History
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Once this Dominican place of worship was the soul of a powerful monastery complex, a meeting place of scholars, artists and dignitaries, now it stands here as a cultural monument, a tourist attraction, but particularly as a spiritual lighthouse, a place of silence and reflection in the metropolis. From here the monks went devoutly on travels in their own city and surroundings and likewise in the 17th century into the Northern European areas that were controlled by the protestants. Devout to their slogan, as it is written on the high altar, they went preaching "faith and truth".

 

In 1276 the first small church was consecrated. In the 16th century they passed over building a bigger church, which incidentally had also to be located higher so that no (even at that time clean) water from the Scheldt would flood the corridors. After stoically weathering through the troubles of the 16th century, it was possible for work to continue on the still gothic construction. Not for nothing is St. Paul's seen as a "baroque jewel in a gothic shrine"; the baroque furniture is whimsically reconciled with the gothic architecture.

 

During the abolition of the monastery by the French in 1796 Prior Peltiers succeeded in buying it back. The church was bought by the city as a new parish church. In 1968 a catastrophic fire beleaguered the whole complex. But the all-important restoration was a long time coming and only after 20 years was a new roof put back on top. This ordeal now reached its end. The restoration works are nearly finished, to the relief of many.








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