The Church of Our Lady in Assens is the second largest church on the island of Funen. The main chapel on the north side of the church and the lower, square part of the tower are remains of a Romanesque church. In 1488 the church stood in its present form. The Catholic past of the building is heralded in a monstrance, now located to the right of the altar, and a stoup in what was then the porch.
After the Reformation, it came into use as a protestant church. It underwent rough-handed restoration work in 1842-56 and 1881-84.
The church is a three-nave church built in large, red brick of the type in Denmark known as monk stone (munkesten). Typically of Gothic churches, the roofs of the aisles are lower than that of the central nave, allowing light to enter through clerestory windows. The tower stands at 48 metres. Its octagonal upper part is unusual in Danish church architecture, the only similar design is that of the five towers of Church of Our Lady in Kalundborg.
The altarpiece dates from about 1620. The painting is from 1826 and by Dankvart Dreyer. It was a gift from the painter who was born in Assens and settled there again later in life. Another work by a local artist found in the church is a marble angel created by the sculptor Jens Adolf Jerichau who was born in Assens in 1816, incidentally the same year as Dreyer. The pulpit, from the second half of the 17th century, was made in Hans Nielsen Bangs's workshop and is decorated with woodcarvings depicting scenes from the Passion on the sides, and nine wooden figures on the edges, probably representing nine of the disciples. Figures of the last three disciples may have decorated the stairs leading up to the pulpit. It also has an hour glass from the 18th century, probably to ensure that the priest's services did not last more than one hour. The wrought iron balustrade of the altar rails feature a crossed hammer and key, the trademark of King Christian IV's court smith, Casper Finck.
More than 450 people were buried inside the church in the 18th century. Some were covered with richly decorated tomb stones while others were covered with brick or simple wooden planks. All the burials were removed from the church in the beginning of the 19th century when burials inside churches were abolished due to health risk. The tomb stones were then placed along the external walls of the church.References:
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.
The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.
Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.
In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.
The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.