St. Michael's Church

Leuven, Belgium

Saint Michael's Church was built between 1650 and 1671 for the Jesuit College of Leuven by Jesuit architect Willem Hesius. Initially it was built as a house of prayer for the Jesuit monastery. Following the Franco-Spanish war the Spanish members of the community were ordered to leave France, and in 1542 seven Spanish Jesuits came to Leuven.

The facade of the church with its rich decorations is one of the so-called seven wonders of Leuven. The Jesuit order was abolished in 1773. When the local parish church of Saint Michael was in disrepair, the parish church of Saint Michael was transferred to the Jesuit-built church. A copper holy-water font of 1473 near the entrance, was transferred from the old church of Saint-Michael. The porch altars, communion rail and confessionals date back to the original 17th century original baroque furnishings.

The church was almost completely destroyed during bombardment of the city on the night of 10-11 May 1944. Luckily the frontal facade remained undamaged. Rebuilding of the church was completed in 1950.

Along each side nave is a collection of confessional boxes (17th century, Brabant baroque) linked together to form a whole. They are decorated with carvings of angels, statues and depictions of scenes relating to the Eucharist and the confession.

The original pulpit was transferred in 1776 on the order of Empress Maria—Theresia to the cathedral in the city of Brussels (where it can still be found today). The pulpit from Brussels was brought to Leuven. It was made for the Brussels cathedral by Simon Duray in 1667. On transfer to Leuven, the original images of St. Goedele, St. Michiel and the four evangelists were removed.

In the church there are many wooden statues of Christ, Our Lady with child and various saints. The paintings of the calvary stations date from the early and mid 19th century, by different Flemish painters. Several valuable works of art, both statues and paintings, have been given to the Municipal Museum of Leuven for safe keeping.

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Details

Founded: 1650-1671
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

More Information

www.discoverleuven.com

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robbe Goens (4 years ago)
Its a boring church
Stef (5 years ago)
Baroque styled church in the Naamsestraat, it is a bit lost in between the vibrant city streets. nevertheless it is a beautiful an imposing church. It leads to the hogeschool plein. One of the many churches in Leuven.
Arputhalilly Antony (5 years ago)
Spiritual enrichment place
Angshuman Karmakar (5 years ago)
This church opened after a long period of renovation. This church was partly destroyed by a stray bomb during second world war. Lots of it has been rebuilt. But the beautiful wooden confession chambers survived that is visible today.
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