Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

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thumb The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (Template:Lang-fr, Template:Lang-nl<ref name=GCatholic/>) is a Roman Catholic church at the Treurenberg Hill in Brussels, Belgium. It serves as the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels.<ref name=GCatholic>GCatholic.org: Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula</ref>

History

In 1047, Lambert II, Count of Leuven founded a chapter in this church and organized the transportation of the relics of Saint Gudula, housed before then in Saint Gaugericus Church on Saint-Géry Island. The patron saints of the church, archangel St. Michael and the martyr St. Gudula, are also the patron saints of the city of Brussels. In the thirteenth century, the cathedral was renovated in the Gothic style. The choir was constructed between 1226 and 1276. The façade was completed in the mid-fifteenth century.

Features

The south tower contains a 49-bell carillon by the Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry on which Sunday concerts are often given. The dimensions of the building are: overall length Template:Convert, implementedTemplate:Clarify length Template:Convert, exterior width at the choir Template:Convert, interior width Template:Convert, height of towers Template:Convert.

The nave has all the characteristics of the Brabantine Gothic style: the four-part vaults are moderately high and the robust cylindrical columns that line the central aisle of the nave are topped with capitals in the form of cabbage leaves. Statues of the 12 apostles are attached to the columns. These statues date from the 17th century and were created by sculptors Lucas Faydherbe, Jerôme Duquesnoy (II), Johannes van Mildert and Tobias de Lelis, all renowned sculptors of their time. The statues replaced those destroyed by the iconoclasts in 1566.

Falcons in the cathedral

At the end of the nineties, Brussels ornithologists discovered a couple of peregrine falcons hibernating on top of the towers of the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in the centre of Brussels. In 2001, ornithologists of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) in association with the Fonds d’Intervention pour les Rapaces installed a laying-nest on the edifice in an attempt to encourage nest-building. This laying-nest was never used, but in the spring of 2004, a pair of falcons nested on a balcony on top of the cathedral’s northern tower. At the beginning of March, the female laid three beautiful eggs. According to the ornithologists, this was the first time that this magnificent bird nested in Brussels.

As a result of watching the three chicks perform acrobatic feats on the cathedral’s gargoyles at the end of May 2004, the project “Falcons for everyone” was developed by the RBINS in association with the Commission Ornithologique de Watermael-Boitsfort. Thanks to the project the general public can now enjoy this display of nature’s beauty in an extraordinary setting for the seventh year in a row.

In order to allow the public to observe live and in detail the spectacle of the hatching, the chicks growing up and finally the juvenile Peregrines first flight, the project has installed a system of cameras connected in streaming to their website (http://www.falconsforeveryone.be)

Administration

It serves as the co-cathedral of the Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels, the Primate of Belgium, currently Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard.<ref name=GCatholic/> It is located in the national capital and therefore often used for Catholic ceremonies of national interest, such as royal marriages and state funerals.Template:Citation needed

See also

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  • List of cathedrals in Belgium
  • Roman Catholicism in Belgium

References

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External links

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