St. Paulinus' Church

Trier, Germany

Saint Paulinus' is one of the most important Baroque churches in Rhineland-Palatinate. Constructed between 1734 and 1753, the interior was designed by Johann Balthasar Neumann. The ceiling of the nave features a painting by the artist Christoph Thomas Scheffler. The tomb of the saint after whom the church is named, Paulinus of Trier, is located in the church's crypt.

Based in Germany's oldest city with a significant Roman history, three church buildings have stood on the site since the 4th century. Felix of Trier, a bishop of the city who held the post from 386 to 398, initiated the erection of a crypt and church on the current site of Saint Paulinus' Church, near a cemetery and just outside the walls of the city. Several centuries later, in 1093, a fire destroyed the building, but the crypt was spared damage.

Following the fire of the original, ancient church, a new building was constructed under Archbishop Bruno. Pope Eugene III consecrated the completed church in 1148. Smaller than the present building, the basilica featured a twin-tower façade with staircases either side, not unlike the balconies on the west face of the Cathedral of Trier, built for displaying relics to the public. French troops besieged and occupied Trier in 1673. In order to make space for an encampment, soldiers blew up the church the following year.

Sixty years after the destruction of the second church by French troops, Franz Georg von Schönborn-Buchheim, Archbishop of Trier, funded the erection of a new basilica. Designed as a single nave, probably by the architect Christian Kretzschmar, most of the internal elements were the work of Johann Balthasar Neumann, a significant Baroque architect responsible for several impressive buildings, such as the Würzburg Residence. Dates for the completion of the church are given as 1743 or 1753, but it was consecrated in 1757. The tower reaches a height of 53 metres, and the length of the building is 52 m.

Between 1802 and 1804, the monastery associated with the church was dissolved when assets were seized by the French, losing the church its collegial status and becoming a parish church instead. On 23 May 1958, Pope Pius XII awarded the church Basilica minor status.

As well as being the architect of the building, Neumann contributed his Rococo architectural flair to several internal elements, including the stucco work, ornate altars, and ciborium. The sculptor Ferdinand Tietz carried out several of Neumann's plans, carving elements such as the statuary and choir stalls. The ceiling of the nave features a large fresco painted by Christoph Thomas Scheffler, portraying scenes from the life of St Paulinus and depictions of the martyrdom of the Theban Legion.

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Details

Founded: 1734-1753
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Thirty Years War & Rise of Prussia (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Torsten Hoffmann (3 years ago)
Eine sehr schöne Kirche. Die Messen, insbesondere die Predigten sehr interessant und schön zuzuhören. Ich gehe sehr gerne dorthin und freue mich immer darauf.
Astrid M (4 years ago)
It is a baroque basilica by Balthasar Neumann. The construction is impressive and the organ has a great sound. It is my home parish and as a child I was particularly impressed by the ceiling paintings.
archivist “Sipayung” singer (5 years ago)
In GOD we trust
Save my memory Photography (5 years ago)
I was amazed by this small and maybe an unknown church to many by its gorgeous interior and stunning paintings. Absolutely worth visiting when you're in Trier.
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