Basilica of Saint Maternus

Walcourt, Belgium

The Basilica of Saint Maternus (Basilique Saint-Materne) is a minor basilica in Walcourt. According to legend, an oratory was founded here by Maternus of Cologne (c. 285–315), who also carved a Madonna to replace an earlier pagan idol. The church does in fact contain a wooden Madonna, albeit from 950–1020, but still one of the oldest preserved Marian devotional statues in Western Christianity.

The church was consecrated in 1026. The presence of the Madonna and its allegedly miraculous properties led to the development of the church into a pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. Subsequently, the church was rebuilt into the Gothic edifice seen today between the 13th and 16th centuries.

It contains a decorated rood screen from 1521, donated by Emperor Charles V, and decorated choir stalls from the early 16th century. The church has been damaged by fire and war on several occasions, most recently in May 1940 during World War II. Since 1941 it has been a listed building, and since 1950 classified as a minor basilica.



Your name


Founded: 1026
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

More Information


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ronald Lepoint (4 months ago)
At the confuence of the waters d'Heure and Yves on a rough rocky outcrop, ancient sacred site, rises, haughty, an austere mystical vessel dedicated to the Marian cult, within the sacred walls, sparkle the gleams of wax dedicated to the multiple requests of the human soul often in distress???. To see, to be moved, to meditate???.
Teodor Iordachescu (8 months ago)
Anaïs d'Auray (Adauray) (16 months ago)
The church dominates this very ancient town. There we admire a splendid Gothic-Renaissance jjube, the most beautiful of its kind in Belgium after that of Lierre.
Olivier Berlanda (21 months ago)
Superb building that deserves the visit of this small town. However, no infrastructure around is up to the tourist potential. A sumptuous diamond in a twilight setting. We can see but not contemplate. Damage.
Joost Scheldeman (2 years ago)
Very nice basilica to visit
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Santa Maria in Trastevere

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I. 

The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.

The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.