St. Mary's Church

Rostock, Germany

St. Mary's Church is the biggest of three town churches in the Hanseatic city of Rostock. St. Mary's was designated in 1265 as the main parish church and since the Protestant Reformation in 1531 it's the house of a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Mecklenburg.

St. Mary's Church is a large Brick Gothic church. It was enlarged and modified at the end of the 14th century into the present basilica. The first reference to a church on this site is in 1232, which is thought to be the predecessor of the current building. The triple-nave cross-shaped basilica is in Brick Gothic, a building style typical of the Hanseatic port cities of northern Germany. The huge tower with a baroque lantern at the top was not completed until the end of the 18th century.

The high altar was built in 1721 by a Berlin craftsman, mainly from painted wood. The Renaissance style pulpit was made by Rudolf Stockmann in 1574. It was the first item of decoration to be installed in St. Mary's Church after the Reformation. Decorated with scenes from the passion of Jesus and a baroque abat-voix from 1723, the pulpit now creates the effect of a unit. To get over the poor acoustics in St. Mary's, the pulpit was built in the middle of the church to ensure closeness to the congregation.

The monumental south portal window of the transept with a height of 26 meters shows The Day of Judgement. It is one of the largest single stained glass windows in Europe and was made by ' Tyrolean stained glass Innsbruck ' from 1894 till 1904. It survived the Second World War in various states of disrepair. It was thoroughly restored between 2003 and 2008 by a Mecklenburgean master from Dresden and equipped with a protective glazing.

The Bronze font from 1290 is one of the oldest pieces in St. Mary's. The font is decorated with scenes from the life and passion of Jesus. The font is carried by four kneeling men and the lid is crowned by a bronze eagel. According to the inscription, the basin was founded for Easter 1290 and the work was carried out in a Rostock workshop. During the World War II the Bronze font was hidden somewhere in Mecklenburg by the church staff to prevent it from being melted down for war material.

The late gothic St. Roch altar is a sidealtar of once 39 in this church. Manufactured from oak wood in 1530 the master carver can probably be found in the circles around carver Benedict Dreyer of Lübeck. In the centre of the shrine is the patron Saint Roch. An angel points to the plague spot, the attribute of the deadly disease. Roch is a saint of Black Death and it is assumed that the altar was built and set up in connection with Black Death epidemics which also ravaged in Rostock.

The huge baroque facade of the 'Marienorgel' was designed and built in 1770 by Paul Schmidt, organ builder of Rostock. Because of faults in the wind supply, it did not fulfill the expectations and it was completely rebuilt in 1793 by Ernst Marx of Berlin. Further modifications were undertaken at the end of the 19th century. In 1938, the organ was rebuilt again by the Sauer firm of Frankfurt/Oder. Today, it contains 83 stops with 5.700 pipes, playable by electro-pneumatic action on four manuals and pedal. About 30 stops have been retained from the previous instruments.

In the 1942 heavy air raids by the Royal Air Force, which lasted three days, much of Rostock was destroyed. The sexton of St. Mary's Mr. Bombowski saved the church by decisive action. Although three incendiary bombs smashed through the roof of the tower, he extinguished the fire with the help from his daughter and a German auxiliary airforce commando. Inside the church is a famous picture by the painter Egon Tschirch from 1947 which depicts St. Mary's Church surrounded by ruins.

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Details

Founded: 1265
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Johanna Mayrberger (5 months ago)
Nice church with a beautiful organ, worth a visit. ?
George Sza (12 months ago)
Beautiful historical church with a working astrological clock.
Jordan Kalkandjiev (2 years ago)
The church is very interesting. Huge old astronomical clock, lots of graves.
Kenneth Brookes (2 years ago)
Very interesting place ... taken there during a guided walk and found it very good.
Bill Flapan (2 years ago)
The astronomical clock was amazing. The tour guide gave more information than I ever wanted to know about this clock but that was fine. Did not get to hear the organ. There were four keyboards. I don't know how anyone can play that. Touring the church was like a trip back in time. Definitely worth your time
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