Saint Andrew’s Church
The high altar
Marble; reliefs below: Peter I Verbrugghen, 1665; statues: Willem Ignatius Kerricx, 1729
The eye-catcher in this church is the baroque marble 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., which fills the entire width of the presbytery. Originally it was in the former 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 St. Bernard in Hemiksem near Antwerp. After the abbey had been abolished by the French Revolutionary Regime it was shipped on the Scheldt to its present destination. The colossus only fitted tightly.
Its origins are shown from depictions of the two founders of the Cistercian order: on the right 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. Robert of Molesmes with a church model, on the left Saint Bernard of Clairvaux – the spiritual driving force of the order, with … a beehive. His popular sermons added to his nickname ‘the honeytongued teacher’.
We witness a genuine theatre performance: filled with awe life-size figures express their astonishment at 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., who is in the centre of the halo of God’s glory. In Summer this altar is playfully lit until dusk, bringing each figure spectacularly to life.
The marble reliefs depict the EucharistThis is the ritual that is the kernel of Mass, recalling what Jesus did the day before he died on the cross. On the evening of that day, Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover with his disciples. After the meal, he took bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat. This is my body.” Then he took the cup of wine, gave it to his disciples and said, “Drink from this. This is my blood.” Then Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” During the Eucharist, the priest repeats these words while breaking bread [in the form of a host] and holding up the chalice with wine. Through the connection between the broken bread and the “broken” Jesus on the cross, Jesus becomes tangibly present. At the same time, this event reminds us of the mission of every Christian: to be “broken bread” from which others can live.: on the central panel a historical reference to the Last Supper, with a sumptuous 17th century table setting; at the sides adoring putti and angels joyously carry wine, grapes, and ears of corn for the sacred meal. Do you see the two angels providing the liturgical instruments for the hand-washing and incensing?