Elisabeth Church (Marburg)

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View from the southwest
View from the southeast

The Elisabethkirche is a church in Marburg in the Hessian district of Marburg-Biedenkopf . It was built from 1235 at the foot of the Marburg Schlossberg and consecrated in 1283. The three-aisled hall church with three-cone choir and western two-tower system is considered the oldest purely Gothic church in Germany . The Teutonic Order built it with significant support from the Landgraves of Thuringia in honor of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia . It was erected over Elisabeth's tomb, which made the church one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the West in the late Middle Ages . The Elizabeth Church found models in French cathedral construction and in turn served as a model for some churches at home and abroad. Their equipment is of supraregional importance. The Evangelical Lutheran parish belongs to the Marburg parish in the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck in the Evangelical Church in Germany .


"French Elizabeth" is shown as the founder of the church

Elisabeth founded the hospital in Marburg in 1228 , where she cared for the sick and needy until her death in 1231. In the hospital chapel, which was consecrated to St. Francis of Assisi and possibly used to shelter the sick, she was buried in an earth grave with a stone cover plate. The 38 meter long chapel was a hall building oriented to the east-northeast, a separate east building with a semicircular apse and a west tower on a square floor plan, which was probably never completed, since construction of the Elisabeth Church had already started in 1235. The assumption of a stone “Konradsbau”, which is said to have replaced the first modest chapel (capella modica) in 1232, goes back to Albert Huyskens (1909) and is outdated in terms of research history. Immediately after Elisabeth's death a stream of pilgrims began and numerous healing miracles were attested. In 1234 Elisabeth's brother-in-law Konrad von Thuringia obtained the transfer of ownership of the hospital complex with the Franziskuskapelle and Elisabethgrab to the Teutonic Order . This operated the planned expansion of the pilgrimage site.

The construction of the large Elizabeth Church began in the year of canonization. On the occasion of the canonization of Elizabeth, Pope Gregory IX. on May 30, 1235, a letter of indulgence in which the building project of the Teutonic Order was announced. The foundation stone was probably laid on August 14, 1235. The church was laid out in such a way that Elisabeth's grave in the north conche of the new church came to lie in the same place above the first grave in the interests of local continuity. While the west tower and hall building of the hospital chapel were demolished in the 1230s, the two-part east building was probably preserved until the 1250s during the construction of the new church in order not to interrupt the worship of relics. On May 1, 1236, in the presence of Emperor Frederick II, the bones were solemnly raised and reburied in a precious shrine and various other reliquaries .

High choir with test painting of a vault cap (2020)

In the 1230s, the foundations of the east building (conches and crossing ), the entire nave and in the north-eastern tower area were laid in one go. All structures rest on a common foundation, which is made as a strip foundation under the ship and the three-corner building and as a pedestal under the west tower system from a foundation plate of unknown depth, which is completely bricked up. Around 1243 the roof of the Konchenbau was pitched and the crossing with the three choirs was completed. The walls of the nave were completely up to the third yoke and partially up to the fourth yoke. The roof of the first two bays is dendrochronologically dated to 1248 and has a French-influenced construction with hanging columns. At this point in time, the walls of the north tower were already up to the eaves height of the nave and the western yokes were erected. In 1249 the bones of the saints were transferred to the completed shrine, which was either placed on the main altar at that time in the east choir or in the Elisabeth mausoleum. The two-storey sacristy in the northeast was built in 1262 at the latest; the roof structure is dendrochronologically dated to 1266. From the second half of the 13th century, a change in the plan can be identified, which resulted in a different roof structure and possibly also the current layout of the west facade with the two tower substructures and the west portal (around 1270). After the completion of the nave walls in 1277 and the rest of the roof structure, the tower's free-standing floors probably followed by 1295. The roof between the free floors, which was opened between 1311 and 1313, requires the erection of the two stone towers.

The Elisabeth Church was consecrated in 1283. She bears the patronage of the Mother of God, as she was the patroness of the Teutonic Order, but was mostly called ecclesia beate Elizabeth ("Church of the Blessed Elizabeth"). According to the patronage, there are numerous depictions of Mary in the building sculpture . At the latest with the completion and consecration of the high altar in 1290, the Elisabeth shrine was transferred to the sacristy. Between 1257 and 1302 four niche altars were consecrated around the Elisabeth mausoleum in the north and south choir. The remaining work on the two towers dragged on until 1330. Some of the order's buildings, the so-called Deutschhausgut, are still at the church today. There are now u. a. the Mineralogical Museum and the Geography Department of the Philipps University . Ludwig Juppe created carved altars for the five side altars in the 1510s, which Johann von der Leyten painted in color.

Burial place of the landgraves in the south choir

Until the 16th century, the Elisabethkirche was the burial place of the Landgraves of Hesse . In 1539, Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous had the bones of St. Elisabeth removed in order to set an example against the cult of relics. At this point in time, most of the coveted relics had already been given to various places. Elisabeth's skull is now in the Elisabeth Monastery in Vienna , the skull reliquary in the Stockholm City Museum and an arm reliquary in Sayn Castle .

