Berlin Cathedral

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Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Cathedral (2017)

Berlin Cathedral (2017)

place Berlin center
architect Julius Raschdorff
Client Wilhelm II.
Architectural style Neo-Renaissance , Neo-Baroque
Construction year 1894-1905
height 98 m
Floor space 7200 m²
Coordinates 52 ° 31 '9 "  N , 13 ° 24' 4"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '9 "  N , 13 ° 24' 4"  E
* Domes and lanterns simplified.
* Monument church and tunnel demolished

The Berlin Cathedral (officially: Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin ) on Lustgarten on Museum Island is a Protestant church and dynastic grave in the Berlin district of Mitte . Erected in the years 1894–1905 by Julius Raschdorff in neo -renaissance and neo-baroque styles , the monument is the largest Protestant church in Germany and one of the most important dynastic tombs in Europe . In addition to church services , the cathedral is also used for state acts , concerts and other events.

Since the memorial church on the north side was demolished in 1975, the Berlin Cathedral has consisted of the large sermon church in the middle, the smaller baptismal and wedding church on the south side and the Hohenzollern crypt , which takes up almost the entire basement. In World War II heavily damaged the cathedral was outside simplified to 1984 and rebuilt inside faithfully by 2002. A restoration of the original exterior view is discussed again and again.


Originally the cathedral was 114 meters long, 73 meters wide, 116 meters high and offered 2100 seats. Due to the demolished memorial church, the simplified rebuilt dome and the splendid sarcophagus moved into the sermon church, it is now 90 meters long, 98 meters high and offers 1390 seats. The dome has a diameter of 33 meters.


First cathedral 1536–1747

The history of a cathedral on the Spree island goes back to the 15th century. In the recently completed castle , the Erasmus Chapel was consecrated as a court church in 1450 . The collegiate monastery , which was located with her, was confirmed by Pope Paul II in 1465 .

After Joachim II became elector in 1535, he had the Dominican church south of the palace converted into the new court church. The medieval brick church of the Dominicans in Gothic style was expanded, richly furnished, princely burial places were set up and bells were rung. The new cathedral was consecrated in 1536. In 1539 Joachim II converted to the Lutheran faith: the Catholic cathedral became a Protestant cathedral. In 1608 the cathedral chapter was also dissolved and the cathedral became the highest parish church in Cölln .

The conversion of Elector Johann Sigismund and his court to the Reformed Confession on Christmas Day 1613 in the cathedral and its subsequent redesign in the Reformed sense resulted in conflicts with the estates and the Lutheran Church of the Kurmark. In April 1615 they broke loose on the part of the residents in Berlin and Cölln in the so-called Berlin tumult with serious riots and looting of the houses of the Calvinist court clergy.

Second cathedral 1747–1894

Since the brick church had become dilapidated in the following centuries, Friedrich II had a new baroque building built in the Lustgarten, the current location of the cathedral, between 1747 and 1750 , and after the electoral coffins had been transferred to the new building, the old cathedral was demolished. Architects of the September 6, 1750 consecrated the new building were the from the Netherlands originating Johann Bouman , who had a very sober design of the Baroque, and Georg Wenceslaus von Knobelsdorff .

At the beginning of the 19th century, Karl Friedrich Schinkel redesigned the cathedral in a simple variant of the then modern classicism , the interior in the years 1816/1817, the external appearance in the years 1820/1821. The chief civil engineer (government building conductor) during the renovation was the Schinkel student and later Mecklenburg-Strelitz court architect Friedrich Wilhelm Buttel .

During the 19th century, it was discussed whether the existing modest Schinkel Cathedral, which was a reconstruction of the baroque cathedral built under Frederick the Great, was able to cope with the monarchy's demands for representation even longer. At the instigation of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV , it was decided to build a new, more magnificent cathedral church, which was to be built as a two-tower basilica with a three-aisled nave based on the Italian model. Friedrich August Stüler , a student of Schinkel , provided the designs . The first construction work has started. The foundation walls with the prominent apses were built in the Spree . The high walls of the planned royal burial site and Hohenzollern burial place, the so-called Campo Santo by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV., Have also been erected next to the cathedral . The royal wash house at this point had previously been demolished. The revolution of 1848 had initially interrupted the construction work. In the following reaction era , public interest in the basilica project declined in favor of a dome construction project. In addition, when the palace dome was completed in 1854, the court had a new, magnificent court church. In the meantime, the House of Representatives in Prussia determined the state budget . Its majority was unwilling to finance the king's ambitious building projects. This meant that construction work had come to a standstill for decades in 1848.

