Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
December 8, 2010
From journal We shall strike a balance between culture and fun
by wanderer 2005
August 17, 2005
The church is actually a double chapel. It was first constructed in the 12th century and promoted to the rank of basilica in 1923. The original facade was constructed in late Gothic and Renaissance styles in the 16th century. It was demolished in the aftermath of the French Revolution and later rebuilt.
The lower part of the chapel is called the Basilius chapel. It has preserved its original Romanesque style from the 12th to 13th centuries. The church on the first floor is the actual chapel of the Holy Blood. The church itself was originally built in Romanesque style, like the Basilius church on the ground floor. It was changed completely to Gothic style in the 15th century and again in 1823. The silver altar is the place where the relic is preserved during the week. The relic is shown to the public every Friday and every day from the 3rd to the 17th of May. Outside the chapel is the Holy Blood museum, which contains the shrine for the Holy Blood and other treasures belonging to the chapel.
The relic of the Holy Blood: The bottle with the blood has never been opened since its arrival in Bruges. The Bible never mentioned the fact that Christ's blood was preserved. One of the gospels mentions that Joseph of Arimathea preserved the blood after he had washed the dead body of Jesus. It is said that Count Diederik van den Elzas brought the relic containing the blood of Christ from Jerusalem to Bruges after the second crusade. But there is proof that the relic arrived later in Bruges, probably around 1250, and that it came from Constantinople (Istanbul in Turkey).
The upstairs chapel is gorgeous, with stained-glass windows, gothic arches, and a colorful altar that is used every Sunday for mass.
The Procession of the Holy Blood passes every year on Asuncion Day in May through the streets of Bruges. Citizens of Bruges dressed in historical costumes enact during this procession biblical scenes and reenact the arrival of the Count of Flanders, who brought the holy relic to Bruges.
From journal Medieval Brugge
, West Virginia
December 14, 2002
So much wealth to see here! A small museum room contains the most exquisite, most
valuable masterpiece by Jan Crabbe, a 17th century metal smith. The Shrine of the Holy
Blood is crafted of gold and silver and encrusted with precious stones. Spectacular! I
wondered if all that gold was paid for with tithes or entrance fees. The guide knew only
that the church was benevolent to preserve all this for us. (He hadn’t read the English
novels about the greed and hypocrisy of the early clergy.) I didn’t ask him if he knew
what happened to the Rembrandts the Anglican church confiscated from the artist’s
home. No need, for all the art in this church depicted holy subjects. I wondered if these
masters wanted to paint the middle class, perhaps a little girl with watering
Another interesting piece is the carved wooden pulpit hanging on high. It is a
magnificent globe from one piece of wood, the shape symbolizing that the Word must
spread across the globe. I reflected, "How presumptive!" The hood or roof had atop it a
representation of Holy Authority--just to make sure no skeptic in the congregation could
mistake the priest for "just a man." I was reminded of the medieval morality plays
stressing the quasi-divinity of priests, God’s representatives, not to be
questioned--especially about the wealth they enjoyed while preaching the virtues of
poverty and tithing!
There was much more, including two altars, one of The Last Supper in alabaster,
another of marble set in carved wood. Good advice is to sit near the chapel. appreciate
the symmetry, and find something to study that means something to you according to
your background. We were told not to take photos by the fellow who wanted to sing the
praises of the early church, so I spent $8 euro on the book All Brugge.
From journal Bruges: Artistry Frozen in Time