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Fribourg, Switzerland: Cathedral of Saint Nicholas

About the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Fribourg, Switzerland:

Tomb of st canisus in Cathedral of St Nicholas Freigurg, Switzerland

Founded in 1283, the Cathdral is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra.  it was first a parish church then became the ” Saint-Nicolas collegiate church ” in 1512 and finally, as the seat of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Friborg, a cathedral in 1924.

Built in  Gothic style, it  is perched on a cliff and dominates the skyline of the city of Fribourg and in particular the medieval town.

The cathedral parish includes the Bourg district, the Alt district and Bourguillon.

It is noted for, among other things, for the tomb of Saint Peter Canisius.

About Saint Peter Canisius:

Born in Holland in 1521, Peter Canisius lived through an important time in the history of the Church:  the protestant reformation, which began in 1517 and spread throughout much of Europe.  During this period, due partly to poor catechesis among Catholics,  protestant evangelists were able to convince many Catholics to adopt their way of thinking.

Peter had edited and written several volumes on Church history and theology, been a delegate to the Council of Trent, and reformed the German universities from heresy.

He was sent to Vienna to reform their university there and ended up ministering to the sick and dying during a plague, which earned him the respect of the people, going so far as to wanting him to be Bishop of Vienna (as did the King…and the Pope)  but Peter fought that decision, instead staying to administer the diocese for a year.

As mentioned above, Peter wished for a Catholic catechism that would present true Catholic beliefs rather than the opinions of the protestants.   Eventually King Ferdinand himself ordered Peter and his companions to write a catechism. His friend, Father Lejay, was actually assigned to write it, being a being a better writer than Peter.  But when Father Lejay died, King Ferdinand ordered Peter to complete the work.  The first issue of the Catechism appeared in 1555 and was widely distributed, helping greatly to catechize Catholics throughout Europe.

Peter died in December 21, 1597. He was canonized a saint and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI on May 21, 1925.  The mortal remains of Saint Peter Canisius were formerly in the church of the College of St. Michael here in Freibourg but have now been transferred here to the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas.

Many schools have been named after him, including a university in Buffalo, New York:  Canisius University.


The Feast Day of Saint Peter Canisius is celebrated on December 21.


Visiting the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Fribourg, Switzerland:

Address:  Rue du Pont-Suspendu, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland

Tel:  +41 26 347 10 40

Click here for the official website of the the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Fribourg, Switzerland.



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