Chartres, the Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral is a place of magnificent diversity

Tourists go there to look around, some people follow the lines of the great labyrinth barefooted, and others come to pray Our Lady of the Pillar...

The main three groups of pilgrims in Chartres are: 

  • College students, who generally come by foot
  • French Tamils (Christians or not) who walk in long processions to the Virgin of the Pillar and deposit their candles at her feet
  • Traditionalist Catholics on their annual pilgrimage for Pentecost

The Creed is written in the stones and on the stained-glass windows 

Its architecture leads the eyes towards the light and the altar...

Upon entering, and strolling through the vaults and the choir, one encounters the works of a chain of people who never signed their masterpieces. The cathedral conveys a humble, sweet spirituality (cf. Saint Fulbert of Chartres).  

A Moving Experience

Members of the Chemin Neuf Community celebrate vespers in the transept at 3 o’clock p.m. Csilla Kovac, a Hungarian member, remembers: “Our calling is to pray for the unity of Christians and peace in the world. The very first time that we sang vespers in the cathedral, it was on September 11, 2001!”

The community also breathes life into the local parish, teaches catechism classes and gives retreats, with a desire to combine art and theology. “Through beauty something transcendent can be experienced,” Csilla continues. “It took me quite a while to really discover this place. But to sing, sitting in front of the northern rose window, to contemplate David, Solomon, Saint Anne, the Blessed Virgin Mary... is a moving experience...”

(Excerpt from the Catholic newspaper “La Croix” July 14&15, 2007)

Here, Mary presents her Son everywhere. The entire cathedral is a celebration of the Incarnation.

Mary is depicted 173 times...  

The most famous representations of Mary are:

  • Our Lady of Underground in the crypt, with its rich historical references
  • The very popular Virgin of the Pillar
  • Our Lady of the Beautiful Stained-Glass Window...

See official website