The Carolus Borromeus Church, Antwerp, Belgium

The old town of Antwerp has several architectural gems studded along its criss-crossing lanes around Grote Market. We toured through several of them. The Carolus Borromeus Church was one of them. This was built by the Jesuits from 1615 until 1621.

To fully understand the significance and appearance of this building, one has to know the historical context of the period when it was built: the city had just been secured by the Crown within its possessions after the siege of 1589 and all the Protestants had been forced out. At the same time, the recognition of the independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands led to the closure of the Scheldt to commerce and, with it, to the end of Antwerp’s economic prosperity. Thus, in this period of crisis and religion wars, the new eye-catching building was erected a sign of the vigor of the Catholic Church as opposed to the Calvinism. The prestigious project had just one purpose; to get people back to church. 

The church had several paintings which unfortunately got destroyed in a major fire in 1718, after it was struck by lightning. The central painting that you can see above the main altar is changed from time to time. It is said the mechanism with which it is done today is the same original one and is still working well, though I could not witness the changing procedure.

The new interiors have beautiful wood carvings and sculptures. Eight confessional boxes are built in the paneling of the side walls. The confessing chairs I saw here are some of the finest ones, very unique!


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26 Responses

  1. Such opulent,extravagant & ornate interiors ! Amazing !

  2. Carver says:

    Excellent shots of the beautiful church and its art. Fascinating information too.

  3. Sylvia K says:

    A magnificent church and terrific captures as always! The art work is beautiful! And, as I tell you every week, I do love the history that you include, Indrani, it's fascinating and makes your photos even more interesting! Hope you have a great week!


  4. love the history and the photos Indrani…the detail in the wood carving is amazing and I wonder how they change the is a mystery!

  5. magiceye says:

    exquisite work beautifully captured

  6. kanak7 says:

    A joy to see these images! So beautiful!

  7. George says:

    What a marvelous building. The interior is magnificent.

  8. ladyfi says:

    Wow – fabulous interiors!

  9. sujata says:

    Churches have always fascinated me. You have captured the images beautifully. Congratulations on the exhibition Indrani! way to go!!

  10. ashok says:

    really fascinating

  11. Gary says:

    Stunning interior!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  12. NixBlog says:

    Antwerp is wonderful. Lovely captures of this magnificent church, Indrani.

  13. Context counts. This art is rich in passion!

  14. arabesque says:

    i love how the ceiling's gilded in its finest details esp. the last piece where you focus on its craftsmanship.
    just beautiful. ^0^

  15. Pietro says:

    Magnificent church, great details in your pictures Indrani!

  16. Vetrimagal says:

    Lovely Church. I am just imagining about the people, who flocked to those places and prayed.

    The country is full of enthusiasm to preserve its best places. Great indeed.

    Lovely shots ! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Gattina says:

    Of course I know this church, but never interested in its history ! I have to go to India to learn more about it, lol !

  18. Genie says:

    The idea they can change the artwork is amazing. You have to wonder how they do it. The wooden carvings/sculptures are beautiful. Such an impressive piece of architecture. genie

  19. Fun60 says:

    Those carvings are quite incredible. Thanks for adding the history, it makes the photos so much more interesting.

  20. Ceiling is beautiful!

  21. Leovi says:

    Great pictures, very pretty church.

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