The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or the Church of Our Lady, also known as the Mother of God Church (Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܕܝܠܕܬ ܐܠܗܐ , Ito dyoldath Aloho), is a neo-Gothic church building at Keizersgracht 220 in Amsterdam. The church is owned by the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and is used by both Syrian Orthodox and Roman Catholics.
The church was commissioned by the Redemptorist Fathers from 1852 to 1854, built right next to their monastery at Keizersgracht 218, and dedicated in 1854. Architect was Theo Molkenboer, then the leading church builder in the northern Netherlands, who based his design on that of the Redemptorist church in Bergen, Belgium. The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk is considered the highlight of his oeuvre and was his first church in which classical Gothic construction was used, with the exception of the vaults consisting of plaster. Mistakenly, the church is sometimes referred to as the first true neo-Gothic church in the Netherlands; however, it was the first outside of North Brabant and Limburg. The church is a non-oriented cross basilica and is built in on three sides.
In 1985, the Redemptorists left town due to a sharp decline in the number of Redemptorist fathers and brothers. The church was purchased by the Syrian Orthodox. Since then, the church was named Mother of God Church (lett. in Syriac: Church of the Godbearer). However, the church was opened to other denominations. Today the church is used by the Syrian Orthodox community in Amsterdam, a Dutch Roman Catholic community served by priests of the Opus Dei and by the Surinamese Roman Catholic community.
For a brief period, the church was also used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
In a nearby chapel, the Italian community celebrates Mass weekly and meets for activities.
In 2001, the Catholic pastorate in downtown Amsterdam was reorganized. In the process, St. Nicholas Parish became the parish for the entire inner city. The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, as well as De Krijtberg and the Begijnhofkapel, the Papegaai and the Mozes en Aaronkerk, were thereby designated as rectoral churches.
Therefore, these churches do not have a parish priest, but a rector with all the rights of a parish priest.
The church is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
An authentic copy of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help has been in the Church of Our Lady since 1868. The devotion associated with this icon is closely associated with the Redemptorist Fathers.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary
This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1942 for the entire Church on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the apparitions at Fátima. The feast is celebrated on the third Saturday after Pentecost (liturgical calendar).
The Church has had two major anniversaries. In 2004, the church celebrated its 150th anniversary. Among other things, a procession was held by the communities of the church along the Amsterdam canals.
This procession along the canals has since become a tradition attended by several denominations, which has now become a recurring tradition on Sacrament Day (the second Sunday after Pentecost). In 2010, the Syrian Orthodox Church celebrated its 25th anniversary.
On May 16, 2010, it celebrated with other church communities that the Syrian Orthodox took over the church from the Catholics in 1985.