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The founders of this house of prayer were the St. Augustine Fathers at the beginning of the 16th century. But the main nave was not yet completed before they were "sent packing" by the state administration because of their sympathy for their protesting fellow member of the order, Martin Luther. Sooner than see the finished building going to waste, Margaret of Austria rushed to use it as parish church. As a sign of gratitude towards the governor, the parish appointed St. Andrew, patron saint of the House of Burgundy as its patron saint. A gilded sculpture on top of the tower was his reward! 


But then in 1566 the iconoclasts broke loose. The patron saint, who had withstood wind and weather till then was no match for such a storm of protest(-antisme) and "blew" down. In 1585 the tide turned and the church was handed back to the Catholics for which it was rebuilt and enlarged.


In 1755 however the tower collapsed. It was replaced by a Baroque version with an open (wooden) lantern. During the fight for Independence of Belgium the tower served as lookout post for King Leopold I to watch troops of the Dutch occupation in the Southern citadel.


After the French occupation, speedy refurbishment was helped by recuperating a number of works of art from elsewhere. Two enormous pieces were brought in: the baroque main altar from the former cistercian abbey of St. Bernard in Hemiksem and the neo-baroque pulpit. To avoid what happened in1755, the poorly constructed tower was once again destroyed and replaced by a new well built one. This was followed by a complete restoration of the building so that visitors could enjoy the works of art in a beautiful restored setting.

(c) 2019 MKA | vzw Monumentale Kerken Antwerpen
Groenplaats 21
2000 Antwerpen

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