination with the colours in the glass windows which inspired Vincent Van Gogh, among others. As a ‘house of God’ the Saint-Andrew’s church is an oasis of peace, partly thanks to the enthusiastic team of volunteers.
- The neighbouring street names
Refer to the history, the patron 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. and characteristics of the church: Augustijnenstraat, Sint-Andriesstraat and -plein (square), Pompstraat which refers to a pump originally on the cemetery, and the Waaistraat (Windy Street) seems aptly named at the feet of the church tower.
- (A) The tower
In 1755 the original Gothic tower collapses and is replaced by the baroque tower with an open wooden lantern. Its symbolic height (of 58 m) points us towards God; in Him men find – ultimately – their real destination. During the struggle for the Belgian independence the tower serves as lookout post for King Leopold I to keep an eye on the Dutch occupying forces in the South Castle. To avoid a repetition of the scenario in 1755, the lantern is rebuilt in 1968-‘75.
The founders of this oratory are the Augustinian fathers. In 1513 these monks established a 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.
which was the start of building a monasteryComplex of buildings in which members of a religious order live together. They follow the rule of their founder. The oldest monastic orders are the Carthusians, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians [and their female counterparts]. Note: Benedictines, Premonstratensians, and Cistercians [and their female counterparts] live in abbeys; Jesuits in houses. More and this church. Because of their sympathy for their protesting confriar Maarten Luther, Margareth of Austria, governor of the Netherlands, ordered the closing of the monastery in 1522 and one year later two monks were executed in Brussels.
In 1529 the building is consecrated as a parish church. Slowly, but surely, the parishioners overcome such damages as the iconoclasm of 1566, the demolition of the 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. and 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. by the Calvinist in 1581, and the collapse of the tower in 1755. They rebuilt and enlarged their church with a sense of beauty into a monumental ‘house of God’.
Not only the church and its patrimony survived the French Revolution thanks to a priestIn the Roman Catholic Church, the priest is an unmarried man ordained as a priest by the bishop, which gives him the right to administer the six other sacraments: baptism, confirmation, confession, Eucharist, marriage, and the anointing of the sick. who swore in favour of the Revolution, disobeying the Church, but also a number of works of art were re-used from former convents and churches, e.g. the baroque high altarThe 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. originated from the Cistercian AbbeyA set of buildings used by monks or nuns. Only Cistercians, Benedictines, Norbertines and Trappists have abbeys. An abbey strives to be self-sufficient. of Hemiksem. Even new baroque monuments were created, e.g. the pulpit and the Way of the Cross. In the 1970s the church’s restoration was undertaken.
- (B) The pulpit
The most popular attraction is the magnificent baroque pulpit, a masterpiece of J.-B. Van Hoof and J.-F. Van Geel (1821). It represents ‘life’ the vocation of the first two apostles: Andrew, the patron saint of this parish, and his brotherA male religious who is not a priest. Peter. As written in the gospelOne of the four books of the Bible that focus on Jesus’s actions and sayings, his death and resurrection. The four evangelists are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. ‘Gospel’ is the Old English translation of the Greek evangeleon, which literally means ‘Good News’. This term refers to the core message of these books. (Mt. 4:18-20), Jesus talked to Andrew and Peter while they worked as fishermen. They were called to follow Him and to become ‘fishers of mankind’. Without delay, but full of astonishment, they left their nets behind. The realistic reproduction of these people at life-size with their catch and equipment, boat and nets included, is amazing, all this is in the middle of a naturalistic surrounding of the massThe 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. of rocks and the vegetation. Artistically Christ cannot be closer to us… Is this radical reversal in the life of these two brothers, in the middle of their busy job, not an invitation for you to meditate about how to make sense of your life? It is a good place to pray for vocations.
- (C) Altar of the Holy Cross
Baroque portico altar with caryatides (C. Van Mildert, 1663); painting Calvary (Fr. Francken II, 1603); marble balustrade (J. A. Van den Cruyce I and II, 1672).
- (D) Monument of the Holy Cross
“If anyone wants to be a follower of Mine, let him take up his cross” (Mt. 16:24).
- (E) Altar of St.-Anna
Marmor portico altar (J. Van der Cruyce, 1673); painting The Family of St.-Anna (M. Pepijn?); marble balustrade (attributed to M. Van der Voort I, 1720?).
