Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eglise St-Jean-Baptiste-au-Beguinage, Brussels

Our apartment in Brussels was in the neighborhood of a former Beguinage (a community of women who, after becoming widows, led a life of charity but did not take religious vows). The main church for that community was St. John the Baptist. A large Gothic church had been built on the site but the Calvinists plundered the church twice in the late 1500s, leaving it virtually destroyed. A new stone church was completed in 1676. The church is another example of fine Baroque architecture.

Eglise St-Jean-Baptiste-au-Beguinage

Door detail

Come on in!

The nave is full of light, partly an effect achieved by the extra-wide aisle on the sides.


Like many churches in Belgium, the pulpit is rather ornate. This pulpit features St. Dominic correcting a heretic!


St. Dominic admonishes a heretic under his feet!

Other wood carvings are quite nice, including this confessional.

Confessionals with penitential offerings

The organ with a grand setting

The high altar still has a beauty in its simplicity. The original Baroque altar was destroyed by French revolutionaries and this less ornate altar was installed later.

High altar

Off to one side is an altar to Our Lady; on the other is an altar to the church's patron, John the Baptist.

Our Lady altar

Simple side altar with John the Baptist at the top

Some statues are also less usual, including one of Jesus after being scourged.

Jesus after scourging

Melchizedek (who offered a bread and wine offering in Genesis) and Aaron, brother of Moses and first high priest in the Jewish covenant, flank the main altar.


Aaron, brother of Moses

Unidentified saint!

The stained glass is good as well, including this window of St. Peter receiving the keys to Heaven.

Vivid stained glass

One last striking work of art is this Pieta, done as a painting rather than the usual sculpture.


1 comment:

  1. I bet it's Saint Barbara - I think she's often shown holding a tower. -- Angie