Christian's Church is a magnificent Rococo church in the Christianshavn district of Copenhagen. After Christian IV founded Christianshavn in 1617 as a town specially for merchants, a large community of German tradrers and craftsmen settled there. Even though Christianshavn had been incorporated into Copenhagen prior to 1674, they did not attend St. Peter's Church like the rest of the city's German community but preferred to use the local Church of Our Saviour. This lasted until they finally asked King Christian VI for permission to build their own church. The King approved the plans and contributed with a lot, a former saltern, located at the end of Strandgade in the southern part of the neighbourhood. He also granted permission for a lottery to be held to cover the project's financing with the result that the finished church used to be colloquially known as the Lottery Church.
Nicolai Eigtved, the king's preferred architect at the time, was charged with the design of the new church but died in 1754, before construction started. Instead his son-in-law, Royal Master Builder Georg David Anthon, was entrusted with supervising the actual construction of the church which was completed in 1759. Anthon also designed the spire which is an addition from 1769.
The church originally called Frederik's German Church (Danish: Frederiks Tyske Kirke), and served its original purpose as a church for the German congregation until it was dissolved in 1886. In 1901 the name of the church was changed to the current Christian's Church to complement and avoid confusion with Frederik's Church in Frederiksstaden in the other side of the harbour, as well as to conmemorate Christian IV, the founder of the Christianshavn area. Since 1991 it has been a regular parish church for Christian's Parish which includes part of Christianshavn as well as Slotsholmen.
The church has a rectangular layout, the nave occupying the space between the shorter rather than the longer sides of the rectangle, giving it exceptional width. Standing on a granite plinth, the church is a yellow brick (Flensborg sten) building with sandstone finishing for the portal and tower. Ionic pilasters decorate the portal and the round-arched windows are tall and slender. The tower stands 70 metres high. Designed by Eigtved's son-in-law D. G. Anthon, the spire was added in 1769.
The unusual interior of Christian's Church is reminiscent of a theatre. In addition to the benches on either side of the nave, three tiers of galleries complete with boxes rise the full height of the building on the northern, western and southern sides. They are all arranged to provide the congregation with an excellent view of the podium on the eastern side which is reminiscent of a stage. It is dominated by the tall slender altarpiece which consists not only of the altar table itself but also of the pulpit above it and the organ at the very top. The ornate entrance, topped by the royal box, is opposite the altar and under the tower on the western side.
The organ stands in the integrated altarpiece above a clock face in the medieval tradition. The original instrument was built in 1759 by the leading authority of the day, Hartvig Jochum Müller. In 1917, I. Starup built a new pneumatic instrument on Müllers facade, and in 1976 the church acquired today's organ designed by P.-G. Andersen.
The church also has a large crypt covering the full area of the nave above. Divided into 48 burial chapels, it has been used for burials ever since the church's consecration in 1759 and is still in use today.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.