The Altarpiece

A Monumental Effect

Its visual effect is monumental: the altarpiece is made up of a main arch in the shape of an arch of Triomphe reaching high. The work is performed by Raphaël Giroux, a Quebec architect and sculptor, from 1854 to 1857. This final achievement replaced Pierre-Noël Levasseur's altarpiece, a sculptor, and the one by Dubois, a carpenter (1725-1730).

The Tabernacle

In 1877-1878, David Ouellet, architect, sculptor, gilder, and marble worker, drew and made the tabernacle of the high altar which, by its finery, reminds us of military architecture.

Other Components

Above the altarpiece, you can see the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires statue (Statue of the Virgin and Child). It is an imported work and sculpted by an anonymous artist. It was installed and blessed by the archbishop of Quebec on October 22, 1854.

Fire of April 20, 1877

This sculpture in the round disappeared in the fire of April 20, 1877, at the same time as the Tabernacle. On January 13, 1878, the archbishop blessed three statues, including the Virgin one that was imported by Hardy.

Representation of the Victories

When we look at the altarpiece, we can see a small fresco on each side of the Virgin holding Jesus in her arms. One of them represents the liberation of Quebec in 1690, with the inscription Kebeca liberata, whereas the other shows the sinking of the English fleet at l'Île-aux-Oeufs in 1711, with the inscription Deus providebat. Those are the names of two memorable victories of Notre Dame in New France.

Commemoration of a Historic Date

Above the high altar, you can see heart-shaped ex-votos, generally in vermeil (gilded silver), offered at the start of the pilgrimages. The oldest ones are from 1855 to 1857 and were used to mark the bicentennial of the church's construction, in 1888.

Around 1900

Interior of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires around 1900 (by J.E. Livernois, BAnQ, Public domain).

In this historical photo, you can see that the statues of Sacred Heart (to the left) and Saint Joseph (to the right) used to rest on consoles. These statues by Louis Jobin are now located in niches on each side of the altarpiece.

Extract of
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires - The Oldest Church in Quebec

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires - The Oldest Church in Quebec image circuit

Presented by : Paroisse Notre-Dame de Québec
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