This imposant late gothic churchwas built with Diegem's sandstone.
The construction started around 1400,and had to replace the precedent church that was more than 400 years of age. The construction was terminated only in 1543, year of the inauguration.
The actual crossing tower, in shape of a tiara (saint Cornelius has been pope) was constructed only in 1654. In contrast with the churchbuilding which is in gothic style, the tower is made in baroque style. This is a piece of art of the architect of the royal court Pieter-Paulus Merx.
The tower was eleminated completely during the second worldwar in 1943 on the order of the German occupant, because it stood in the way for the planes leaving Zaventem direction England. The demollition was done stone by stone in order to rebuild the church later. It took eight years before the inhabitants of Diegem could celebrate the inauguration of the reconstruction of the spire on 28 october 1951 . (the reconstruction took place under the order of architect F. De Groodt)
The church is since centuries a wel visited place of pelgrimage and this brought up a lot of money. The offerbloc is roughly built out in a oakwoden bloc foreseen of three imposant padlocks. It was large enough to contain a lot of offers.
At the back of the church you can see a remarquable little box. After investigation it seems that here it was an old common usage that the parishioners made offers in form of a living animal, a rabbit, a chicken,a goose. These animals were then sold after the mass in advantage of the church.There goes a story of a farmer which offered his goos and bought it back eight times.
You can see at the furniture that the parish was well. The walls are finished with wooden lpanelwork which also is decorated with a stations of the cross worked out in wood. On itself this is yet worth a visit. But this is not only the worth seeing. There is only a part left of the beautiful glass frame decorating the highchoir and from the 18th century. Part of it did not survive the constant bombing during the second worldwar and was replaced in the beginning of the sixties by a newer modern version. The visitor can judge if it is a successful conmbination. Anyway it is worth it to visit this beautiful church.
With ou thanks to Jean-Pierre BekÚ, who sent us this text..
There are also beautiful frescoof the apostels, painted on the , pillars of the central aisle.