St. Mary's Church

Marienberg, Germany

St. Mary's Church (Marienkirche) in Marienberg is the most recent of the three Ore Mountain Late Gothic hall churches. After the Protestants in the town had been given a loghouse church in 1537, the year of the Reformation, this was demolished to make way for the new St. Mary's church. After its foundation stone had been laid in April 1558, the new church was consecrated in February 1564. During the town fire on 31 August 1610 the church was burned down apart from its outer walls, the tower and the later vestry. From 1611 to 1616 it was given a roof, posts and rood loft, all made from wood. In 1616, services were held once more in the church and the triumphal cross was set up again. A new altar was installed in 1617. The wooden posts and roof were replaced from 1669 to 1675 by Andreas Klengel using Tuscan stone columns and a groin vault with stuccoed ribs.

The hall of the ashlar building is 45 metres long and 26 metres wide and has an irregular, pentagonal chancel in which the old vestry with its inflexed arch windows and door is located. The three aisles are the same height. Chancel and nave have high two-storey, four-panelled round arch windows with tracery and a rich profile. In the cornice beneath the eaves, Renaissance figures are visible. The high gable roof has numerous dormers, grouped in a triangle. The onion dome of the west tower, which is flanked by two staircase towers, dates to 1616. The lavishly decorated portal at the west end dates to the period before the great fire and has an ordered ogee arch and Verstabungen.

In the old baptistry is a plain rib with a portrait, characteristic of Blechschmidt. In the porch of the left hand tower, as well as Blechschmidt's stonemason's marks are portraits presumably of Prince Elector Augustus and his wife, Anne of Denmark, which were richly given to the building, as well as other stonemason's marks.

Interior architecture

The stellar vaulting in the narthex and the two adjacent rooms date to the first phase of building. A pointed arch portal with Verstabungen leads to the tower staircase. The vault of the light, seven-bay nave, despite its Gothic arches, is characterised by stucco in the baroque style. Above the capitals of the mighty columns are free-standing acanthus branches, separating arches and the transverse arches of the side aisles with stuccoed acanthus ornamentation.

The stuccoed cloth hangers (Tuchgehänge), fruit cords (Fruchtschnüre) and 25 angels' heads on the balustrades of the surrounding rood screens were prepared under the direction of Italian stuccoer, Alessandro Pernasione, who had been commissioned by the senior state architect (Oberlandbaumeister), Wolf Caspar von Klengel. The design of the organ loft of 1896 is less accomplished. The ribbed vaulting of the sacristy on the eastern side dates to the years 1558 to 1560.


The richly decorated altar is built on wooden columns and has scrollwork by Andreas Hellmert dating to 1617. The mannerist paintings are by the court artist in Dresden, Kilian Fabricius. The eucharist is portrayed in the predella, the birth of Christ in the main panel, his entombment in the upper panel and the annunciation on the sides. On the halter of the donkey is the inscription 'DAMNARE POTEST QUI MELIORA FACIT' ('He may criticize, who does better'). On the collar of the dog is the date 1616. The figures of Moses and John the Baptist probably date to the 16th century.

The sandstone pulpit, with its steps, a simple pedestal and rich strapwork ornamentation was made after 1610. The pulpit ceiling dates to 1896 and bears the Latin inscription: 'QUI EX DEO EST VERBUM DEI AUDIT Johann 8' ('Whoever belongs to God hears what God says'). The font is made of Crottendorf marble and dates to 1860. It was given to the church by an anonymous donor from the parish.

During the renovation and repainting of the nave in 1896 a stained glass window was installed by the Zittau firm of Türcke, which portrays Christ as the judge of the world. In 1954 the interior was painted in a shade of grey.

The lifesize crucifix dates to the mid-17th century. The two lifesize wooden mining figures were carved in 1687 and were formerly caryatids for the pew used by the mining office. The two mining lanterns date to 1614 and 1743.

The Late Gothic carved altar from a workshop in Freiberg was manufactured in the early 16th century and comes from the hospital church in Lengefeld that burned down in 1892. In the centre panel Mary is depicted between Saints Peter and Paul; on the inner face is the Passion and on the outer sides the Evangelists. The wings probably came from the workshop of Michael Wohlgemut. The altar was restored and set out again in April 2001.

The small carved altar with Anna selbdritt comes from the Marienberg chapel of St Fabian and St Sebastian, which had been built shortly after the foundation of the town near the Zschopau Gate.



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Founded: 1558
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Reformation & Wars of Religion (Germany)

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User Reviews

Oskar Schönherr (3 years ago)
The Marieberger Stadtkirche is worth a look. We recommend a tour of the tower, which gives an impression of the extensive renovations and the bells, but also allows a beautiful view of the city. It is a shame that the former tower-keeper's apartment is empty and is not used for any other purpose (for fire protection reasons?). Unfortunately, the abandoned rooms seem cold and strange.
Gerd Schubert (3 years ago)
Nice church, house of God and a good spiritual open evening.
Karin Heinss (3 years ago)
The church is very beautiful and always worth a visit. We went to church for confirmation. The celebration was very well organized and solemn.
Steve Montag (5 years ago)
A beautiful church in the heart of Marienberg. Should be seen when you are there. The sanctuary is beautifully designed with a beautiful altar. There is also a handicapped accessible entrance. Clear recommendation to have a look ?
Andi Fritzsch (5 years ago)
The St. Mary's Church in Marienberg is definitely worth a visit. The church is located just a few steps from the market square and is within easy walking distance. Parking is sufficiently available at the market. The church is very beautiful both inside and out, and the sound of the bells can be heard throughout the place. Of course you should also listen to the Silbermann organ
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