The Old Cathedral (Alter Dom) in Linz was built by Jesuits between 1669 and 1683 in Baroque style. From 1785 to 1909 it served as cathedral of the Diocese of Linz.
The church was erected near the former Jesuits' College at the south end of the Hauptplatz. The church was originally called the Church of Ignatius and was dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit Order.
The Jesuit Order was dissolved in 1773 by Pope Clement XIII. The Diocese of Linz and St. Pölten von Passau was effectively founded in 1783 by a decree of the Emperor Joseph II (1741–90) without advance approval from Rome. The emperor appointed the bishop and designated the former Jesuit church as the cathedral. The diocese was officially established by a papal certificate of 28 January 1785. Bishop Gregorius Thomas Ziegler (1827–52) led an era during which the church was restored. In 1909 the function of cathedral was transferred from the Ignatius church to the new building. The Jesuits returned in 1909.
The exterior of the church is relatively plain, with two towers on either side of the main door, topped with onion domes. The interior is decorated in lavish Baroque style, with pink marble columns. There are three side chapels on either side of a wide main nave.
The church has an elaborately detailed wooden pulpit, and a high altar made by Giovanni Battista Barbarino and Giovanni Battista Colombo that incorporates many statues in marble. Antonio Bellucci (1654–1726) made the painting of Saint Aloysius that is located above the altar. The stalls in the presbytery were carved by local artists, and are decorated with the faces of monsters and dwarfs. The carved choir stalls from the 17th century were transferred from Garsten Abbey. The Baroque organ was built by Franz Xaver Krismann, with alterations requested by Bruckner. The organ has not been modified.References:
The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.
According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.
The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.
The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.
With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.