Monastery of the Augustinian Fathers


Monastery of the Augustinian Fathers
Academiestraat 1
9000 Gent | Belgium

Historic setting

The monastery of Saint-Stephen was founded in 1296 by the Augustinian monks (Blackfriars). There was considerable financial support from the Borluut family which is depicted in Van Eyck’s world famous painting “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”.

As so many other European monasteries, this Augustinian monastery had an agitated history. Iconoclasms, the rise of the protestant religion, the French revolution, the industrial revolution, wars … were all historical events seriously affecting the life of the Augustinian monks in Gent.

In 1838 the monastery was partly transformed into a textile factory, a fate of many historical buildings during the industrial revolution. During winter a large fire destroyed a part of the monastery. But Augustinians never give up. Even during the most difficult times they stayed in the monastery: it’s very unique that there always have been monks in the monastery since the very beginning in 1296 until today.

Art: The Angel of Purification 1984

Tom Frantzen, Belgian sculptor

Photo: © Walter Slosse

Tom Frantzen about the Angel of Purification"Due to the pollution, both physical and intellectual, the Angel is forced to wear a gas mask which inhibits him from playing his celestial music. This angers the Angel and, using his trumpet as weapon, he attempts to put man back in his place."
The sculpture is made from epoxy resin and is installed on the wall of the monastery.

Images of the Monastery