Fribourg - Cathedral of Saint Nicholas

By Mark Sukhija

Construction of the Cathedral of St Nicholas started in 1283. The Cathedral is build on a the site of a chapel of the Romanesque style which pre-dated the town's foundation in 1157. Construction was completed in around 1430 and the west tower was completed in 1490.

The church began life as a parish church. In 1512, the Church attained the rank of Collegiate Church with a provost (with mitre and crozier) dean, chanter and twelve canons.

In 1945 it became the Cathedral of the diocese of Lausanne , Geneva and Fribourg.

Since 1803, the Church has been the property of the state of Fribourg and services are administered by the Roman Catholic Church.

Art and Architecture of St Nicholas

The Cathedral of St Nicholas represents three diferent periods of western art and architecture. The edifice of the building is from the Gothic period - as is the choir gate, the baptismal fonts, the pulpit, the cross, 'The Burial of Christ' and two sculptured portals.

The chevet, the choir arch with key-stones, coats of arms of Patrician families, decoration of the aisle archways, the organ of Sebald Manderscheidt and the six chapels between the butresses are from the Baroque period.

The organ of Aloys Mooser (1828/1834), the stained-glass windows of Jozef Mehoffer (1896/1936), the stained-glass windows of ALfred Manessier (1976/1988), the alta, ambon, the easter candlestick and the Episcopal seat of Georges Schneider (1981/1986) and the Millennium cross of Nuccio Fontanella (1999) all date from the modern period.

The Cathedral of St Nicholas has 13 bells - eleven of which are in the west tower and 2 are in the Bell Tower of the Choir.