New cathedral construction 1894–1905

Berlin Cathedral on a postcard from around 1900, in front of it the Lustgarten
West facade at night, condition since the simplified reconstruction

After the founding of the empire , the call for a representative house of God was renewed, which could compete with the big churches of the world and at the same time was to replace the evangelical predecessor churches. In 1885 the architect Julius Carl Raschdorff , professor at the Technical University of Charlottenburg , presented plans for a new building. But only Wilhelm II , in his capacity as King and Summus Episcopus in Prussia, initiated the demolition of the Schinkel Cathedral and the construction of a new cathedral according to Raschdorff's plans, which were characterized by an eclectic adaptation of the architectural forms of the Italian High Renaissance and Baroque.

The foundation stone of this building was laid on June 17, 1894, with the aim of being able to inaugurate the building in 1900. However, construction delays meant that this could only take place on February 27, 1905.

A cathedral administration headed by the architect Julius Raschdorf (cathedral builder since July 2, 1892) was responsible for the construction of the new cathedral. This building administration consisted of two departments, a first department for the creation of the construction and execution plans and the supervision of the building models as well as a second department for the actual building execution and its supervision as well as the accounting (with measurement and billing in not easy complexity). The first department, which was also responsible for artistic planning, was headed by Julius Raschdorff's son Otto, with Wilhelm II exerting influence on the design of the cathedral during the entire construction period. The painter Anton von Werner changed his designs for the design of the dome mosaic fields, the mosaic pictures of the evangelists and window designs in the apse of the cathedral church according to Wilhelm's personal wishes. Building supervisor Julius Kleinau was responsible for the management of the second building implementation department by the cathedral building administration, assisted by the later cathedral master builder Bernhard Hoffmann and assisted in the building management until 1896 by the architect Moritz Korn .

The main altar from the previous building, created in 1850 by Friedrich August Stüler, found its place in the new building. Carl Joseph Begas designed the altarpiece of the baptismal and wedding church.

Destruction in World War II and reconstruction

During the Second World War , the cathedral suffered increasing damage. First of all, all the altar windows were destroyed in an Allied air raid on the neighboring Burgstrasse, and larger cracks appeared in the domes of the corner towers. Later, during one of the strongest air raids on Berlin on May 24, 1944, the dome with its lantern was hit hard. A canister filled with liquid fuel set fire to the wooden cladding lined with peat as insulation under the copper roofing. The advancing fire fighting troops could not reach the source of the fire. As a result, the entire dome lantern fell down into the interior of the cathedral, its enormous weight penetrated the floor of the Sermon Church and damaged large parts of the Hohenzollern crypt below . It has been handed down that cathedral organist Fritz Heitmann is said to have played on the organ, which was protected from the falling debris, even with the dome open. Thieves later caused great damage to the organ. They stole around a third of the pipes and tore out lines from the pneumatic action to sell the metal.

After the sermon church had become unusable, the cathedral parish met for the first time at Pentecost 1944 in the crypt under the memorial church. Converted to the cathedral crypt church , apart from an interruption from spring to September 1945, and since 1946 equipped with the Schuke organ, it served the church services of the cathedral community. Until his retirement in 1960, the preacher of the cathedral cathedral Bruno Doehring preached here every Sunday in front of around a thousand believers. Closed in 1971 after a makeshift restoration of the baptism and wedding church, the reduced cathedral crypt was used again in the years 1975–1980 during the restoration work in the baptism and wedding church.

The dome had been able to maintain its shape, but now there was a large gap in the middle. The sermon church, already badly damaged by dust and rubble, suffered further damage from the following weather conditions, as did the dome mosaics . In order to protect the interior of the cathedral, the only option was to close the dome as quickly as possible. The city ​​council therefore decided in 1949 to provide emergency aid so that the necessary work could be completed by 1953. The crypt was not renovated and was not open to the public during these years.

In 1975 the reconstruction of the cathedral finally began. However, the tunnel at the south-west tower and the memorial church on the north side were demolished by the GDR government for ideological reasons , even though both parts of the building survived the Second World War almost intact. In addition, the marble Bismarck sarcophagus was completely destroyed by Reinhold Begas and the splendid sarcophagi of the Hohenzollern family were moved to the now smaller crypt church. At least 204 facade elements of the memorial church were saved and taken to a depot in Ahrensfelde , where they are still located today. The main dome and the four tower ends were not rebuilt according to the original plans, but in a greatly simplified form and each reduced in height by 16 meters. The removal of all end lanterns and the creation of a completely new dome cross were also particularly striking . In 1983 this work had progressed so far that the complex reconstruction of the interior was carried out by 1993 . Both the imperial staircase and the central sermon church were restored according to Raschdorff's original plans. The south portal also received the bronze door of reconciliation by Siegfried Krepp . This was followed by the installation of the colored choir windows and the restoration of the dome mosaics, the last part of which was ceremoniously unveiled in 2002. The extensive cleaning of the Sauer organ also belonged in this context .

In March 2019 it became known that the facade was crumbling due to the effects of soot, rain and exhaust gases and had to be renovated for 1.6 million euros by 2023. A fundraising campaign was started for this.


