Friday, December 17, 2010

Algiers: The Most Important Pilgrimage Church in North Africa Newly Consecrated

The Church of Notre Dame d'Afrique was closed for three years during renovation -- Is counted among the most remarkable edifices in a land dominated by Islam.

Algiers ( The most important Catholic pilgrimage Church in North Africa, Notre-Dame-d"Afrique in Algiers is to be newly consecrated in the presence of the Religion Minister Bouabdalla Ghamallah as well as the Church and Diplomatic guests from the EU and Africa.   This was reported by the French Internet-site, "Tout sur l'Algerie".  The 140 Year old Church was closed in 2007 because it was badly in need of necessarily renovations.

The Basilica was consecrated in 1872.  It stands at a height of 124 Meters on the hill above the bay of Algiers and counts among the msot remarkable edifices in the Islamic dominated land.  It corresponds to the concept of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde in the French port city of Marseilles.

The around five million Euro expensive renovation was undertaken by the city of Algiers, the Province of Algeriers, the city of Marseilles, the French Department of Bouches-du-Rhone, Algerian State Companies and French corporations active in Algeria.  Even the EU has supported the undertaking financially.  Sea winds and earthquakes have damaged the Church in the course of the years.  The work of restoration has been accomplished under the direction of the Marseilles Architect Xavier David, who was also responsible for the restoration of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde in Marseilles.

From the beginning on Notre-Dam-d'Afrique was even for the Muslims a place of pilgrimage.  In the apse since 1872 has the golden inscription "Our Beloved Lady of Africa, Pray for Us and For the Muslims".   Of especial importance is the organ of Notre-Dame-d'Afrique:  The powerful instrument was installed in the Villa Georges, which belonged to a private English gentleman.  He was an admirer of the composure and organist Camille Saint-Saens, who died in Algeria in 1921.  After the death of the Englishman in 1930 the organ was donated to the Basilica.

 Link to the original story from in German...

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