Located in Liege city center, the Collégiale Sainte-Croix de Liège (Holy Cross Collegiate of Liege) was intended to be a religious and civic point of focus when the town was an important station of the Holy Roman empire.
It is one of seven collegiate churches of the city originally constructed between the tenth and eleventh centuries, when the city was the capital of a prince-bishopric and one of the most renowned urban centers of the Empire.
Its building started around 976 A.D. by bishop Notger in the Romanesque style and continued for many years.
As architectural tastes changed over the years of construction, its style became more Gothic.
The present structure was built in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries on the foundations of the original church.
In any case, Collégiale Sainte-Croix was the crowning jewel of the city, visible from just about any part of town, and It was also well-known for housing St. Hubert’s Key, a charm used for the treatment of rabies in the Middle Ages.
According to tradition, the key of St. Hubert is one of the elements triptych of the True Cross and it was given to Saint during his visit to Rome in 772 year. He received it from Pope Gregory II, and the key contains a piece of chain of St. Peter. This symbolic, bronze cast key was used to open the door of the Vatican Basilica’s crypt containing the tomb of the first Pope.
In the 1960s, a neighborhood of houses to the north of the site was demolished along with other surrounding streets to allow for the construction of a road connecting the city center to an outlying highway.
Despite this served commuters well, it essentially cut Sainte-Croix off from the rest of the city and, within a decade the church had been almost totally abandoned.
Despite repeated conservation efforts, it fell into serious disrepair.
As of 2014 the major of Liège declared the church unsafe to visit as its edifices were crumbling. Pointed out as one of the 2014 endangered monument watch list by the Worlds Monument Fund, it was finally decided to renovate it and convert it both as a Christian church, and as the start point of the “circuit des Collégiales” by the city of Liege.
Apparently the Walloon government will give 1.5 million euros yearly for 10 years to reconstruct the historic church, currently closed, even if as of now it still sits tucked between expressways, falling apart…..