1000 Brussel / Bruxelles
Church | 1776-1787 | Classical | Roman Catholic Church
01 January - 31 December
Tue 13.00 - 17.45
Wed 13.00 - 17.45
Thu 13.00 - 17.45
Fri 13.00 - 17.45
Sat 13.00 - 17.45
Sun 8.30 - 17.45
Sunday : 9 am - 11 am
Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday : 5.15 pm
An 18th century Neo-Classic church, royal parish and cathedral of the diocese for the Armed Forces.
It was Prince Charles of Lorraine, governor of the Austrian Netherlands who was behind the creation of the Place Royale and the church at its centre. This was built between 1776 and 1787 and is the work of the architects Guimard and Montoyer.
In the front of the church of Saint James on Coudenberg is an imposing Greco-Roman portico, with six Corinthian columns, crowned with a triangular pediment.
The grandiose interior has an unusual type of barrel vault. The builders kept strictly to a rigorous classicism despite the floral decoration of the central dome.
On the 21st July 1831 King Leopold 1st took the oath to the constitution on the forecourt of Saint James’ and a commemorative plate recalls this major event in the history of Belgium. This is the church of the Royal parish : King Leopold II, King Albert1st,King Leopold III,King Baudouin, King Albert II, the Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg, King Phillip and Princess Astrid were all baptised here. The funerals of King Leopold III and Prince Charles, Royal regent, were held here.
The Church of Saint James on Coudenberg is also the cathedral of the diocese for the armed forces.
The blue stone statues, on each side of the altar, are the work of the Belgian artist, Gilles Lambert Godecharle (1750-1835), who was sculptor of Charles of Lorraine, Napoleon and the King of the Netherlands.
The statue on the left represents the Old Testament and the one on the right represents the New Testament. They are signed and dated 1787.
Godecharle, in opposition to Flemish Baroque art, adopted the French style.
The statue of Moses, on the left, was made by the French sculptor Olivier de Marseille (1739-1788) ; the statue on the right, representing King David, is the work of the Belgian sculptor François-Joseph Janssens (1744-1816).
The great organ was built in 1884 by the Brussels organ builder Pierre Schyven (1827-1916) in a romantic style. The instrument has 31 stops spread over two keyboards (great organ and expressive narrative) and a pedalboard. Designed by the architect Adolphe Samyn (1842-1903) - follower of Alphonse Balat, who made the royal greenhouses of Laeken - and built by Corneille Jansen, its oak buffet has the outline of a triumphal arch. Schyven also built the organs of Notre-Dame de Laeken (1874) and of the cathedral of Antwerp (1891).
Display of liturgical ornaments at the end of the right side nave. The ornaments are changed periodically according to the time of year.
At the ends of the transept are two large religious paintings with symbolic connotations painted in 1855-56 by the Belgian artist Jean-François Portaels (1818-1895): on the left, the Crucifixion or the Thrust of the Lance and on the right, the Consoling Cross or the Adoration of the Cross.