St. James' Church serves as a church on the pilgrimage route to St. James Church in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The church was built between 1311-1484. Its east chancel was completed in 1322, nave built from 1373-1436, and west choir, which bridges the street, from 1453-1471. The church was consecrated in 1485 by the Bishop of Würzburg. In 1525 the peasant leader Florian Geyer read aloud the articles of the revolting peasants from its west chancel.
Its western gallery contains the famous Holy Blood altarpiece of the Würzburg wood carver Tilman Riemenschneider, carved 1500-1505, (illustrated below) which includes a rock crystal reliquary cross (c. 1270). The altar includes scenes of the entry into Jerusalem (right wing), Lord's Supper (shrine) with Judas as central figure and the Mount of Olives (left wing).
Other important relics include the High Altar (1466 by Friedrich Herlin, a pupil of Rogier van der Weyden) in the east choir, which represents on its back side the oldest depiction of the city of Rothenburg and rare images of the Jakobs pilgrim legend, as well as an altar of Tilman Riemenschneider and Mary Coronation altar with sculptures from different centuries, including the Riemenschneider school. The stained glass windows of the east chancel are adorned with valuable images from 1350-1400 AD, including the left window with scenes of the life of the Virgin Mary, central window with scenes from Christ's life and passion, and right window representing Christ's work of redemption and sacraments.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.