St. Christoph's Church, Mainz

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The ruins of St. Christoph at Mainz. World War II memorial and a symbol of the destroyed Mainz, Parish Church of Johannes Gutenberg

The church of St. Christoph in Mainz, known in German as St. Christoph zu Mainz, is an example of early gothic architecture. St. Christoph was originally built between 1240 and 1330. The church is known as the Parish Church and Baptistry of Johannes Gutenberg.

It had been erected in Christofstraße in the historic city centre of Mainz and adjacent to the Karmeliterplatz. Its ruins are one of several war memorials in the city of Mainz, in memory of the victims and the destruction of the city in World War II, such as the bombing of Mainz on 27 February 1945.

History[edit]

The former parish church was mentioned for the first time in documents of 893. In a document by Pope Innocent II in the year 1140 the patronage of St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier was laid down.

Except for its Romanesque tower with pairings of two arched windows, dating from around 1240, the present building dates from the decades around 1280 until the 1330. In the 17th and 18th century, the church was renovated and redesigned in Baroque architecture.

Peter Canisius joined the Society of Jesus effective on 8 May 1543 as the eighth person and placed his vow in the rectory of St. Christopher.[1] In 1762 the church was renovated.[2]

During World War II it was razed except for the external walls. During the great air raid on Mainz on 12 and 13 August 1942 St. Christopher burned down, whereas a renewed bombing on 27 February 1945 with tactical demolition bombs brought the vaults to collapse. The outer walls have been restored and protected on the north side by concrete columns. The new buttresses have been provided with a relief by the Mainz sculptor Heinz Hemrich carrying symbolic representations of the city's history. The church now is designed as a war memorial. A commemorative plaque in the floor tells the embedded text ″Den Toten zum Gedenken/ Den Lebenden zur Mahnung″ ″In memory of the dead / as a reminder for the Living".

Right next to the church stands the most modern Gutenberg statue of the city. It was created to celebrate the year 2000 Gutenberg celebrations of Mainz by sculptor Karl Heinz Oswald. The iron sculpture displays the Gutenberg printing press. Gutenberg used for printing a wooden press, reminiscent of construction, mechanics and operation of a wine press. The windows in the chancel and the glass wall in the chancel were designed by Alois Plum.[3]

Decorations and furnishings[edit]

Occasionally changing design elements of the Roman Catholic City Chaplaincy appear,located in the rebuilt east choir in the basement of the Romanesque tower. In this chapel, which is used by the International Orthodox parish, windows of the Mainz glass artist Alois Plum can be seen. St.Christoph provides room for their predominantly German church services - with simple decor for the Byzantine Rite.

Preserved decorations[edit]

  • The oldest organ in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz, surviving in parts, which was built in 1667 by Johann Peter Geissel for St. Christopher's Church in Mainz was sold after 1773 to Gau-Bischofsheim, where it stands today in the parish church.
  • In the eastern part of the church is a Gothic baptismal font, which is supported by four lion heads, dating back to the time of Gutenberg.
  • A Rococo sculpture of St. Valentine was rescued in the chaos of the war and was taken to the Carmelite Church. The Valentines pilgrimage was translocated just as well.

Lost decorations[edit]

  • Since 1792 a miracle Cross from the time around 1300 was kept in St. Christoph.

References[edit]

This article incorporates information from the revision as of 2012-12-29 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hans Baumann: Daten der Mainzer Stadtgeschichte in: Vierteljahreshefte für Kultur, Politik, Wirtschaft, Geschichte; Hrsg.: Stadt Mainz; Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz, II/1993
  2. ^ Christiane Reves: Bausteine zur Mainzer Stadtgeschichte: Mainzer Kolloquium 2000. Franz Steiner Verlag, Band 55 2002, ISBN 978-3-515-08176-4.
  3. ^ Custodis, Paul Georg (2006). "Botschaften in Glas: Alois Plum rückt Sakralbauten ins rechte Licht". Mainz 26 (2): 112–117.  p. 11.

Coordinates: 50°00′07″N 8°16′20″E / 50.0019°N 8.2722°E / 50.0019; 8.2722