Regensburg Cathedral

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Saint Peter's Cathedral
Regensburger Dom

Regensburg Cathedral, in the foreground the Danube.
Saint Peter's Cathedral is located in Germany
Saint Peter's Cathedral
Saint Peter's Cathedral
49°01′10″N 12°05′53″E / 49.01944°N 12.09806°E / 49.01944; 12.09806
Location Regensburg
Country Germany
Denomination Roman Catholic
Website Website
Architecture
Status Active
Functional status Cathedral
Completed 1520
Specifications
Length 85.40 m (280 ft 2 in)
Width 34.80 m (114 ft 2 in)
Height 31.85 m (104 ft 6 in)
Number of spires 2
Spire height 105 m (344 ft 6 in)
Administration
Diocese Diocese of Regensburg
Clergy
Bishop(s) Rudolf Voderholzer
RegensburgDom-p01.jpg
Cathedral of St. Peter, south facade (before the towers were cleaned in 2005).

The Regensburg Cathedral (German: Dom St. Peter or Regensburger Dom), dedicated to St Peter, is the most important church and landmark of the city of Regensburg, Germany. It is the seat of the Catholic diocese of Regensburg. The church is the prime example of Gothic architecture in Bavaria.

Dimensions[edit]

Overall length (interior) 85.40 m
Width (interior) 34.94 m
Height (nave) 31.85 m
Height (bell towers) 105 m

[1]

History[edit]

A first bishop's church was built around 700, at the site of the present-day cathedral parish church Niedermünster (St. Erhard's tomb). Around 739, St. Boniface chose the area of the Porta Praetoria (North Gate of the old Roman fort) for the bishop's seat, and the site of the cathedral has remained there since. The Cathedral was rebuilt in Carolingian times and expanded in the early 11th century, with an approximately 15-meter-wide transept, two towers and an atrium.

In 1156-1172 the edifice burnt twice, and was also rebuilt starting from 1273 in High Gothic style. The three choirs of the new cathedral were ready for use in 1320, while the old cathedral was demolished at the same time. In 1385-1415 the elaborate main entrance to the west was completed, with the most of the new edifice being finished around 1520; the cloister was constructed in 1514-1538.

The cupola at the transept crossing and other sectors were renovated in Baroque style in the 17th century. In 1828-1841 the cathedral underwent a neo/Gothic restoration commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The Baroque frescoes were relocated and the cupola demolished, being replaced by a quadripartite rib vault. The towers and their spires were built in 1859-1869. Three years later the cathedral was finally finished, with the completion of the transept gable and the spire (at the crossing), after some 600 years of construction.

The state-run Dombauhütte (Cathedral building workshop) was founded in 1923, for the ongoing oversight, maintenance, and restoration of the cathedral. In the 1980s construction of the crypt mausoleum and archeological exploration of the center nave (partial exposure of a former southern arcade entrance to the atrium of a precursor Roman structure) were carried on.

The cathedral was restored during the 2000s.

The building[edit]

Groundplan of the stained glass windows by Josef Oberberger

An unusual feature of Regensburg Cathedral is its separation from the structure of the older cloister. This separation came about when the church was rebuilt and displaced to the southwest of the earlier Romanesque cathedral.

In testimony of that Romanesque precursor, the Eselsturm tower still stands on the north side of the cathedral; it was used in the past and is still used to transport construction materials to the upper levels. A pulley remains in the west loft, and with it materials were lifted through an opening in the ceiling near the west portal. To the east of the cathedral is the state-run Dombauhütte (cathedral building workshop) which is responsible for the preservation of the structure. In contrast with many cathedral building works, neither modern machines nor exclusively old tools are used. Rather, tools are manufactured in the workshop itself.

The Erminold Maria is one element of an Annunciation group in the Regensburg Cathedral. It goes back to the so-called Erminoldmeister, who carved and colorfully painted the figure of Mary and the famous laughing figure of the angel Gabriel about 1280. The figures are juxtaposed to one another on the two western pillars at the crossing of the nave. Mary's right hand is slightly raised toward the angel in greeting. In her left hand she holds a book, into which she is pointing with her index finger.

On the eastern pillars at the crossing are stone figures of Saints Peter and Paul, which were installed in 1320 and 1360-1370 respectively.

On the exterior there is a Judensau (Jews' sow) in the form of a sow and three Jews hanging onto its teats. The Judensau faces in the direction of the former Jewish quarter at the Neupfarrplatz. In 2005 there was a controversy about the posting of an informational sign.

The Judensau (June 2004).

The All Saints' Chapel in the cathedral cloister was built in 1164 as a burial chapel for Bishop Hartwig II by master builders from Como, in northern Italy. Its interior consists of a more finely articulated triconchos with frescoes from the time of its construction.

Most of the valuable stained glass windows were installed between 1220-1230 and 1320-1370. The windows of the west facade were only completed in the 19th century. In 1967-1968 came the windows of the left chancel, from the hand of the artist Professor Oberberger. He also produced the Pentecost window in the west of the north transept and the clerestory windows in Gothic style.

The silver high altar stems from Augsburg artists and was built in the period between 1695 and 1785. A particular feature is the five Gothic altars of reservation. In the south choir a new altar of celebration was built in 2004, the work of Helmut Langhammer.

St. Peter Canisius preached from the stone pulpit in the central nave in 1556-1557.

Significance[edit]

The Regensburg Cathedral is the bishop's church and the principal church of the Regensburg diocese. It is also the home of the Regensburger Domspatzen ("cathedral sparrows"), a choir rich in tradition. The structure is considered the most significant Gothic work in southern Germany.

The Cathedral is also the burial place of important bishops, including Johann Michael von Sailer (1829-1832, memorial built by Konrad Eberhard in the south chancel), Georg Michael Wittmann (1832-1833, memorial also by Konrad Eberhard in the north chancel), and Archbishop Michael Buchberger (1927-1961, likewise in the north chancel). In the western part of the central nave stands a bronze memorial for the Prince-Bishop Cardinal Philipp Wilhelm (d. 1598), the brother of Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hubel, Achim (2010). Regensburg: St Peter's Cathedral. Schnell, Art Guide (4th ed.). Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner. p. 12. ISBN 978-3-7954-6162-1. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Peter Morsbach, Die Erbauer des Domes. Die Geschichte der Regensburger Dommeisterfamilie Roriczer-Engel (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner 2009).

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°01′10″N 12°05′53″E / 49.01944°N 12.09806°E / 49.01944; 12.09806