Historic dome

The dismantling of the dome cross sparked a discussion about whether the five dome lanterns that adorned the building before the war should be put back on. Critics of the dome cross from GDR times criticize in particular that the originally implemented proportions of the building are only inadequately reproduced with the reduced solution. Accordingly, the Evangelical Church Building Association in particular campaigned for a reconstruction of the original state and received support for this from the Gesellschaft Historisches Berlin . In the dispute over this, however, the critics were rejected by the cathedral parish, which was opposed to this request. The fact that the current condition has been placed under monument protection also makes a reconstruction more difficult . The historical dome construction of the substructure, on the other hand, was nominated in 2007 for the award as a historical landmark of civil engineering in Germany .

Dome cross

Dismantled dome cross next to the cathedral, 2006

At the beginning of December 2006, the crowning of the lanterns that had been placed on the cathedral dome in the course of the reconstruction in 1981 was removed. The cathedral construction office called on structural engineers after rust damage was discovered under the gold-plated copper cladding in August 2006. The expert opinion found that the stability of the 12.5 tonne and 15 meter high dome cross was no longer guaranteed during storms. Since the construction of hollow steel molds had been completely eaten away inside and out, it could not be restored.

The damage was due to bimetal corrosion , which occurs when different noble metals (here: copper and steel) are combined and which leads to the corrosion of the less noble metal (here: steel). In the 1970s , the KT steel used (corrosion resistant steel, Corten steel ) was thought to have more favorable material properties. Due to the damage pattern, other roof structures with comparable material combinations also had to be examined for damage, e.g. B. the balls on the four corner towers and the copper-driven figurine decorations.

The reconstruction of the dome cross in the version from 1981 was carried out by the metal construction company Breidenbach from Peiting in Upper Bavaria . The new cross was then covered with 1.5 kilograms of gold leaf by Berlin specialists . On August 19, 2008, it was lifted onto the dome of the cathedral by a 500-tonne crane. Of the 1.2 million euros in the cost of the renovation work on the Berlin Cathedral, 700,000 euros went to the new dome cross. The old dome cross was moved - albeit without the dome crown - to the cemetery of the upper parish and cathedral church on Liesenstrasse.

A wreath stretches around the dome, on which 20 copper angel figures are enthroned at regular intervals. These were reconditioned on the occasion of the repairs 1978–1981 by the Kunstschmiede Berlin , some of them completely renewed.


View into the dome with the central Holy Spirit window, mosaics of the Beatitudes and reliefs from the Acts of the Apostles on the pendentives
Faithfully rebuilt staircase with paintings by Albert Hertel

In the center of the dome there is a round window that shows the dove of the Holy Spirit in a halo. Below there are eight large-format mosaics that depict the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount . They were created by Anton von Werner , who also created the mosaics of the four evangelists in the niches of the vaulted pillars. The chancel windows depicting Jesus' birth, crucifixion and resurrection and angels with the symbols of death, faith, love and hope were also created by him. On the cornices of the half-pillars in the church are sandstone statues of the four reformers Calvin , Luther , Melanchthon and Zwingli on the side of the altar , on the opposite side, around the imperial box, that of the four secular rulers Albrecht of Prussia , Joachim II , Frederick the Wise and Philip the magnanimous who promoted the Reformation. Between two figures above the conical niches, four bas-reliefs by Otto Lessing show scenes from the Acts of the Apostles (the stoning of Stephen , the conversion of Paul , Peter in Athens , the healing of a lame man).

Baroque ornate sarcophagi for the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm and his second wife Dorothea are set up under the organ gallery , as well as a bronze table tomb for Elector Johann Cicero and a grave monument for Friedrich III. Under the south pore there are two gilded magnificent coffins for King Friedrich I and Sophie Charlotte . These were created by Andreas Schlueter . Schlüter also designed the eagle lectern from 1701 in front of the chancel. The gold-plated original of this lectern is in the Cathedral Museum.

The altar table made of white marble and yellowish onyx , created by Friedrich August Stüler , represents a mixture of a Lutheran block altar and a reformed table altar and thus illustrates the merger of the two churches to form the Uniate Church in Prussia. Behind the altar, the choir screen of the old cathedral has been placed as an altar wall. It consists of gilded bronze and is equipped with replicas of the apostle figures from the Nuremberg grave of St. Sebaldus . In front of the altar are two candelabra made of gilded iron. Like the apostle choir screen, they were designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and sculpted by Theodor Kalide (historical additions were made for the current location). The design for the pulpit, carved from oak, comes from Otto Raschdorff , the son of the cathedral builder, who also designed the organ front. Cartouche pictures above the organ show Jesus Christ as the judge of the world in an angelic glory. The stucco cartridges to the other galleries were also intended for images have remained unadorned for cost reasons.

For special occasions, the Berlin Cathedral has a lecture cross by the Bavarian artist Helmut Ulrich . The cross is made of rose quartz, rock crystal and yellow aragonite. Since lecture crosses have become a rarity in Protestant communities, often to distinguish them from the Catholic liturgy, this cross represents a special feature of the Berlin Cathedral.

