Saint Catherine's Church Treasures
The treasure of Saint Catherine’s church in Maaseik is world famous because of the presence of the oldest book in Belgium: the Codex Eyckensis, a Flemish Masterpiece. But the crypt also holds the oldest Anglo-Saxon vestments in all of Europe. These extremely valuable pieces are part of the heritage of the Saints Harlindis and Relindis and have been kept and preserved in Maaseik since 1571. The exhibition of the treasure in the crypt of Saint Catherine’s church no longer meets current museological and scientific standards. For this reason the fabric committee of the church and the Municipality of Maaseik are now working on the relocation of the treasure to two new locations; the Minorite monastery and Saint Catherine’s church.
One part of the church treasure will be housed in the former Minorite monastery of Maaseik, at walking distance of Saint Catherine’s church. The second part of the treasure will be displayed in Saint Catherine’s church itself. The year 1571 will serve as the demarcation line for the division of the treasure. All parts of the treasure that have been made before the year 1571 will find a new home in the Minorite church. This is where visitors will be able to admire the Codex Eyckensis and the Anglo-Saxon vestments, in a new display case with state-of-the-art climate control and lighting. Anything that became part of the church treasure after 1571, in particular the refined silverware, will remain in place inside Saint Catherine’s church, where visitors will be able to appreciate these marvellous objects in a brilliant renewed presentation.
A scientific committee will work out the display arrangement for both spaces and ensure the thematic coherence between them. Harlindis and Relindis will remain the central figures in the narrative of the two treasure-chambers; after all, it is through their fame that objects continued to be added to the treasure throughout the ages.