01 January - 31 December
Mon 9.00 - 17.00
Tue 9.00 - 17.00
Wed 9.00 - 17.00
Thu 9.00 - 17.00
Fri 9.00 - 17.00
Sat 9.00 - 17.00
Sun 9.00 - 17.00
It is unknown when the church in Wachtebeke was founded but it was certainly after 1199. From 1199 until at least 1550 there stood a single-nave church with on the left side a partial transept.
The present gothic hall church is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria and predominantly dates back to the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The exterior is largely determined by the restorations that took place in the course of years.
On the wide porch that has a sandstone door frame you can find the year 1693. It has a king post from the seventeenth century that depicts Saint Catharine with a martyr’s palm and a torture wheel.
On the inside of the church several items of the furniture stand out. The oak baroque pulpit, dating back to 1649 and crafted by Anthon Sauvage from Ghent, is one of them. On the front of the pulpit you can see a suffering Jesus depicted with a cross and a chalice. On the back, on the door, you can see Jesus the Saviour of the world with a globe in his left hand and a raised right hand with two fingers up as a sign of blessing.
Another striking element is the baroque side altar in the left aisle, from around 1750-1800, that is dedicated to Our Lady. The wooden polychrome statue from the seventeenth century depicts the Immaculate and her divine Child that is threatening and crushing the head of the serpent. Traditionally newly baptised children were dedicated to the Mother of Heaven by their own mother before their first church attendance, because ‘those who find Mary, will find life’ is written with confidence.
At the front of the aisles four big paintings hang on the walls, probably painted by anonymous masters in the seventeenth century. They depict Our Lady of Assumption, Our Lady of Refuge for the sick and afflicted, Passion of Christ with Thorns and the Cross.
The church became protected heritage in 1978.
Roets A. & A. en R. de Pauw (red.), De Sint-Catharinakerk te Wachtebeke, Oudenaarde 1993 & Lanclus K. & Verbeeck M. 1993: Inventaris van het cultuurbezit in Belgie¨, Architectuur, Provincie Oost- Vlaanderen, Arrondissement Gent, Kantons Evergem - Lochristi, Bouwen door de eeuwen heen in Vlaanderen 12N4, Brussel - Turnhout
KIKIRPA : Photo-library online
The Pastor Bonus oak confessional dates from the second half of the 18th century. The Renaissance folding doors with fine wooden filigree work come from a 17th-century confessional.
The 18th-century communion bench is a beautifully carved work of art with medallions of the four western church fathers with from left to right: Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great and Jerome.
In the front of the side aisles hang four large canvases, probably by 17th-century anonymous masters. One of them is the Assumption of Mary, inspired by the canvas by P.P. Rubens hanging in Antwerp Cathedral.
When entering the church along the nave, a beautiful statue of Christ on the cross immediately attracts attention. The statue is made of lime wood and hung for years outside on the southern wall of the church. Prominent art historians refer to Artus Quellinus the Younger (1625-1700) as the possible creator of the statue. The statue was dated around 1650.
At the back left, against a pillar, hangs the flag of the guild, or confrerie, of Saint Ambrose. This guild was founded in 1754 as an association for beekeepers. It still exists: the (exclusively male) members or "confreers" have their reserved pew, on the west wall opposite the banner.
Four polychromed statues from the 17th century are attached to the back wall of the church. The wooden statues, about 1.7 metres high, are worked out in detail and stand on consoles with beautifully sculpted angel heads.
They represent from left to right: Saint John Nepomucenus, Saint Ambrose, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Joseph.