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The Our Lady’s Cathedral of Antwerp, a revelation.

How a monument follows history

  GENERAL HISTORY HISTORY OUR LADY’S CATHEDRAL
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Jesus is born in Bethlehem 4 BC
Jesus is crucified in Jerusalem
Apostles spread Jesus’ message
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Edict of Milan: freedom of worship for Christians 313
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Eloy, Amand and Willibrord act as missionaries in Antwerp 7th century First small church devoted to Saints Peter and Paul
Viking raids 837 Repaired church devoted to Saint Michael
Godfrey of Bouillon’s crusade 1095-1099 (later) legend of the Holy Prepuce
1e half
11th century
(pre-Romanesque) Our Lady’s Chapel
1124 Foundation of Saint Michael’s Abbey
Ca. 1130 Our Lady’s Chapel becomes a collegiate parish church
1275 Construction of Romanesque Our Lady’s church
1289 A Gothic chapel is added
1352-1413 Construction of the Gothic church choir
1398 Annual big procession on the Sunday after 15th August
Ca. 1420 Foundations of the Northern tower
1422 Construction of the Northern tower; building site levelled up
Ca. 1430 Foundations of the Southern tower; building site levelled up
1455-1482 Extension with a 5th and 6th aisle.: Chapels of Our Lady and the parish
1460 Construction of Our Lady’s cloisters for art trade
1469 Consecration of the parish chapel
1478 Founding of the Guild of Praise to Our Lady
1482-1487 Romanesque Northern tower pulled down
Construction of the chapter’s sacristy, library and chaplains’ sacristy
Maximilian of Austria gives privileges to Antwerp 1488
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Christopher Columbus in America 1492 Nave and Southern transept accomplished
Trade treaties with England 1496, 1502
1503 Burgundian and English stained glass window in the magistrate’s chapel
Martin Luther makes his theses public in Wittenberg 1517
1518-(1521) Northern tower accomplished
1521 Emperor Charles V lays the foundation Stone of the ‘New Work’
1533 Nave destroyed by fire;
restoration of the nave; the ‘New Work’ is stopped
1534 Crowning of the crossing
Council of Trent 1545-1563
1556 Chapter of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Founding of the Antwerp diocese 1559 Our Lady’s Church becomes Our Lady’s Cathedral
Iconoclast Fury 1566 Interior destroyed
Calvinistic rule in Antwerp 1577-1585
Catholic service ‘suspended’ 1581 Church requisitioned for the Calvinists: interior ‘purified’
Farnese reconquers Antwerp for the Spanish authorities 1585 Church is consecrated anew for Catholic worship
After 1585 Restoration of the altars; triptychs are commissioned
Twelve Year’s Truce 1609-1621
1609-1610 Raising of the Cross (P.P. Rubens)
1611-1612 Funeral Monument Jan Moretus with The Resurrection (P.P. Rubens)
1611-1614 Descent from the Cross (P.P. Rubens)
1613-1614 The nave is vaulted
1625-1626 High altar: Our Lady’s Assumption (P.P. Rubens)
1647 Crossing: Our Lady’s assumption (Cornelis Schut)
Joseph II of Austria forbids burials in churches and urban centres 1784
Joseph II of Austria: brotherhoods are abolished 1786 New graveyards at Stuivenberg and Kiel
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French Revolution 1789
1791 The ‘Green Churchyard’ is cleared
Southern Netherlands occupied and 1794 Church silver is sold as war tax and Rubens’s paintings are requisitioned as war tribute and sent to the Louvre
incorporated by France:
anti-Catholic legislation
1795
Nationalization of churches by the French 1797 Chapter abolished
1797-1798 Paintings are deported to École Centrale
Furniture sold
Jan Blom is ordered to make plans to demolish the church
May 1800 Demolition plans are stopped
concordat Pius VII and Napoleon:
including abolition of the Antwerp diocese
1801 Re-opening as parish church;
Loses the title ‘cathedral’
From 1801 old church Furniture is bought
Dutch RuleNederlands Bewind 1814-1830
Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo 18/06/1815
1816
Confiscated paintings return from Paris:
a.o. Raising of the Cross and Descent from the Cross (P.P. Rubens)
1822-1824 Neo-Classicist high altar by Jan Blom
1824-1825 (neo-)Baroque side altars in the chapels of Our Lady and the Holy Sacrament
Belgium’s independencyonafhankelijkheid van België 1830
2nd half
19th century
Restoration and refurbishing in neo-Gothic style:
a.o. choir stalls, side altars, stained glass windows
1887 Our Lady’s Chapel (Schoenmarkt) is bought
1891 Schijven organ
First World War 1914-1918 Hardly any damage
Olympic Games in Antwerp 1920 Opening speeches Olympic Games
1924 Altar of Our Lady of Peace
Second World War 1940-1945 Very little damage to stained glass windows at the south end
Antwerp diocese is re-established 1961 Again ‘Cathedral’
1973-1983 restoration of the interior: nave
1983-1993 restoration of the interior: transepts and choir
Antwerp ’93: Cultural Capital of Europe 1993
1993-2014 restoration of the interior: ambulatory
2009 Msgr. Bonny: 22nd bishop of Antwerp
2014 Inner garden protected as valuable archaeological site