9308 Gijzegem (Aalst)
01 June - 30 September
Sat 13.30 - 18.00
Sun 13.30 - 18.00
+32 53 78 88 84
In the 18th century, the old church of Saint Martin fell into ruin and was demolished in 1771. Under the impuls of baron Frans Goos (1732-1786), then lord of Gijzegem, and of Frans Vrebosch (1728-1805), pastor of Gijzegem, it was replaced by the present-day church. On November 12th 1772, the first mass was celebrated in the new church.
The floor plan of the church shows a nave with 3 aisles and five round arches, ending in Toscan columns and a closed off 3-sided choir.
The vestry on the south side dates from 1774, the baptistery and storage space on the north side were added in 1933, according to a design by architect Henri Valcke from Gent.
The classicistic, west pointed wall is flanked by heavy square corner pillars. It has a drainage frame resting on pillars with classic-styled vases. On top of the wall is an 8-sided tower with round-arch belfry windows and an ornamented wooden, slate-covered lantern.
On either side of the arched door with heavy bluestone edges are round-arch recesses in bluestone and carries the date: ANNO (left)-1772(right).
The interior is typical rococo with several classical elements.
KIKIRPA : Photo-library online
The beautiful, monumental high altar was purchased from the Jesuit church in Ghent (Livinus church) on May 12, 1780 by Frans Goos, lord of Gijzegem. In 1623, the altar was gifted to the Jesuit church by bishop Antoon Triest and came with a painting of Rubens I.A. : “The Martyrdom of the Holy Livinus”. This canvas nowadays nevertheless resides in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. This gorgeous high altar is the oldest religious artwork in this church.
On both sides of the altar, one can see two coats of arms : to the left that of the Goos family, and to the right that of the Goubeau family. Originally, one could find on these exact spots the family crest of bishop Antoon Triest. These two family crests, nowadays can be found in the floor of the small corridor behind the main altar.
Baron Goos also gifted the stairs for the altar, as well as the tomb on which the bishop’s statue is placed. Both altar parts were already given to the church in 1773, which suggests that they may have been the parts that made up the high altar of that time. Also because the altar block is made out of the same grey marble and shows the exact same style features as both marble side altars that were placed in 1773. It was in 1780, that it was worked into the new altar that we can now admire.
The bishop’s statue that originally came from the Livinus church in Ghent, is representative of the Holy Livinus and therefore is not a representation of Saint Martin, the patron saint of the church.
The original wooden polychrome statue of Our Lady of Gijzegem, from an unknown artist, was stoled in the early 1960s. A duplicate was made based on photo’s of the original (see inventory KIK).This beautiful statue is now in the Maria chapel, to the left of the magnificent Van Peteghem organ and was made in 1982 by Daniël Vanhaute at the Academy of Fine Arts in Anderlecht.
The baptismal font, also placed in the Maria chapel, was made in 1862 by the stonemason Van Assche from Dendermonde.