The Church of St. Pantaleon is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne. The church dates back to the 10th century. The former monastery church is consecrated to Saint Pantaleon and the Saints Cosmas and Damian and is the oldest church of the cult of Saint Pantaleon west of Byzantium. The empress Theophanu and the archbishop Bruno the Great are buried in the church, which also contains shrines of saints Alban, the first Christian martyr of Britain, and Maurinus of Cologne.
A Roman villa originally occupied the hill, just outside Roman Cologne, on which the church stands. Remains of this villa are still visible in the church crypt. The villa was replaced with a church around 870 and in 955, Archbishop Bruno the Great (brother of Emperor Otto the Great) added a Benedictine abbey. Here, Bruno was buried after his death. In 966, work was begun on a new church to go with the monastery. The church was consecrated in 980.
Holy Roman Empress Theophanu, a Byzantine princess who was married to Emperor Otto II in 972, ordered the construction of the current facade and was also buried in the church at her own request.
From 1618 onwards, the building was remodeled in several phases to a Baroque style church. The monastery was dissolved after Cologne was occupied by French revolutionary forces in 1794. The church then served as a horse stable, and, after Cologne became Prussian in 1815, as a Protestant garrison church. A semaphore telegraph was placed on the roof of the church to enable rapid communication between Cologne and the Prussian capital of Berlin.
In 1890–1892 the building underwent restoration and in 1922 the church, through an exchange with the Cologne Charterhouse, again became Catholic. During the Second World War, the roof, parts of the outer walls and a large part of the interior were destroyed, but after the war the church was restored. During this restoration, in 1955-1962, an archeological survey was conducted. Around 1956-1957, new church bells were placed, and in 1963 a new organ was installed.
The coffered ceiling in the nave, depicting the Tree of Jesse and portraits of various saints, was designed and realised by artist Dieter Hartmann and was made possible by support of the booster club for the Romanesque churches of Cologne. The ceiling in the flanking westwork was done by artist Gerhard Kadow in 1966, and depicts the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Since the 10th century, the church holds a shrine to Saint Alban. The remains of Saint Alban probably ended up in the church after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII of England in the 16th century. In 2002, a collar bone, one of the relics in the shrine, was moved to St Albans Cathedral in St Albans, England, and placed in the shrine to Saint Alban there.
The church also contains a 12th-century shrine to Maurinus of Cologne said to contain the remains of this saint.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.