The most magnificent gallery in the church is the imperial box. A coat of arms with an imperial eagle is attached to its parapet , which is crowned by a crown with a cross and thus represents the connection between church and state.

Interior of the sermon church with organ, pulpit and altar


Sauer organ

Sauer organ from 1905

The organ in the Predigtkirche comes from the organ building workshop Sauer , the organ prospectus from the sculptor Richard Moest . The instrument was designed and realized at the same time as the cathedral. The Rückpositiv can be played from the third manual .

The technology corresponds to the state of 1905 and was last fundamentally renovated in 2006. 1932 Rückpositiv by cathedral organist was Fritz Heitmann newly scheduled , for the Mensuration it drew Hans Henny Jahnn responsible. During the restoration from 1988-1993, the organ was brought back to its state of 1905.

With its 7269 pipes (113 registers , four manuals plus pedal ) it is the largest fully pneumatic highly romantic organ and at that time was the largest cathedral organ in Germany.

I main work C – a 3
01. Principal 16 ′
02. Major bass 16 ′
03. Principal 08th'
04th Double flute 08th'
05. Principal amabile 08th'
06th Flûte harmonique 08th'
07th Viola di gamba 08th'
08th. Drone 08th'
09. Gemshorn 08th'
10. Quintatön 08th'
11. harmonica 08th'
12. Thought fifth 05 13
13. octave 04 ′
14th Flûte octaviante 04 ′
15th Fugara 04 ′
16. Reed flute 04 ′
17th octave 02 ′
18th Intoxicating fifth II
19th Grosscymbel III
20th Scharff III – V
21st Cornet III – IV
22nd Bombard 16 ′
23. Trumpet 08th'
24. Clairon 04 ′
II Manual C – a 3
25th Principal 16 ′
26th Quintatön 16 ′
27. Principal 08th'
28. Double flute 08th'
29 Violin principal 08th'
30th Pointed flute 08th'
31. Salicional 08th'
32. Solo flute 08th'
33. Dulciana 08th'
34. Reed flute 08th'
35. octave 04 ′
36. Pointed flute 04 ′
37. Salicional 04th
38. Flauto Dolce 04 ′
39. Fifth 02 23
40. Piccolo 02 ′
41. Mixture IV
42. Cymbel III
43. Cornet III
44. tuba 08th'
45. clarinet 08th'
III Swell C – a 3
46. Salicional 16 ′
47. Drone 16 ′
48. Principal 08th'
49. Hollow flute 08th'
50. Gemshorn 08th'
51. shawm 08th'
52. Concert flute 08th'
53. Dolce 08th'
54. Covered 08th'
55. Unda maris 08th'
56. octave 04 ′
57. Gemshorn 04 ′
58. Quintatön 04 ′
59. Transverse flute 04 ′
60. Nasard 02 23
61. Forest flute 02 ′
62. third 01 35
63. Mixture III
64. Trumpet 08th'
65. Cor anglais 08th'

III Rückpositiv C – a 3
66. Flute principal 08th'
67. flute 08th'
68. Dumped 08th'
69. Dulciana 08th'
70. Soft flute 04 ′
IV Swell C – a 3
71. Lovely Gedackt 16 ′
72. Principal 08th'
73. Transverse flute 08th'
74. Pointed flute 08th'
75. Lovely Gedackt 08th'
76. Quintatön 08th'
77. Aeoline 08th'
78. Voix céleste 08th'
79. Prestant 04 ′
80. Distance flute 04 ′
81. violin 04 ′
82. Gemshorn fifth 02 23
83. Flautino 02 ′
84. Harmonia aetheria III
85. Trumpet 08th'
86. oboe 08th'
87. Vox Humana 08th'
Tremolo to Vox humana
Pedal C – f 1
088 Principal 32 ′
089. Pedestal 32 ′
090. Principal 16 ′
091. Open bass 16 ′
092. Violon 16 ′
093. Sub bass 16 ′
094. Gemshorn 16 ′
095. Lovely Gedackt 16 ′
096. Quintbass 10 23
097. Principal 08th'
098 Flute bass 08th'
099 violoncello 08th'
100. Dumped 08th'
101. Dulciana 08th'
102. Fifth 05 13
103. octave 04 ′
104. third 03 15
105. Fifth 02 23
106. Seventh 02 27
107. octave 02 ′
108. Mixture III
109. Contraposaune 32 ′
110. trombone 16 ′
111. bassoon 16 ′
112. Trumpet 08th'
113. Clairon 04 ′

The numbering does not correspond to the order on the instrument.

  • Coupling : II / I, III / I, IV / I, Super I / I, III / II, IV / II, Super II / II, IV / III, I / P, II / P, III / P, IV / P.
  • Playing aids : Register crescendo , 3 free combinations , Mezzoforte, Forte, Tutti, pipe works, piano pedal, louvre swell III. Manual, louvre sill IV. Manual, louvre sill Vox humana, hand register off, Rückpositiv off.

