Juditten Church

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The katholikon of St. Nicholas Convent, formerly known as the Juditten Church

Juditten Church (German: Juditter Kirche; Russian: Юдиттен-кирха) is an originally Roman Catholic, later Protestant, and currently Russian Orthodox church in the Mendeleyevo district of Kaliningrad, Russia.[1] Juditten was the name of Mendeleyevo when it was a quarter of Königsberg, Germany. It is the oldest building of Kaliningrad.[2]

One of the oldest churches of Sambia, the fortified church of was built in the Catholic state of the Teutonic Order between 1276 and 1294/98[3] or ca. 1287/88.[4] In 1402 it was mentioned in the treasurer's book as Judynkirchen. Frescoes by the painter Peter were located in the chancel by 1394. It received a free-standing tower ca. 1400, a crucifix ca. 1520, and a weather vane in 1577. The clock tower and nave were connected by a barrel-vaulted vestibule in 1820.[4]

Juditten became a shrine to the Virgin Mary and a medieval Christian pilgrimage site for visitors from throughout the Holy Roman Empire,[5] especially during the era of Grand Master Konrad von Jungingen.[3] The church's frescoes depicted coats of arms (such as those of Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen, the lives of Jesus and Mary, the Twelve Apostles, chivalric stories, and legendary creatures.[6] Its larger-than-life Madonna and Child above a crescent moon was made out of colored wood by an unknown master before 1454.[6] According to Friedrich Lahrs, the Madonna had previously been located in Königsberg Cathedral's chapel. Its pearls were stolen from its crown by Königsberg rebels in 1454 during the Thirteen Years' War, with the Teutonic Knights replacing them in 1504 and moving the art to the pilgrimage site Juditten in 1504.[4] The church was converted from Catholicism to Lutheranism in 1526 following the establishment of the Duchy of Prussia the previous year;[7] pilgrimages were allowed to continue despite the Protestant Reformation.[8] It also contained a cathedra from 1686, a Baroque altar, and an organ from 1840.

The church included epitaphs and portraits of field marshals Erhard Ernst von Röder and Hans von Lehwaldt by the Königsberg artist E. A. Knopke;[8] both Röder and Lehwaldt were successively married to a daughter of Wilhelm Dietrich von Buddenbrock. Johann Christoph Gottsched was born in the church's rectory in 1700. Stanislaus Cauer was buried in the church's cemetery.[9]

Although the church was largely undamaged by fighting during World War II, it was plundered in April 1945, when it passed from German to Russian control.[3] Services continued until 1948. It was neglected until the 1970s, with the roof and part of the walls collapsing in the 1960s. It was reconsecrated in October 1985 as a Russian Orthodox church and was eventually restored to serve as the main church of St. Nicholas Orthodox Convent.[10]



  • Albinus, Robert (1985). Lexikon der Stadt Königsberg Pr. und Umgebung. Leer: Verlag Gerhard Rautenberg. p. 371. ISBN 3-7921-0320-6.  (German)
  • Baczko, Ludwig von (1804). Versuch einer Geschichte und Beschreibung Königsbergs. Königsberg: Goebbels und Ungar. p. 539.  (German)
  • Hermanowski, Georg (1980). Ostpreußen-Lexikon: für alle, die Ostpreußen lieben. Mannheim: Adam Kraft Verlag. p. 328. ISBN 3-8083-1162-2.  (German)
  • Mühlpfordt, Herbert Meinhard (1972). Königsberg von A bis Z. München: Aufstieg-Verlag. p. 168. ISBN 3-7612-0092-7.  (German)
  • Reichel, Eugen (1908). Gottsched. Erster Band. Berlin: Gottsched Verlag. p. 758.  (German)

Coordinates: 54°42′57″N 20°25′29″E / 54.71583°N 20.42472°E / 54.71583; 20.42472