The chapel in the heart of the European Quarter: a sign of life and hope
The Chapel of the Resurrection celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. For all those who work in the surrounding buildings and European institutions, it is a place of exchange, dialogue, meditation and prayer.
The history of this chapel goes back to the “Chapelle du Saint-Sacrement de Miracle” (Chapel of the Miraculous Sacrament), built in the rue des Sols in the centre of Brussels in 1455. In the course of urban development projects in the 20th century, it had to make way for the construction of the Central railway station. An exact replica was constructed in rue Van Maerlant and was opened for worship on 14 October 1908. After the nuns who were looking after it moved out of the adjoining convent in 1974 for reasons of age, the chapel was due to be demolished. In 1999, the building was purchased by an international charitable association of European civil servants and various European organisations. This purchase, together with the rebuilding and remodelling work, was financed by donations.
Most of the Catholic European bishops’ conferences and several European Protestant Churches have demonstrated their interest in this chapel by providing considerable financial support. The chapel was reopened for worship on 25 September 2001.
Life in the Chapel
The Chapel of the Resurrection is a place for all Christians who are playing a part in building a united Europe, for all those who work in the surrounding buildings and the European institutions. For them it is a place of exchange, dialogue, meditation and prayer.
Every working day begins with ecumenical morning prayers from 8:00 until 8:30, followed by breakfast. During lunch breaks, the employees and civil servants, and all guests, are invited to a Eucharist celebration on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 13:15, and to an ecumenical service at the same time on Thursdays. On Monday lunchtimes there is quiet prayer, a “Louange de midi” or a lecture. During Advent and Lent, a weekly Evensong offers the opportunity, after a day at work, of finding a few minutes to meditate and to breathe. Between 11:00 and 15:00, men and women volunteers welcome all who seek peace, calm and prayer in the chapel, and stand ready to provide further information.
In addition, the pastoral team also makes use of current events as a basis for their own services and events. This is done, for example, at the start of a new EU Presidency, at times of important political decisions, natural disasters and interfaith encounters.
More and more, the chapel is also being used for commemoration services for those who have died amongst the ranks of European civil servants buried in their home countries.
The pastoral responsibility for the spiritual life of the Chapel of the Resurrection has been entrusted to the European Jesuits.
The Chapel of the Resurrection is open to all those who work in the European institutions, as well as to all visitors and guests.
In accordance with the constitution of the association, the chapel – which is nevertheless Catholic – is open for ecumenism with all Christian Churches. With this in mind, it seeks to promote cooperation and contribute to unity through religious, cultural and social activities. It is a place of community, prayer and exchange for all who make a contribution to unity in diversity. Finally, it seeks to be a symbol of the Christian spiritual presence in the midst of the European institutions.
The location of the Chapel of the Resurrection, its ecumenical vocation and its spirit of dialogue and community are a sign of reconciliation and unity among the Christian denominations and the countries and peoples of Europe. It is a “home for everyone”: a chapel in Europe, for Europe. The Chapel of the Resurrection seeks – as the word “resurrection” in its name indicates – to be a sign of life and hope.
This year, all who fill the chapel with life can look back on ten years of travelling together. They can do so during this anniversary year by pursuing “signs of living” in the everyday life of Europe: in lectures and reflections, in shared exchange and in working together each day. “Signs of Resurrection” will also be the theme of the services and prayers as well as various exhibitions and concerts.
Ilsemarie Weiffen rscj
Translated from the original German
Further information: http://www.resurrection.be