Classical church with a history of origin that takes us back to the Middle Ages, involving the statue of Our Lady of the Forest.
The first church was built when a little miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary was found in the woods. In 1217 the forest became a pilgrimage site. Later that community was named ‘Nieuwkerken’, originally part of the parish of Sint-Niklaas.
The current brick building dates back to 1792-93. It is partly constructed with materials that were recovered from the previous church. The former churches were burned and pulled down respectively.
The interior also bears elements of the previous church: the pew of the church wardens, the confessional, the credence and the font. The painting “Our Lady of the Forest appears to the Shepherds” ( 17th century) and the statue at the altar “Our Lady of the Forest” (14th century) refer to the origin of the church.
The church possesses several paintings: “The Descent from the Cross” (copy of Rubens), “The Martyrdom of Saint-Sebastian” (copy of Jordaens), “The Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and Catherine” (17th century), “The Descent of the Holy Spirit” (1613; Cornelis De Vos) and “The Entombment of Christ”.
The choir stalls and the organ case date back to 1795 and were made by E. De Cauwer. The classical pulpit (1804) was made by Livinus De Jager.
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