- (F) Organ
Baroque statues musician angels (G. Roefs, 1791); illustration God is a DJ (Dries Vanwijnsberghe, 2004).
- († 1-14) the Way of the Cross
The 14 stations are by different artists in romantic baroque style (1845-‘57). The reflections of the accompanying texts may appeal to visitors like you directly…
- (G) Glass windows southern naveThe rear part of the church which is reserved for the congregation. The nave extends to the transept.
The election of Mary, Neo-Gothic (Stalins & Janssens, J.-B. Béthune, years 1870), The adoration of the shepherds (J. Huet, 1965)
- (H) Silver relicA remnant of the body of a saint or a (part of) an object that has been in contact with a saint, Jesus, or Mary. The very first sanctuaries were built on graves of saints. Remnants of these saints were distributed to other churches and chapels. The first altars were usually the sarcophagi of the saints. Hence the custom of placing relics under the altar stone. Relics are also kept in shrines, and sometimes displayed in reliquaries. shrineA decorated casket in which a relic is preserved. of the 36 Saints
(J. Verschuylen, 1845), to be carried in the procession.
- (I) Glass windows northern nave
Together with the glass window in the northern transept they form the series of the Seven Sacraments (Jan Huet, 1963-‘66). Below are mostly some old-testament prefigurations.
- (J) The statue of St. Peter (Arthus I Quellin)
White marble (ca.1658). The face of Peter psychologically interprets the profound but also affected struggles of his pangs of conscience masterfully, in this case, particularly for the denial his friend Jesus (Mt. 26:75). The cock on Peter’s feet reminds us of Jesus’ prediction: “this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times” (Mt. 26:34). Self-preservation versus friendship: the endless struggle! To defend his friendship and his trust in Jesus, the holy Peter is finally prepared to die on the cross; therefore he embraces the (reversed) cross.
- (K) Choir
Oriented to the rising sun, symbol of Jesus’ Light
* The monumental high altar (W.I. Kerricx, ca.1729)
The baroque altarpieces grow almost into theatrical performances with ‘living’ three-dimensional sculptured figures. Here you see a permanent performance of the Madonna in all her glory: the Assumption of MaryThis feast – on August 15 – plays an important role in the veneration of Mary as the Mother of God. As the most important saint, it is obvious to Christians that upon her death she was immediately received into the heavenly paradise. In the Eastern Churches, this is called the feast of “the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God”, i.e. her death, which immediately means a heavenly rebirth. In Antwerp they also celebrate Mother’s Day on that day. Some people also call this the Ascension of Mary, which is wrong. Unlike Jesus, who as God Himself could return to the place where He is at home, Mary could only be taken up to heaven through God the Father and Jesus.. Mary, surrounded by angels who pull her along in an upward movement to heaven, is the outstanding example for humans on their way in this life, looking forward after death (and funeral) to coming home definitively to God in heaven. The Hebrew tetragram for ‘God’ is in a triangle, symbolising God as ‘Holy Trinity’. The lowest part is made from marble, the higher part above the cornice is… of (plastered) wood.
The origin of this altar from the old cistercian St. Bernard abbey in Hemiksem is indicated by the two founders of the Cistercian order, with an abbot’s staff: Robert of Molesmes with a model of a church, and Bernard of Clairvaux with a beehive because of his popularity as a preacherA priest, deacon or lay person who explains the Bible readings during the celebration of Mass. Sometimes a preacher also acts outside of Mass celebrations (and in the past he did so regularly) to clarify certain points of faith and to encourage the churchgoers to a more Christian way of life., nicknamed: “the honey-sweet teacher”. On the reliefs (P. Verbrugghen I, 1665) on the lowest part of the altar, a group of delightful angels bring the liturgical objects (from left to right): the ampoules and the bell, the water jug, the grapes and the chaliceGilded metal cup, usually on a base, which the priest uses for the wine during the Eucharist., the spikes, the incense and the missalBook containing the liturgical prayers for the day, which are read by the priest during mass..
* The martyrdom of Saint-Andrew
Painting of the previous high altar (Otto Van Veen, 1594-‘99). His pupil then, P.P. Rubens, will transform this subject 40 years later in one dynamic drama. The modello is kept in the Treasury.
* The baptismal fontThe 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.
