I always considered the severe asceticism of the Catholic Churches (notably not Orthodoxy) as a kind of conception. In true faith: plenty of gold should not interrupt one’s quite time with God. It was like this at Notre-Dame de Paris, Riga Cathedral, Milan Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower. But nothing prevents these cathedrals be very different from the outside.
Refined and glamorous Milan Cathedral
Or bright and merry Florence Cathedral
We even entered it… It was a bad idea. Asceticism has driven to extremes. It seems like the interior is simply half done. Too grim.
However, the real culture shock was waiting for us in Bruges. It is far and by an unusual city. You can spend hours hanging along its cozy streets. What we actually did.
Here is the Church of St. Michael. It is a Jesuit church of the XVII century. Initially it was dedicated to Our Lady, but after 1773 when Pope Clement XIV dispersed the Society of Jesus it became St. Michael’s Church. It was almost fully destroyed in 1944 (rebuilt later on) – only the front stayed undamaged – it is rather ascetic outside, but…
St. Michaels Church. Bruges. Belgium
The street is empty. This is definitely not a tourists’ way. The doors of the church are invitingly open.
- Let’s give a look-in?
Elegant interior of Church of St. Michael
Unbelievably clean, tide and above all – stylish. No riot of color – simply, but incredibly good. Just like the little black dress by Coco Chanel with Salvador Dali’s Eye brooch.
Apparently these are icons, but not flat – these are a real paintings.
Beautiful interior of Church of St. Michael. Bruges
A wooden cathedra. Warm. Bass-relieves and sculptures are en family cozy and gorgeous. I would have spent hours watching them. Here was working a Master.
Well, well, well… It seems like we had better look inside the churches of Bruges as well as outside? There is another one’s spire over there.
On a way to test the hypothesis.
Saint Anna’s Church. It was laid in the end of the XV century. After the protestant’s victory during the Dutch Revolution the Catholic Church (as many others in Bruges) was deserted and stand till 1611 tumbling into ruins, when finally its renaissance time came up. During the forthcoming 13 years it was not only rebuilt but also put into Gothic style.
The same thing!!!!!
Well, this is a real museum of Flemish paintings.
Magnificent interior of Saint Anna’s Church
And pay you attention to the twisted wooden columns. What a fantasy!
There are some common features with Jesuit Church, but Saint Anne’s Church is completely differ.
And again here goes this incredibly warm and alive wood carving.
I am sitting on a bench near the confessional enjoying with delicately carved wooden women’s heads. Wait a minute! The torsos seem to be male. And the one’s knee does not look like feminine. Slowly I start to understand: they are angels. They are epicenes – the author decided to express the asexuality as sexual characteristics combined together.
The confessional of Saint Anna’s Church
Stricken such wondrous beauty, as if purposely hidden from the organized tourist groups, we’ve understood – this is so typical for people, to ignore what’s right under their nose!
We see one unassuming church from the window of our small house in Bruges every day, walk by and never have guessed to look inside! So let’s fix this.
Ecclesia Jerusalem Brugensis (Jerusalem church of Bruges) noticeable from a distance due to its high octagonal tower with a symbolic globe on the top of it; appearance for a church is more than strange.
The historic center is very close, but here is quietly and empty. It is so tiny! And here is very unusual interior: the small prayer room has not one support column, between two elegant staircases located the stone model of Golgotha.
The stone model of Golgotha in Jerusalem Church of Bruges
The church is clearly different from the temples which we have seen earlier. May be it is due to the fact that it’s private property?
Ecclesia Jerusalem Brugensis was erecting by three generations of wealthy family Adornes – they was the noble family in medieval Belgian Bruges. They decided to build a stone church near their mansion in the early 15th century, but as the legend says the brothers Jacob and Peter Adornes made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem at first.
The church was built in 1479 and now belongs to special Fund headed by Count Henri de Limburg-Stirum. There are two tombstones of the spouses Anselms Adornes and Margaretha Van der Banck in the middle of the hall; they completed the construction of the church.
Ecclesiastical decorations and attributes are preserved original.
Stained-glass windows are from the late 15th – early 16th centuries.
Under the gallery is the so-called “Little Altar”, beyond the crypt with a very low entrance. Going into it, you sort of bow down to the Creator, as the crypt is an imitation of the Holy Sepulchre. Therefore Ecclesia Jerusalem Brugensis sometimes called the Bruges Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Bruges is full of churches – they are at every turn. We saw the interiors of only three and they completely differs one form another. Well, there is a fair reason to come back and take a good look at all of them.