Sarcophage de Sancta ChrodoaraSarcophage de Sancta Chrodoara - Trésors de la Fédération Waallonie-Bruxelles
©Sarcophage de Sancta Chrodoara|Trésors de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

Merovingian sarcophagus and other secrets of our collegiate churches

Immerse yourself in the living history of the collegiate churches of Huy and Amay, with their exceptional treasures, including the fascinating Merovingian sarcophagus of Saint Ode. Explore these architectural gems that tell of the rich past of these towns, where every detail bears witness to their cultural heritage.

A Gothic jewel

Discover the fascinating history and architecture of the Collégiale Notre-Dame et Saint-Domitien in Huy,
a cultural treasure in the heart of the Terres-de-Meuse.

According to legend, this church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded by Saint Materne at the foot of a rock and equipped with a defensive castrum. The earliest mentions date from the 6th century, when Saint Domitian was buried here. Under the episcopacy of Notger in the 10the century, the relics of Saint Materne were brought to the fore, and a community of clerics settled nearby. Over the centuries, the building underwent fires and rebuilding, culminating in the consecration of a new church in 1066, becoming a collegiate church housing a chapter of thirty canons.

The architecture of today’s collegiate church is a harmonious marriage of the radiant Gothic style of the 14the century and the flamboyant Gothic style of the 15the century. Framed by three square towers, the tallest of which rises to 48 meters, it is a true visual and historical work of art.

The impressive dimensions of the collegiate church are revealed: 72 meters long, 25 meters wide and a height of 25 meters in the great nave. The three naves are punctuated by a pseudo-transept. Chapels open along the aisles, adding to the richness of this edifice.

The triforium, a gallery of circulation beneath the high windows in the flamboyant Gothic style, and the stained glass windows designed by the Gsell-Laurent workshop in Paris in 1872, adorn the interior of the collegiate church, evoking captivating religious scenes.

Did you know?

  1. The great choir glass roof, made up of three parts, reaches the exceptional height of twenty-two meters. It is the highest single-piece glass roof in Europe.
  2. Li Rondia is the largest Gothic rose window preserved in Belgium. Dated 1508, it has an impressive diameter: 6 m inside and 9 m outside.
  3. There are a total of 20 Mosan shawls, no fewer than 4 of which are preserved in Huy.

Home of a Merovingian princess

Explore the secrets of Amay’s collegiate church, a captivating fusion of its historic past and striking architecture.

Nestled in the heart of Amay’s historic center, the collegiate church rises with proud elegance, captivating the eye with its three majestic towers and imposing silhouette.

Its Romanesque origins date back to the 11th century, but over time it has undergone numerous metamorphoses. Major works in the 18th century shaped the church’s current architectural appearance, transforming its initial austere character into an embellished, coherent silhouette.

In the interior of the church, richly decorated with 18th century stucco, the imprint of this era is clearly reflected with floral and symbolic motifs. A remarkable 17th-century rood screen delineates the counter-choir, constituting a decorative exception.

The collegiate church is home to two exceptional treasures listed as heritage by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation: the magnificent Merovingian sarcophagus of sancta Chrodoara, displayed through a large glass opening in the choir, in the very spot where it was discovered on January 22, 1977, and the shrine of saint Ode, a masterpiece of 13th-century Mosan goldsmithery.

The remarkable 18th-century oriental cloister (one of only seven in Western and Central Europe) houses the Musée Communal d’Archéologie et d’Art religieux, adding a unique cultural dimension to this architectural ensemble.

The edifice also shines thanks to the talent of Amayt painter Georges Leplat (1930-2010), who created an exceptional Stations of the Cross composed of 15 stations executed in gold leaf using the iconic technique. These works enrich the collegiate church’s precious art collection and illuminate its interior with brilliance.

Did you know?

This sarcophagus dates back to Merovingian times, around 730, and was designed as the burial place of Chrodoara, also venerated as Saint Ode in Amay. This enigmatic woman of noble birth had previously established a convent in Amay. On the top of the sarcophagus, a full-length representation shows her holding a staff in her right hand. This is the only known example of a Merovingian sarcophagus to feature both a human figure and an inscription, making it a remarkable object.