Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 27 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Vincent de Paul
home iconTravel
line break icon

How did these Gremlins end up on a medieval church in France?

GARGOYLES,GREMLINS,CHAPEL OF BETHLEHEM

Ol lO | CC BY-ND 2.0

Zelda Caldwell - published on 11/13/17

Stone carvings of the monster from the movie 'Alien' and other 20th-century grotesques now grace a 15th-century chapel in Brittany.

The 15th-century Chapel of Bethlehem in Saint-Jean-de-Bouiseau, France, had seen better days. The gargoyles that had graced the pinnacles of the tiny Gothic church had long ago disappeared and the building was practically a ruin.

CHAPEL OF BETHLEHEM
SelbyMay | CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1993 the French government hired Jean-Louis Boistel, a stonemason who had worked on many other historic restorations, to restore the church and its 28 gargoyles. Since there was no record of what the chapel looked like other than a few drawings from the 19th century, Boistel was told to use his imagination in creating the stonework creatures.

CHAPEL OF BETHLEHEM
Ol lO | CC BY-ND 2.0

The result: Among the 28 gargoyles are the monster from Alien; monsters, good and bad, from the movie Gremlins; and Goldorak, a robot from a Japanese anime television show.

The grotesques draw on mythology, Christian iconography, and popular culture to convey a symbolic message. The southeast pinnacle of the church, for example, stands for “memory” and features symbols of the four Gospels of the New Testament (the angel, the bull, the eagle and the lion). The southwest pinnacle symbolizes “the unconscious,” with Goldorak representing righteousness and a nasty-looking Gremlin representing evil.

When the innovative plan was presented to the town council of Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau, it was not well received, but was endorsed in the end, thanks to the enthusiastic support of the town’s youth, who rallied behind the project.

Tags:
ArchitectureChurch History
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
VATICAN LEGOS
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
2
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
3
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
4
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
5
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
7
peace
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.