Schuke organ from 1946


In the baptism and marriage church there is a Schuke organ from 1946, which was originally installed in the cathedral crypt.

I main work C – f 3
1. Reed flute 08th'
2. Quintadena 08th
3. Principal 04 ′
4th Forest flute 02 ′
5. Mixture IV 01 13
II Hinterwerk C – f 3
06th Dumped 08th'
07th Night horn 04 ′
08th. Principal 02 ′
09. Fifth 01 13
10. Sesquialter II
11. Scharff III 01'
12. oboe 08th'
Pedal C – f 1
13. Sub bass 16 ′
14th octave 08th'
15th Pommer 04 ′
16. trombone 16 ′


Bells in the northwest tower

A three-part bronze bell hangs in the north-west tower. The bells hang in a three-section steel chair (large bell in the middle). The small bell hangs on the wooden yoke, the rest on steel yokes.

The heaviest bell at three tons is called Neue Wilsnacker Bell and was cast in 1929 by the Lauchhammer bell foundry ; their strike tone is h o . It bears the crucified and risen Christ as an ornament . It replaced the bell of the Wilsnacker Wunderblutkirche from 1471, which had been in the predecessor buildings of the Berlin Cathedral since 1552. It had become unusable after a jump in 1921, it was repaired and, after jumping again in 1928, came to Lauchhammer. There it saved the Märkisches Museum from melting down at the last hour in 1930 and installed it in the museum's church hall in 1935 .

No. Surname Casting year Foundry, casting location Weight (kg) Nominal Inscription, notes
1 New Wilsnacker bell 1929 Bell foundry Lauchhammer 3000 h o
2 Brandenburg bell 1913 Bell foundry M & O Ohlsson ( Lübeck ) 2128 d ' Used for daily prayer chimes.
3 Osterburger bell 1532 Hinrik van Kampen 1752 e ' Bell ornament: Mother of God on the crescent moon .

Memorial church


The apse -shaped memorial church in the north of the cathedral contained the magnificent sarcophagi of Hohenzollern and access to the same tomb . It was 24 meters long, 24 meters wide and 21 meters high. A high base with windows, the main floor with risalits and a low attic with a dome divided the building. Mighty columns and pilasters , a strong entablature and alternating triangular and segmented gables particularly emphasized the main floor. In addition, frames, windows and sculptural niches adorned the facade. From the north, the memorial church looked similar to the Pantheon in Rome, which Raschdorff used for planning.

A separate portal on the north-west tower led into the interior of the memorial church, which consisted of an anteroom, the large main room with the five chapels and a staircase to the Hohenzollern crypt on the north-east tower. The main room was dominated by high columns with broad beams on which a stucco-decorated barrel vault with a round light opening rested. Round arches connected it to the chapels, which adorned low pilasters and simple groin vaults . Inside, from left to right, were the sumptuous sarcophagi of King Friedrich I and Queen Sophie Charlotte , Emperor Friedrich III. , the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm and Electress Dorothea and Elector Johann Cicero . In the middle of the floor of the main room, from which a door led to the sermon church , was the crypt opening for lowering sarcophagi into the basement. In addition, the Bismarck grave monument by Reinhold Begas and the sculptures Descent from the Cross by Michael Lock and Osterengel on the grave of Emil Graf von Görtz were located inside the memorial church.

Demolition and remains

Before the cathedral was rebuilt, the GDR government decided to demolish the memorial church, which had only been slightly damaged in World War II, for ideological reasons. It was blown up on October 30, 1975 without damaging the adjoining preaching church. As a result, the cathedral lost an essential part, the sarcophagus collection lost its exhibition space and the Hohenzollern crypt lost its access. 204 parts of the facade were recovered, which have since been in a forest in Ahrensfelde . Another 230 parts of the facade have been kept in a depot outside Berlin since 1997.

Discussion about reconstruction

In connection with the reconstruction of the Hohenzollern Crypt, a reconstruction of the memorial church is being discussed, which, among other things, the cathedral building association is calling for. According to the association's chairman, Horst Winkelmann , the cathedral would remain a torso without the memorial church. In addition, a reconstruction creates space for the worthy display of the valuable ornate sarcophagi. In addition, the Hohenzollern crypt would get its original generous access back via the memorial church. According to the monument curator Peter Goralczyk , the outstanding works of art in the Berlin Cathedral could only get an "appropriate and publicly accessible location" in the memorial church. A reconstruction would "enrich the representation of history in the city extraordinarily" and create a bridge between the museums and formative church buildings . According to the cathedral builder Charlotte Hopf, there are almost 500 original drawings of the memorial church in the plan collection of the cathedral archive. It is the “most extensive part of the building that has survived in drawings” after the Sermon Church. These are primarily floor plans and sections , but also exterior, interior and detailed views.

