Going to church: Jesuitenkirche Heidelberg

Since it is Sunday, this is a good time for another “Going to church” blogpost. It’s been a while since the first one (which you can find here), but I’ve seen some nice churches recently, so yay, new material! As per usual, keep in mind: I am not a Christian, nor a religious person, I just happen to enjoy churches a lot, so here we go:

Let us first take a tour around the building. The curious thing about the Jesuitenkirche is, that it is one of the two major churches in Heidelberg in terms of sheer size. Yet, while the other one, the Heiliggeistkirche is easily visible within the historic city, the Jesuitenkirche (Jesuit church) is kinda hidden away and springs up rather surprisingly once you stand in front of it. It’s massive, but all the buildings around are so close that you only really see it from up above or if you stand right in front of it. Since I lack a good camera and there was no way to stand back far enough, there is not picture of the whole church, except for the one at the bottom of this post.

The Jesuitenkirche is at the heart of the Jesuit Quarter in Heidelberg and main church of the Roman-Catholic Heilig-Geist-parish of Heidelberg. It has been built from 1712 to 1759 in the style of the Baroque, but the church tower is a more recent building, having been completed in 1872. Instead of being oriented towards the east, as churches usually are, this one is oriented towards the south, for whatever reason (but makes for a little curiosity, right?). The pieta is by the sculptor Julius Seitz, created in 1905. The organ is the most recent addition, dating back to only 2009, when the old organ was given to a private museum.

The two pictures right above and below depict two sculptures, that are part of a larger exhibition going on primarily in the church-adjacent Museum for sacral art and liturgy (in the church’s crypt apparently) titled “Gott – weiblich” (God – female) tracing back stories and histories of female depictions of God and asking for the female side of the Christian god. As a feminist I was very pleased to see that, escpecially since it is being made visible within the church itself.

Another really interesting project going on within the church itself are these two red towers in the image above. They are made of little clay bricks and serve to remember the dead. People close to one’s heart, who recently passed away, can be immortalized by writing their name in the wet clay, have the bricks be burnt and then added to these towers (representing church towers, if I remember correctly). I thought this was an incredibly awesome idea and love the fact that it is openly featured within the church nave. Cool things happen in churches, who’da thunk it?
And below one last glimpse on the church exterior, from afar, to be more precise: from on top of the hill where the Heidelberg Castle ruins are located. Go have a look, if you’re there!


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