The Church of Old Saint Peter's in Strasbourg is first mentioned in 1130. On 22 May 1398 the Chapter of the Abbey of Honau, which had been in Rhinau since 1290, moved to Old St Peter's because of flooding in Rhinau. The Chapter stayed there until 1529, conducting its services in the choir, while the parish occupied the nave. When the Catholic rite was restored in 1683, the Chapter returned to the Church and stayed there until 1790, when it was wound up.
On 20 February 1529, when Strasbourg openly joined the Reformation and suspended the practice of the mass, the Church became Lutheran. Martin Bucer and the other Strasbourg reformers had campaigned for several years to have Protestant services in all of Strasbourg's churches, but in 1525 the city council had voted to retain the mass in several churches, including Old St Peter's. In 1535, in the context of the Reform, a Latin school, or 'Middle school' was opened at Old Saint Peters.
In 1683, two years after the annexation of Strasbourg by France, Louis XIV ordered that part of the Church be returned to the Catholics and that a wall be constructed inside the church by the rood screen, to restrict the Protestant services to the Nave. It was not until 2012 that a door was opened in this dividing wall.
In the 19th century, the Catholic part of the Church was extended. The extension was designed by the architect Conrath and opened in 1867.
The Catholic Church contains relics of Brigit of Kildare as well as a number of important works of art classified as Monuments historiques such as the 'Cycle of the Passion of Christ', a series of ten Gothic paintings by Heinrich Lutzelmann (1485), the 'Scenes from the Life of St Peter' an (incomplete) series of four wooden early Renaissance or late Gothic reliefs made around 1500 and a series of four 1504 paintings depicting 'Scenes of the Life of Christ after the Resurrection'.
The Lutheran part of the church, presently owned and used by a congregation within the Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine, also features some notable works of art, among which the wooden Renaissance relief 'Holy Family' (1520s) by Hans Wydyz, classified as a Monument historique.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.