The former cathedral master builder Rüdiger Hoth also demands that the memorial church “be rebuilt” and that the magnificent sarcophagi “be presented in a dignified manner as before”. The lack of the building on the north side is a "flaw". But when it comes to the Hohenzollern theme, everyone “declines”, while in Italy the Medici legacy “is dealt with much more carefully”.

At the end of December 2018, the Berliner Zeitung reported that the great visitor interest in the Hohenzollern Crypt had brought new movement to the discussion about the reconstruction of the memorial church. In addition to the construction of the city palace and the expansion of the Museum Island , the fact that the original access to the crypt was in the memorial church suggests a reconstruction of this part of the building. A hundred years after the end of the monarchy, all those involved should have a discussion about the use of the memorial church “freed from the burden of Hohenzollern”. The celebrations in November had shown that the public was ready “for this part of German history”. The cathedral architect Sonja Tubbesing describes the remains of the memorial church as a "unique treasure that needs to be found out of respect for the history of our building culture". In the case of a reconstruction , individual parts could be reused, and the eyesore on the cathedral could "be turned into another piece of jewelry in the near future". It is not about creating a memorial for the Hohenzollerns, but about setting up a sexton's apartment , a community room or a museum on this topic. The project manager of the crypt conversion, Claudia Kruschel , also suggests a “museological use” of the reconstructed memorial church. Before this can begin, however, the renovation of the Hohenzollern crypt must first be completed, emphasizes the cathedral's press spokeswoman, Svenja Pelzel . In addition, the decision lies with the cathedral council, which basically agreed to the reconstruction of the memorial church as early as 2011, but still had open questions about use, architecture and financing. In this context, the cathedral administration hopes for support from the federal government, the state of Berlin and private donors.

Hohenzollern Crypt


Access to the Hohenzollern Crypt in the basement
Sarcophagi of the Hohenzollern in the crypt

The Hohenzollern Crypt , which takes up almost the entire basement of the Berlin Cathedral, is the most important dynastic tomb in Germany. Together with the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna , the Cathedral of Saint-Denis near Paris and the El Escorial Monastery near Madrid, it is one of the most important dynastic tombs in Europe. A total of 94 members of the House of Hohenzollern found their final resting place in it from the end of the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century. This also includes electors and kings who significantly shaped the history of Brandenburg and Prussia . Together with the splendid sarcophagi, which originally stood spaciously in the memorial church and have been cramped in the sermon church since its demolition in 1975, the coffins bear witness to 500 years of European grave culture. In addition to the sometimes elaborate stone and metal sarcophagi, which represent all artistic styles from the late Gothic onwards , the Hohenzollern Crypt also contains particularly rare wooden coffins that are covered with textiles such as velvet or brocade . Bomb hits severely damaged the crypt during World War II and almost completely destroyed some coffins. Since it reopened on November 20, 1999, the Hohenzollern Crypt has had around 720,000 visitors a year. It is expected to be renovated and made barrier-free by 2023 for around 18.6 million euros.

The above-mentioned splendid sarcophagi in the Sermon Church are cenotaphs dedicated to King Friedrich I and Queen Sophie Charlotte, Emperor Friedrich III, Elector Johann Cicero, Elector Friedrich Wilhelm I and Electress Dorothea. Except for the lost bones of Elector Johann Cicero, whose tomb is the oldest in the cathedral, her remains are in stone sarcophagi with wooden inner coffins in the Hohenzollern crypt.

Oldest Tomb of the Berlin Cathedral - the table grave Johann Cicero by Peter Vischer and son to 1530 in Lehnin set


In the Hohenzollern crypt are u. a. the following people are buried (in chronological and family order):

(Note: the numbering corresponds to that on the coffins)

Cathedral parish and current function

The congregation of the Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin has around 1,600 members and has been growing for years. It belongs to the church district of Berlin Stadtmitte in the Berlin district and has a special position in the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia .

The special legal conditions of the community are regulated in a regulation of the Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin dated November 28, 2001. It replaced the 1979 order, which in turn replaced an 1812 order.

Its governing body, the "Cathedral Church College", includes eight cathedral councilors elected by the community and the cathedral preachers as well as four delegated voting members: one representative each of the federal government and the Berlin Senate are appointed by the Council of the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) in elected by the EKD , the office of the UEK and the regional church each send a further representative. The chairman of the committee is Dr. Stephan Harmening. Because of the importance of the cathedral beyond the borders of the regional church, the two parish offices of the community are advertised throughout Germany. Acting cathedral preachers are Michael Kösling (head of the management of the Berlin Cathedral, managing cathedral preacher and deputy chairman of the cathedral council, since 2013 at the Berlin cathedral), Dr. Petra Zimmermann (since 2006, as of 2018) and Thomas C. Müller (since 2010) as well as Birte Biebuyck (honorary pastor; since 2007).

