St. Lambert's Church

Münster, Germany

St. Lambert's church in Münster was built between 1375 and 1450. It is best known for of three iron cages in which the bodies of Anabaptist leader Jan Matthys and his lieutenants were exhibited in 1535 after their torture and execution. This  was the last episode of so-called Münster Rebellion.

Jan Matthys was a charismatic Anabaptist leader in Haarlem. In 1534, an Anabaptist insurrection took control of Münster, the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire's Prince-Bishopric of Münster. John of Leiden, a Dutch Anabaptist, and a group of local merchants, summoned Matthys to come. Matthys identified Münster as the 'New Jerusalem', and on January 5, 1534, a number of his disciples entered the city and introduced adult baptism. Reformer Bernhard Rothmann apparently accepted 'rebaptism' that day, and well over 1000 adults were soon baptized.

They declared war on Franz von Waldeck, its expelled prince-bishop, who besieged the fortified town. In April 1534 on Easter Sunday, Matthys, who had prophesied God's judgment to come on the wicked on that day, made a sally forth with twelve followers, under the idea that he was a second Gideon, and was cut off with his entire band. He was killed, dismembered and his head stuck on a pike. Later that evening, his genitals were nailed to the city door.

The 25-year old John of Leiden was subsequently recognized as Matthys' religious and political successor, justifying his authority and actions by the receipt of visions from heaven. His authority grew, eventually proclaiming himself to be the successor of David and adopting royal regalia, honors and absolute power in the new 'Zion'. Meanwhile, most of the residents of Münster were starving as a result of the year-long siege.

After lengthy resistance, the city was taken by the besiegers on June 24, 1535 and John of Leiden and several other prominent Anabaptist leaders were captured and imprisoned. In January 1536 John of Leiden, Bernhard Knipperdolling and one more prominent follower, Bernhard Krechting, were tortured and executed in the marketplace of Münster. Their bodies were exhibited in cages, which hung from the steeple of St. Lambert's Church. The bones were removed later, but the cages hang there still.

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Details

Founded: 1375-1450
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Esther 7 (4 months ago)
Nice stained glass windows and someone played the organ very beautiful. The location of the church is also perfect, next to the beautiful houses and the shops.
Edgü (4 months ago)
This gothic church is over 1000 years old, right at the city centre, we have visited on a sunday, they were singing and organ was insane… we loved it, surrounded by many old buildings, one of them is old “rathaus” and there is a palaeontology museum in it.
Zubair Alshikhi (4 months ago)
It was amazing from the outside but inside nothing special
Bibiana PR (5 months ago)
Nice small church. It has the ladder sculpture that represents Jacob's dream. When we visited there was an organ concert. Free entrance.
Fabian Nguyen (10 months ago)
Attention all history buffs and ghost hunters: St. Lamberti is the place for you! This medieval church has got it all - creepy crypts, spooky stories, and even a tower with some grisly history (I won't spoil the surprise, but let's just say it involves some unfortunate rebels and a not-so-happy ending). But don't let the eerie vibes scare you off - the beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stonework are worth the risk of encountering a ghostly apparition. Just be sure to bring a flashlight and maybe some holy water, just in case ?
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