Christian's Church

Copenhagen, Denmark

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.

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Details

Founded: 1754-1758
Category: Religious sites in Denmark
Historical period: Absolutism (Denmark)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Giovanni Balzi (6 months ago)
Autumn sure is nice!
marcus van Webber (8 months ago)
It's a nice church, with lots of little rooms for family and friends. it's great in these days with covid 19. I'm not a man of God ?, so it's nice to be able to sit back and relax during the service. the priest is very modern and perhaps a little bit too relaxed, in the sense that one is not sure that he's a true believer. Or maybe that's just the modern way
Larry Dahle (2 years ago)
One of 6 beautiful Churches in Copenhagen. The spires are open to the public during daytime.
Ouiski (2 years ago)
Nice church with a very interesting crypt to see also
Marcus Moore (3 years ago)
Must visit
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