In addition to the cathedral preachers, the chairman of the EKD Council, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm , the president of the EKD church office, Hans Ulrich Anke , and the EKD's bishop abroad, Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber , hold services in the cathedral. The other bishops of the member churches of the EKD also conduct the communion service on Sunday morning in loose succession . The Bishop of London, Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres , and the Tübingen theologian Eberhard Jüngel , both of whom are regular guests at the cathedral, hold the title of Honorary Dome Preacher.

After the destruction of the Second World War, services and devotions took place in the memorial church and, from 1980, in the restored baptismal and wedding church. Since 1993 there have been daily services in the Sermon Church again.

The mourning files for the former Federal Presidents Johannes Rau (February 2006), Richard von Weizsäcker (February 2015) and Roman Herzog (January 2017), an ecumenical thanksgiving service for the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome (March 2007) and the official memorial service took place in Berlin Cathedral for the three German bodyguards killed in Afghanistan (August 2007).

See also


  • The architectural and art monuments in the GDR, capital Berlin , Volume I, ed. from the Institute for Monument Preservation, edited by a collective from the Research Department (Ingrid Bartmann-Kompa, Horst Büttner, Horst Drescher, Joachim Fait, Marina Flügge, Gerda Herrmann, Ilse Schröder, Helmut Spielmann, Christa Stepansky, Heinrich Trost), overall editor Heinrich Trost, 2nd, unchanged edition, Berlin 1984, pp. 91-109.
  • Dieter Brozat: The Berlin Cathedral and the Hohenzollern Crypt . Haude and Spener, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-7759-0271-6 .
  • Thomas Buske: The Berlin Cathedral as an iconographic total work of art . Helms, Schwerin 2000, ISBN 3-931185-80-X .
  • Laurenz Demps : The Berlin Cathedral . Berlin-Edition, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-8148-0009-5 (Berlin views; p. 10).
  • Helmut Engel, Wilhelm Hüffmeier (ed.): The Berlin Cathedral - On the past and present of the upper parish and cathedral church in Berlin . JOVIS, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-931321-67-3
  • Helmut Engel (ed.): The crypt of the Hohenzollern in the Berlin cathedral . Jovis, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-936314-37-3 .
  • Heinz Hoffmann: Siegfried Krepp's door of reconciliation on the south portal of the Berlin Cathedral . Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-938485-11-8 .
  • Rüdiger Hoth: Berlin Cathedral. Past and present . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1995 ( large architectural monuments ; p. 416).
  • Karl-Heinz Klingenburg: The Berlin Cathedral. Buildings, ideas and projects from the 15th century to the present . Koehler & Amelang, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-7338-0155-5 .
  • Detlef Plöse (Ed.): The Berlin Cathedral. History and present of the Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin . Jovis, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-931321-67-3 .
  • Julius Schneider: The History of the Berlin Cathedral. From the cathedral foundation in the 15th century to the reconstruction in the 20th century . For science und Bildung, Berlin 1993, ISBN 978-3-86135-002-6 .
  • Jochen Schröder: The structural design and the spatial program of the Berlin Cathedral as a mirror of the demands and functions of the client Kaiser Wilhelm II. Marburg, Univ., Diss., 2002 ( digital edition ).
  • Jochen Schröder: Berlin Cathedral. A memorial of the united Protestant church in Germany . Johannes Herrmann J & J-Verlag, Wettenberg 2005, ISBN 3-937983-02-3 .
  • Burkhard Staudinger (ed.): The Berlin Cathedral. The house of God at the Lustgarten . Publicon Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-927418-32-3 .
  • Hansjürgen Vahldiek / Harald Zimmermann : The Entombments in Berlin Cathedral - a complicated story. in: Yearbook of the Association for the History of Berlin , pp. 39–50.

