Saint-Omer Cathedral is a Roman Catholic former cathedral, a minor basilica. It was formerly the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Omer, but the see was not restored after the French Revolution, being instead absorbed into the Diocese of Arras under the Concordat of 1801. The church is still commonly referred to as the 'cathedral' however.
The cathedral is an excellent example of the flamboyant style of gothic architecture of the 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries. The substantial, square tower (15th-16th century) is reminiscent of perpendicular gothic towers in England, such was the cross-over of architectural styles in the period. A 12th century octagonal tower also survives from an earlier building. Despite the length it took to construct, the overall effect is remarkably harmonious and uniform, in part because of the use of the distinctive local white limestone.
The church is also well-known for its sculpture and furnishings. The highlight is the "Descent from the Cross" by Rubens, but it also has a working astrological clock from 1558, some stained glass from the 15th century, the tomb effigy of Saint Omer himself (13th century) and interestingly, a statue of God from Therouanne, dated to around the 13th century: his strange proportions reflect the original intention to place it 60ft from the ground. Both south and west doors have interesting decorative sculptures, including a 13th century Doom on the south door.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.