This singular piece of art depicts ten scenes from the life and beheading of the Spanish saint who lived in the third century. She was often called on to cure eye conditions or to make it rain. The 16th-century polychrome wood altarpiece was presumably produced in a studio in Kortrijk and originally hung in Saint Columba’s Chapel, a place of pilgrimage once built onto the church but now demolished. The piece was restored by the Belgian Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels in the 1980s.
This originally Romanesque building is the only church in Flanders to be dedicated to Saint Columba of Sens. The building was at first refurbished in late gothic style and then renovated in classicist style by renowned architect Laurent-Benoît Dewez at the end of the 18th century. St Columba’s is a three-aisle hall church with a pointed octagonal lantern tower. The building was damaged during both WWI and WWII, but was repaired each time. Only the Romanesque lantern tower, south transept and part of the choir from the period have been preserved.