The construction of the first church of Mariakerke probably goes back to the 10th century. During that time it was a Romanesque church with three naves without transept (therefore of the basilica type) with a west tower, of limestone from Tournai, at the highest part of Mariakerke. The church was subject to major transformations in the Scaldian Gothic style during the 13th century. The tower of the crossing of the transept which went from a quadrilateral volume to an octagonal tower, dates from that era, but the beginning is probably situated in the 10th century.
The construction of the transept, the expansion of the choir and the adaptation of the lateral naves, to the saddleback roof placed transversally in a striking way, are all adaptations of the primitive Gothic style.
The spire of the tower is estimated from 1735 … In 1887-1892, the architect Auguste Van Assche (1826-1907) had the nave expanded and the baptismal chapel and the staircase turret added. He also had the entire church restored.
The furnishings were designed for the most part by the architect Van Assche. The cathedra and the case of the organ were created in 1893-1894 by Pieter Pauwels. The organ itself is the work of Pierre Schyven.
The principal altar and the lateral altars were executed around 1870 by Leopold Blanchaert following the plans of Jean-Baptiste Bethune, a pioneer in the Neo-Gothic in Flanders. The confessionals are from the hand of Mathias Zens. The silverwork and the liturgical textiles date primarily from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.Another interesting item to point out is the Neo-Gothic stained glass windows coming from renowned workshops.
To complete the tour, one of the jewels of the church is the remarkable pyxide* from the 14th century crowned with a Virgin and Child of enamel.
* a pyxide: Formerly: small box with a cover where the Eucharist was placed (a type of ciborium). Currently: small metal vase in which the priest carries communion to people who are ill.
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