Full text: Beauties of continental architecture

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The origin of this Cathedral dates only from the middle of the sixteenth 
century, being much less ancient than that of Terouanne, which was of great 
antiquity. Terouanne, formerly Teravanna, the capital of the Morini, mentioned 
by Julius Caesar, was so strong a town, that it was deemed impregnable ; but the 
Imperialists made themselves masters of it in 1553, after a long and obstinate 
resistance, and razed it to the ground, by order of the Emperor. When it was restored 
to France on the conclusion of peace, it was with the condition that it should never 
be fortified, or surrounded with walls. It was in 1559, after the demolition 
of Terouanne, that the bishopric of St. Omer was founded, and made dependent 
on the Archbishop of Cambray. The Cathedral of St. Omer is a handsome solidly 
built edifice, but very inferior in every respect to the Abbey of St. Bertin. In the 
centre of the spacious portal, there is an arch adorned with fine sculptures, the 
subjects of which are taken from the Holy Scriptures, and below them is a pillar, 
on which stands the statue of St. Omer under a Gothic canopy, The other parts of 
the church are more remarkable for solidity than elegance. In the interior, the 
beautiful chapels, the paintings, and other decorations, are proofs of the riches of 
the establishment. The Cathedral has a fine organ, a beautiful pulpit, adorned 
with delicate carved work, representing the emblems of Faith and Hope ; several 
marble columns, and the tomb of St. Omer are worthy of notice. There is also a 
grotesque colossal statue, called, for what reason does not appear, Le Grand Dieu 
de Terouanne. Formerly there was a very rich silver shrine for relics, on which 
were enchased the miracles attributed to the patron Saint; but it is doubtful whether 
it still remains in the Cathedral.

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