Belgium

[Belgium]
Independent monarchy of western Europe, between France and Holland; area 11,755 square miles. The eastern part was apparently the first to be evangelized, and the first bishop was Saint Servais. Christianity was introduced in the west by Saint Piat as early as the second half of the 3rd century, but was lost through pagan invasion, and the work of conversion was not completed until the 8th century. From the 6th to the 8th century it was led by bishops, as Saint Eloi, Saint Lambert, and Saint Hubert, and numerous missionaries, notably Saint Amand, Bishop of Maastricht and founder of many monasteries to which the Belgians owe much of their attachment to the Catholic Faith. After passing through the hands of Lorraine, Burgundy, Austria, Spain, Austria again, France, and, after the fall of Napoleon, Holland, the Belgian provinces revolted in 1830, proclaimed their independence, and were recognized as a constitutional monarchy in 1831. The constitution proclaimed freedom of worship, of the press, and of education, and the civil marriage ceremony became obligatory. The state contributes part of the income or the clergy of all denominations and aids in the erection and repair of religious buildings.

Ecclesiastically the country is governed by the archdioceses of

and the dioceses of

other ecclesiastical designations include

  • Belgium Military Ordinariate

see also

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