Web links

Commons : Berliner Dom  - collection of images

Notes and evidence

  1. When the abbey chapter on the old Berlin Cathedral was abolished in 1608 , the church building was given the new name Zur Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit . This name was also passed on to the new Frederician and Wilhelmine buildings at the Lustgarten, but is out of use today (Thomas Buske: The Berlin Cathedral as an iconographic total work of art . Schwerin 2000, p. 1).
  2. Cathedral employee Svenja Pelzel in: "Sehenswert! / Berliner Dom, Teil 1" (production by TV Berlin), seen on January 10, 2020 on youtube at )
  3. Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin: Hohenzollern Crypt | Berlin Cathedral. Retrieved April 28, 2018 .
  4. a b Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung . No. 17 , 1905, pp. 107 .
  5. ^ Lars Eisenlöffel: The Berlin Cathedral . Ed .: Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin. Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-422-02360-4 , p. 36 .
  6. Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin: seating plan | Berlin Cathedral. Retrieved May 4, 2018 .
  7. Berlin Cathedral. In: Structurae
  8. ^ According to the Gregorian calendar on January 4, 1614.
  9. ^ Michael Beintker : From Johann Sigismund's change of confession to the Edict of Potsdam . In: Günter Wirth (ed.): Contributions to Berlin church history . Union, Berlin 1987, ISBN 978-3-372-00087-8 , pp. 44-62, here pp. 44-48
  10. ^ September 6th (year 1750) in: Daily facts of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein
  11. ^ Otto Friedrich Group: Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the new Berlin Cathedral
  12. The new cathedral . In: Vorwärts , February 28, 1905, p. 10, accessed January 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Finding aid inventory of the cathedral building management , accessed April 14, 2020
  14. Dommitarbeiterin Svenja Pelzel in: "Interesting / Berlin Cathedral, Part 2" (production of TV Berlin), on 10 January 2020 under youtube seen
  15. Organ guide brochure available in the cathedral in the 1990s for 3.50  marks
  16. GDR times and reconstruction on
  17. Construction workers saved the head from destruction. See Ester Sophia Sünderhauf, (Ed.): Begas. Monuments for the Empire. An exhibition on the 100th anniversary of Reinhold Begas (1831–1911) death , Sandstein Verlag, Dresden 2010, pp. 274, 334, with illustrations pp. 275, 334.
  18. ^ Anne Golling: Ahrensfelde: The track of the cathedral stones . In: . ( [accessed on April 21, 2018]).
  19. Berlin Cathedral is crumbling. Retrieved March 26, 2019 .
  20. ^ Dispute over the dome of the Berlin Cathedral. In: Die Welt Online , January 1, 2008
  21. Berlin Cathedral: Dome cross is examined for damage. In: Berliner Morgenpost , December 7, 2006, accessed on November 14, 2014.
  22. ^ Dispute over the dome of the Berlin Cathedral . From , January 1, 2008, accessed November 14, 2014.
  23. The cross now crowns the Berlin Cathedral again . In: Die Welt (online edition), August 19, 2008; Finally: the cross shines over Berlin . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , August 20, 2008.
  24. a b c Lars Eisenlöffel: The Berlin Cathedral . Deutscher Kunstverlag, S. 44, 59, 49 .
  25. Augsburger Allgemeine: The power of space embodied in the cross . In: Augsburger Allgemeine . ( [accessed on May 26, 2017]).
  26. Church news - Berlin Cathedral. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on February 2, 2018 ; accessed on May 26, 2017 .
  27. See also the representation on the website of the Berlin Cathedral
  28. ^ Richard Voge, Elisabeth Heitmann: Fritz Heitmann - The life of a German organist . Merseburger, Berlin 1963
  29. The organ on OrganIndex
  30. See also a video recording of the bells
  31. ↑ On this Walter Stengel in the chronicle of the Märkisches Museum der Stadt Berlin . In: Eckart Hennig, Werner Vogel (Ed.): Yearbook for Brandenburg State History. Volume 30, State Historical Association for the Mark Brandenburg e. V. (founded 1884) , Berlin 1979, p. 7–51, here p. 31. For the history of the old bell, see Renate Veigel: The church and town hall bells in the Berlin City Museum . In: General Director of the Stadtmuseum Berlin Reiner Güntzer (Ed.): Yearbook Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Vol. VI 2000 , Henschel Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89487-375-2 , pp. 93-101
  32. Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin: Monument Church | Berlin Cathedral. Retrieved May 5, 2018 .
  33. a b Maritta Tkalec: A second life for the memorial church. In: Berliner Zeitung , 24. – 26. December 2018.
  34. Ulrich Athmer: Berlin Cathedral Building Association - aims of the association. Retrieved May 5, 2018 .
  35. The memorial church of the Berlin Cathedral. Journal of the Berliner Dombau-Verein e. V., special edition 2016.
  36. Katja Schnitzler: "You would have loved to make all the crosses disappear" . In: . June 6, 2013, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed May 5, 2018]).
  37. Tagesschau, November 20, 1999.
  38. Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin: Hohenzollern Crypt | Berlin Cathedral. Retrieved May 4, 2018 .
  39. Hohenzollern Crypt in Berlin Cathedral is being renovated. Retrieved February 3, 2020 .
  40. ^ Lars Eisenlöffel: The Berlin Cathedral . S. 77 .
  41. Domgruft in , accessed November 14, 2014.
  42. Regulations of the Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin from November 28, 2001 ( Memento from November 13, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 13, 2017
  43. ^ Legal relationships at the Berlin Cathedral. In: Axel von Campenhausen , Christoph Thiele (ed.): Göttinger Expertise II: Canon Law Expertise in the Years 1990–2000. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck 2001 (=  Jus Ecclesiasticum - Contributions to Protestant Church Law and State Church Law ISSN  0449-4393 69), pp. 241–261
  44. Berlin Cathedral - contact. Retrieved April 15, 2017 .
  45. hjv: The Entombments in the Cathedral of Berlin - a complicated story | Hansjürgen Vahldiek. Retrieved on April 19, 2020 (German).