Behold, the glorious Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal!

Pictures really cannot do justice being surrounded by such reverent beauty, but at least you can get some idea.

Love the detail:

St. Peter w/ the keys:

Aaand the outside:


And now a little about the basilique.  The bastilique was designed and built when the original Montreal Catholic congregation outgrew their first cathedral, the parish church of Notre Dame (built in 1672), which had served as the first cathedral of the Diocese of Montreal.  Irish-American architect James O’Donnell was commissioned to design the new building.  A proponent of the gothic revival, he produced the beauty we see today with its pointed arches, flying buttresses, and intricate detail.  Although originally a Protestant, he eventually converted to Catholcism on his deathbed (In 1830), possibly so that he could be buried in the chambers of his masterpiece.  He is, in fact, the only person buried in the church’s crypt.

Upon the exterior completion of the bastilique in 1843, it was the largest church in North America and remained so for the next fifty years.  The interior took a bit longer, and was completed in 1879.  Unlike most churches, the stained glass windows depict scenes from the religious history of Montreal, rather than Biblical scenes.  (Which I found interesting.)

The bastilique also features a small chapel called, “Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart),” which is used for more intimate settings such as weddings and funerals.  I got one quick shot of it, but was quickly ushered out before I could go in because there was a wedding!  (Wish it had been mine!!  ^-~)

We were also lucky to catch the tail end of an organ performance when we first entered the bastilique.  This great casavant organ is over 100 years old and boasts of 7,000 pipes!  The largest pipe measures 32 feet and the smallest 1/4 of an inch.  Wow.  Here it is in all it’s splendor:

I could go on and on sharing more pictures and stories of countless saints and stained glass windows featured in this beautiful church, but you really should just go check it out yourself.  The bastilique requires a $5 entry fee for visiters, unless they are there to attend the mass.  (Which I hope to attend next time.)  They also offer a light show Tuesday-Saturday evenings for $10 ($9 for seniors and $5 for children.)  You can get there by taking the metro to Place d’Armes.  I highly recommend visiting this glorious bastilique–it is well worth the five bucks!


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