St. Donatian's Cathedral

Coordinates: 51°12′33″N 3°13′38″E / 51.209109°N 3.227249°E / 51.209109; 3.227249
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The Sint-Donatius Church on the Burg (on the left)

St. Donatian's Cathedral (Dutch: Sint-Donaaskathedraal) was a Roman Catholic cathedral in Bruges, Belgium. Located on the Burg, one of the main squares in the city,[1][2][3] it was the largest church in Bruges. The cathedral was destroyed in 1799[1] in the wake of the dissolution of the Diocese of Bruges during the aftermath of the French Revolution.


St Donatian's Church (Dutch: Sint-Donaaskerk) was built by Arnulf I, Count of Flanders, c. 950 AD,[4] in order to house the relics of Saint Donatian that had been brought to Bruges in c. 870 AD by monks from Torhout.[2] The church was built in the Romanesque architectural style.[3] There was an octagonal main building, with a tower and a sixteen-sided ambulatory.[1] The building stood on the Burg square, across from the Stadhuis (city hall). St Donatian's Church became a cathedral following the installation of the first Bishop of Bruges in 1562.[4] [note 1] St. Donatian's was destroyed in 1799 by occupying forces of the French First Republic.[1] The former site of St Donatian's is now occupied by the Crowne Plaza Brugge Hotel;[1] the foundations of the cathedral were uncovered in 1955[1] and are visible in the hotel's cellars.[4]

Architectural detail from Jan van Eyck's van der Paele Madonna


  1. ^ The Bishopric of Bruges was created in 1559 (McDonald, p.15, 26), but the position was not filled until 1562 (McDonald, p.26).
  2. ^ The painting is now housed in the Groeningemuseum in Bruges (Dunford and Lee, p.177; McDonald, p.97-98).


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dunford and Lee, p.174.
  2. ^ a b c McDonald, p.14.
  3. ^ a b McDonald, p.25.
  4. ^ a b c d e McDonald, p.26.
  5. ^ Davis, p. 10.
  6. ^ Dunford and Lee, p.177.
  7. ^ a b McDonald, p.98.


  • Davis, R.H.C. (1990). King Stephen, Third Edition. London and New York: Longman. ISBN 0-582-04000-0
  • Dunford, M. and Lee, P. (2002). The Rough Guide to Belgium and Luxembourg, Third Edition. London and New York: Rough Guides Ltd. ISBN 1-85828-871-1
  • McDonald, G. (2002). Insight Compact Guide: Bruges, Second Edition. Singapore: APA Publications. ISBN 981-234-705-4

51°12′33″N 3°13′38″E / 51.209109°N 3.227249°E / 51.209109; 3.227249