Here the famous Flemish authors Hendrik Conscience (1812) and Lode Zielens (1903) received the Christian baptismThrough 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. More.
* Choir stallsA series of seats, usually in wood, along the long sides of the choir. These seats are reserved for those who pray and sing the choir prayers. (end 16th C.)
* The panels of the 36 Saints
(Th. Boeyermans, 17th C.). Near them are some contemporary saints; do you notice a new candidate for holiness in the mirror?
* The guardian angel
Painting (Erasmus Quellinus II, 1667). Mistress Fortune seduces a young man in three ways: she offers him the laurel crown of prestige and a golden crown of power and indicates with a sceptre the richness in sacks full of golden coins.
- (M), Chapel of the Blessed SacramentThe 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.
On the south side, symbol of Jesus’ warm love; baroque portico altar (attributed to L. Willemsens), painting The Last Supper (P. Ykens, ca.1687).
- (P) Monument of the ladies of the court of Mary Stuart
(Sculpture by R. and J. de Nole, 1620), portrait Mary Stuart (attributed to Fr. Pourbus II). The catholic Scottish queen Mary Stuart was executed in 1587 by her enemy Elisabeth I. Two of her ladies in court who escaped to Antwerp, wanted to commemorate their queen in their epitaph here (1620).
- (Q) Monument for souls in purgatory
Painted wood (P. Scheemaeckers, 1710), stimulating the solidarity in prayer with the dead who suffer because their striving for good on earth had not been sufficient.
- (R) A series of shoes
Ordered by size, represents the path of life from birth to …
- (S) the monument for the dead
“I will give water from the well of everlasting life free to anybody who is thirsty” (Apoc. 21:6).
- (T) Monument of the Augustinians – Protestant Martyrs in 1523
“BlessedUsed of a person who has been beatified. Beatification precedes canonisation and means likewise that the Church recognises that this deceased person has lived a particularly righteous and faithful life. Like a saint, he/she may be venerated (not worshipped). Some beatified people are never canonised, usually because they have only a local significance. are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Mt. 5:10). In difficult and confusing times they too preached the word of Christ.
- (U) Altar of Saint-Eligius of the minters
Painting (Maarten de Vos, 1601): central panel The question to Jesus about the tribute to Caesar (Mt. 22:15-22), a temporary reproduction of Agfa-Gevaert; outside panels: The avarice of egoism versus The generosity of charity. The painting on the north wall also refers to this virtue: The Acts of Charity (Fr. Francken II, ca.1600-‘20).
- (V) Chapel of Our Lady
On the right of the cross shape ground plan
* Statue of Our-Lady of Support and Victory (end 16th C.)
Devotional name since 1689, after the relief of cities like Vienna from the Turks. The statue possesses an extensive wardrobe because of the alternation in liturgical coloursThe colour of the chasuble, the dalmatic, and the stole, among others, varies according to the time of year. The main liturgical colours are:
green: this is the standard colour
purple: in times of penance and expectation, i.e. Advent and Lent
white: on the high feasts such as Christmas and Easter
red: on the feasts of the Holy Spirit [such as Pentecost and confirmation] and on special feasts of martyrs.
. Most of the cloaks are from the 18th C., one magnificent goldbrodured cloak is from 1863. A contemporary elegant dress (Ann Demeulemeester, 2001) illustrates that Mary, ‘authentic and transparent as she was’, remains an example for modern people.
* ConfessionalA piece of furniture that was especially designed to facilitate the sacrament of confession, especially by avoiding that confessor and penitent come face to face. To the left and right are kneeling pews for penitents; in the middle is a small booth where the confessor sits. Both are separated from each other by a partition with a grid, so that the confessor can hear the penitent, but cannot see him / her.
(Attributed to L. Willemssens, 17th C.). The intended reconciliation is represented by two angels, kissing each other.
* Glass window
Our-Lady of Support for those in trouble at sea (H. Dobbelaere, 1866, but intensively restored after the explosion of 1945) that inspired Vincent Van Gogh in 1886.
- (X) Treasury
Themes: jewels as a gift for Our Lady, the veneration of saints, the procession.
- The late baroque porches (Z)
Bid you farewell: “Go in peace”, “The Lord be with you”. Hopefully your visit in this ‘house of God’ brought you more inner peace and joy.