Lille Cathedral

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lille Cathedral
Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille de Lille
Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille de Lille 12.jpg
Lille Cathedral
Basic information
LocationLille,  France
Geographic coordinatesCoordinates: 50°38′24″N 3°3′44″E / 50.64000°N 3.06222°E / 50.64000; 3.06222
AffiliationRoman Catholic Church
ProvinceBishop of Lille
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusCathedral
Architectural description
Architect(s)Charles Leroy, Pierre-Louis Carlier
Architectural typechurch
Architectural styleNeo-Gothic

Lille Cathedral, the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Treille (French: Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille de Lille), is a Roman Catholic church and basilica located in Lille, France. It is the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Lille. An example of Gothic Revival architecture, the cathedral is considered a national monument.

The church was built in honor of the Virgin Mary and takes its name from a 12th-century statue of the saint that has miraculous properties ascribed to it. The project of its construction, which was carried out by a commission that brought together representatives of the clergy and lay members of the upper middle class such as Charles Kolb-Bernard, had a twofold objective. The first was to rebuild a large church in the heart of the city, after the destruction of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter during the French Revolution, which had housed the statue of Our Lady of the Treille for more than six hundred years. The second was to establish an episcopal see in Lille, which then belonged to the Archdiocese of Cambrai. This creation was considered essential to establish the city's status as a religious capital and to serve the growing population during the period of the Industrial Revolution. The building was therefore designated from the outset to be a future cathedral.

Its construction, which spanned nearly a hundred and fifty years, began in 1854 with the laying of a foundation stone and the launch of an international competition for the design of a building inspired by the "Gothic style of the first half of the 13th century". Of the 41 submissions made, the first two prizes were awarded to English projects. However, the idea of entrusting the construction of a church in honor of the Virgin to foreign architects of an Anglican confession raised objections. Therefore, the realization of the project fell into the hands of Lille architect Charles Leroy. The construction of the church faced many difficulties, especially to raise the necessary funds for the continuation of the work. The cathedral was built in stages under the direction of several generations of architects from 1856 to 1975. It was completed in 1999 by the installation of a modern facade, with part of the initial program having been abandoned.

Originally a simple church, it was given the title of minor basilica by Pope Pius X in 1904. In 1913, the Archdiocese of Cambrai was split to create the diocese of Lille, with the basilica serving as its new cathedral. In 2008, following the reorganization of the ecclesiastical provinces of France, the diocese of Lille was elevated to the status of metropolis and the cathedral became a metropolitan cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Lille.


Our Lady of the Treille[edit]

The cathedral owes its name to a statue of the Virgin Mary, known as Our Lady of the Treille, which was housed at the Collegiate Church of St. Peter from the beginning of the 13th century and has since been the object of devotion and veneration. The statue is described by Charles Bernard, parish priest of the Church of St. Catherine, as a statue of stone "a little more than two and a half feet high; she has a scepter in her right hand, and from her left she supports the baby Jesus on her knees." He mentions a trellis of gilded wood surrounding the statue and its pedestal, and specifies that the old trellis made of gilded iron was lost in 1792 during the destruction of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter.[1] He speculates that this trellis is what gave the statue its name, although it is more likely that the name came from Treola, a place existing in the 9th century in what is now Lille.[2]

Three series of miraculous events are associated with the statue, occurring in 1254, from 1519 to 1527, and from 1634 to 1638.[3] The miracle of 1254 was the healing of the patients who resorted to her intercession.[4] The miracles in the 16th century were varied and included deliverance from demonic possession, hernias, blindness, paralysis and plague.[5] In 1254, a confraternity of Our Lady of the Treille was canonically established by Pope Alexander IV,[6] and since 1259, an annual procession in honor of Our Lady of the Treille was held, a practice which continued until the French Revolution.[7] In 1634, Jean Le Vasseur, mayor of Lille, consecrated the city to Our Lady of the Treille.[8] In 1667, Louis XIV, who had just taken Flanders, took an oath to respect the freedoms of Lille before the statue.[9]

After the destruction of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter, which had been badly damaged during the Austrian siege of 1792 before being demolished in the French Revolution,[10] the statue largely fell into oblivion. It was bought by a sexton, Alain Gambier, who placed it in the Church of St. Catherine, where it remained between 1797 and 1802.[11] It was not until 1842 that Charles Bernard, parish priest of the Church of St. Catherine, restored the cult of Our Lady of the Treille and tried to strengthen it again: he instituted the month of Mary, patron saint of Lille, and had the statue placed in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of St. Catherine's Church.[12] The celebration in great pomp of the secular jubilee of the first miracles of Our Lady of the Treille, in 1854 constituted a decisive step in this restoration work.[13] The restoration project is also believed to have been marked by providence, due to the unexpected acquisition of the land on which the new church in honor of the Lady of the Treille would be built, making it possible to lay the church's foundation stone before the end of the jubilee celebration.[14]


  1. ^ Bernard 1843, p. 24.
  2. ^ Vienne 2002, p. 25.
  3. ^ Bernard 1843, p. 77-89.
  4. ^ Delassus 1891, p. 40.
  5. ^ Hautcœur 1900, p. 40-46.
  6. ^ Bernard 1843, p. 32-34.
  7. ^ Bernard 1843, p. 35-46.
  8. ^ Bernard 1843, p. 58-62.
  9. ^ "Histoire de la statue". Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  10. ^ Hautcœur 1899, p. 413.
  11. ^ Vienne 2002, p. 45.
  12. ^ Ségur 1883, p. 111-132.
  13. ^ Capelle 1854, p. 5-13.
  14. ^ Detrez 1925, p. 114.


External links[edit]