St. Thomas Church

Strasbourg, France

The church of St. Thomas is the main Lutheran church of the city since its Cathedral became Catholic again after the annexation of the town by France in 1681. The site on which the current church stands was used as a place of worship under the patronage of Thomas the Apostle as early as the sixth century. In the ninth century, Bishop Adelochus established a magnificent church with adjoining school, however both burned down in 1007, and again in 1144. In 1196, construction began on the façade of a new, fortress-like building with an imposing steeple, built in the Roman style. Interrupted several times, the building work was completed in 1521, in the style of the late Gothic.

In 1524, the church converted to the Protestant faith, a status which it maintained despite annexation of Alsace to the Catholic France. It still administers the primary and secondary schools École Saint-Thomas and Foyer Jean Sturm, as well as the Séminaire Protestant, a seminary located in the adjacent Baroque building.

The church is a five-naved hall church, the oldest on the territory of former south-west Germany. Inside it is approximately 65 metres long and 30 metres wide, with a height of 22m (30m under the late-Gothic cupola). There is a gallery on the left outer aisle, and chapels to the left and right of the apse.

The church is internationally renowned for its historic and musically-significant organs: the 1741 Silbermann organ, played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1778 and faithfully restored in 1979 by Alfred Kern; the French organist Louis Thiry recorded the Art of fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach on this organ. Another organ is the 1905 organ (installed in 1906) built by Fritz Haerpfer, following a design by Albert Schweitzer.

Monuments at the church date from between 1130 and 1850. Most famous are the richly decorated sarcophagus of Bishop Adelochus (1130) and the huge, late-Baroque mausoleum of Marshall Maurice de Saxe (1777), created by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. Among the many other remarkable monuments, the Renaissance tombstone of Nikolaus Roeder von Tiersberg (1510) is notable for its realistic depiction of his decaying corpse. Roeder had been the donor of the life-size Mount of Olives group of sculptures (1498) now to be seen inside Strasbourg Cathedral. Neoclassical sculptor Landolin Ohmacht is represented by two works, one of them dedicated to Jean-Frédéric Oberlin.

A late-Gothic representation of Saint Michael is, after the Saint Christopher in St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Wissembourg, the largest of its kind in France.

Of the medieval leaded windows, only the rose at the front of the church remains intact. In the nave, the upper parts of the windows are lavishly decorated with architectural and botanical motifs. The representations of saints that were originally found below were destroyed in the 16th century by Protestant iconoclasts. The choir windows are of a contemporary style.

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Details

Founded: 1196
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Myeongcheol Oh (15 months ago)
Beautiful and historical gothic style church
Bhavana K (16 months ago)
The organ played by Mozart can be found here. The centre carved stone is symbolic of France and its struggles.
Mark Choa (2 years ago)
Nice looking cathedral. Didn't go inside.
Herr Em (2 years ago)
Great church you need to see. It played a most important role in the (protestant) reformation in Straßbourg! Inside you will see the great architecture (it is a so called "große Hallenkirche") and sometimes you may have music or organ concerts.
indah nuria Savitri (2 years ago)
Beautiful, historical church! Famous for its Gothic style, Rose window and Mozart music notes and instruments. Beautiful, solemn visit if you are around.
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