9401 Pollare (Ninove)
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
Of the Romanesque construction phase that took place in the 13th century, one can still see an impressive piece of wall made of local rubble stone that was preserved in the old baptistery. The ship’s central nave kept a dimension in length, width, and height of that of a Romanesque hall church. The transepts in brick are from the 17th century, and during the mid-18th century, the left aisle was added. The brick tower with two side wings, has above the portal, a mentioning of the date 1761. In the 19th century, the tower was raised. The choir, sacristies, and right aisle are neo-Gothic constructions (by architect Schoonejans), and it was around the year 1900 that architect Julius Goethals gave the church its current view. Church, graveyard with the tombstones and graveyard wall form a harmonious and historical whole.
The thing that stands out the most in this church is the impressive neo-baroque main altar portico with the statue of Saint Christopher (17th century). The altar of Mary in the left transept has a new portico (1954), with a painting from 1652 by the artist Anton van den Heuvel, on which we can see depicted the arrival of the three kings visiting baby Jesus. In the right transept, several wooden statues have been gathered, amongst which two late Gothic cavalry statues, a statue of Saint Joseph with baby Jesus (approx. 1600), and a statue of Virgin and Child with Saint Anne.
In the right transept, one can see a unique nativity scene from the year 1902, representative of the folk devotion and folk art of the time. The whole moved to Pollare in 2020, due to the closure of Saint Anne’s church in Ghent, where the nativity scene originally was located. In the middle, one can see the bed of straw in which baby Jesus was laid on Christmas day. To the left, one can see the three wise men, and to the right there’s Mary kneeling with Joseph behind her and the three shepherds. The donation of this nativity scene goes well with the tradition in Pollare to decorate the church during Christmas time with a large nativity scene around the altar with unique lifesize statues.
The twelve stained glass windows form a thematic whole around the figure of Saint Christopher and are representative of the modern figurative stained glass window art of the sixties and seventies of the previous century in Flandres. They determine the light atmosphere and enhance the religious theme of the worship of Saint Christopher. The six stained glass windows in the ship are created by Joost Maréchal (design and execution), the one in the choir was created by Guido De Graeve (design) and Herman Mortier (execution).
At the top of the stained glass windows to the left of the main altar, one can see the coats of arms of the lords ‘van Aa’, who built their mid-12th century fortress near the Denderbridge. They moved the old village centre by the Nekker well (Dutch: Nekkerput), where Saint Martin’s church stood at the time, and moved the church to where it is located now: on Plaats mountain (Dutch: Plaatsberg). There they built a new church dedicated to Saint Christopher to store the relic of Saint Christopher that was brought back from the sixth crusade (1229) by knight Arnold van Aa. The lords had themselves buried in the choir of the church. The inhabitants around the church received the statute of “Freedom”. This is how Saint Christopher’s relic has been able to be preserved to this day inside a wooden shrine (18th century), which determines the history of Pollare.
Since 1956, pastor Claus has erected a grand neo-Romanesque chapel of Mary on the top of the hill by the Echel. During the walk to this chapel on the footpaths of Pollare, one can see the unfolding of a marvelous view of the village, the valley of the Dender (Dutch: Demdervallei), and the hills of the Flemish Ardennes. This view is part of the protected village view, on which next to the church also lies the protected pedestrian bridge (1912). The little sister church is also an “open church”, and thus free to visit.