11/18/10: Archon conference participants visit the city of Bruges

On Thursday, November 18, 2010, the Archon conference participants visited the historic city of Bruges.

The city has been listed in the UNESCO World Patrimony (a significant international cultural property) since 2000.

The name Bruges dates back to the ninth century, and comes from the Scandinavian ‘bryggja’, which means quay. It is here that the first stock-exchange was born. From the 13th to the 15th Century, Bruges was the commercial link between the hanseatic cities of Scandinavia, England and Germany and other important commercial centers in France, Spain and Italy.

The participants visited the Holy Blood Chapel, a minor Roman Catholic Cathedral, originally built in the 12th century. The basilica is best known as the repository of a venerated phial said to contain a cloth with the blood of Jesus Christ. It was collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders, after the 12th century Second Crusade. Although the Bible never mentions Christ’s blood being preserved, one of the apocryphal gospels asserts that Joseph of Arimathea preserved the Precious Blood after he had washed the dead body of Christ. The basilica consists of a lower and upper chapel. The lower chapel, dedicated to St. Basil the Great, is a dark Romanesque structure that remains virtually unchanged. The venerated relic is in the upper chapel, which was rebuilt in the Gothic style during the 16th century.

The participants concluded their visit to an Orthodox church in Bruges and thanked Bishop Athenagoras for his hospitality throughout the trip. (Photos by J. Mindala)
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