The entire area east of the choir screen was originally reserved for the Knights of the Order. In the course of the 16th century, almost all of the once Catholic friars converted to Protestantism , so that from 1539 the Protestant church service was celebrated in the Elisabeth Church . Despite the introduction of the Reformation in Hesse, the Elisabethkirche remained Catholic due to the imperial immediacy of the Teutonic Order until the last old-believing land commander died in 1570 . Landgrave Moritz , who converted to Calvinism in 1605 , had the rich figural decorations removed in 1619 because of the ban on images west of the choir screen. The church suffered damage during the Seven Years War when it was used as a hay and flour store. Maintenance measures were carried out in 1767–1770. Between 1811 and 1827 the church was briefly a simultaneum , so both Catholic and Protestant services were held in separate locations.

After flood damage in 1847, when the Ketzerbach overflowed, excavations and restorations in and on the Elisabethkirche and its surroundings took place in 1854–1861 under the direction of Friedrich Lange. Another restoration under Hubert Lütcke followed in 1930/1931.

During the Second World War, the five carved altars and the colored windows in Bad Wildungen and the Elisabeth shrine in Haina monastery were relocated and the high altar was walled in. The church was spared from attacks. In 1945 the coffins of the Prussian kings Friedrich II and Friedrich Wilhelm I were temporarily stored in a Thuringian salt mine and brought to the Elisabethkirche by the US Army from Thuringia and in 1952 - on the initiative of Louis Ferdinand of Prussia - came to the chapel of the castle Hohenzollern .

The grave of the former Reich President Paul von Hindenburg and his wife Gertrud is located in the north tower chapel of the Elisabethkirche . Both were buried in 1934 in the Tannenberg Memorial in East Prussia . To prevent the bodies from falling into the hands of the Red Army , on January 12, 1945, one day before the opening of the Battle of East Prussia by the Red Army, Hitler had the couple's coffins removed from the memorial by units of the Wehrmacht Transport Königsberg with the light cruiser Emden to Pillau , from where the passenger ship Pretoria brought them to Stettin . At the end of the war, both coffins were in a salt mine in Thuringia, where they were discovered by US Army units in the summer of 1945. In August 1946 the coffins were finally buried in the tower hall of the Elisabethkirche.

In 1954, the Elisabethgemeinde achieved the status of an independent church community. In 1969 the Elisabethkirche passed from the Hessian state into the property of the General Association of Evangelical Churches in Marburg. Extensive archaeological excavations were carried out in 1970/1971, 1997 and 2006-2009 within and in the immediate vicinity of the Elisabeth Church. From June 2006, in the run-up to a planned redesign, archaeological work took place on the site in front of the main portal, during which, in addition to the remains of buildings of the Teutonic Order, numerous pilgrim graves and resting places of members of the order were uncovered on a burial ground that had been forgotten. In 2007, on the occasion of the 800th birthday of Elisabeth of Thuringia, the "Elisabeth Year" was celebrated.


Central nave of the church from the west
South transept with landgrave graves

The east - facing three-aisled hall church with a three-corner complex is built on a cross-shaped floor plan at a crossroads in the city center south of the Lahn. French cathedrals served as models, such as the cathedrals of Reims and Amiens . Red Marburg sandstone in flattened large cuboids from a quarry near Wehrda was used as building material . The three ships of the hall reached 20.50 meters each vault height and end in a tripartite chancel from 'Elisabeth Choir "High, choir and" Landgraf choir ". The interior length is 56 meters (excluding the west hall) and a total of 62.19 meters. The interior of the nave is 21.535 meters and the transept is 38.75 meters wide.

The outer walls are divided horizontally over a high base into three zones by three surrounding cornices with two walkways at window height. The pointed arch windows in two equally high and even rows have tracery with two lancet panels and a circular pass. The buttresses, which only taper above the top waterfall , support the protruding eaves cornice with gargoyles resting on consoles in the form of human and animal figures. The central nave is closed off by a steep, slated gable roof, from which three hipped transverse roofs develop on each side for the side aisles. Each of the three conches is covered by half a decagon and the sacristy is covered by a pyramid roof. The slim, eight-sided roof turret over the crossing is completely slated. A pointed helmet is placed on the open lantern and is crowned by a tower knob, cross and weathercock.

The west facade of the Elizabeth Church is dominated by the approximately 80 m high church towers . They have stepped corner buttresses and tracery galleries with quatrefoil. The buttresses end in pinnacles , which are square with tracery in the south tower and octagonal in the north tower. The stone, steep, octagonal spiers rise above four gables with tracery parapets. They are crowned by a copper tower knob with a star (north tower) and a knight of the order (south tower).

The representative west portal was built around 1270. The step portal with a central pillar has an ogival tympanum , which shows the Queen of Heaven Mary with the lily staff as a scepter and the baby Jesus. As the ruler of the world, it holds the globe in its hand. Maria, the patroness of the Teutonic Order, is flanked by two kneeling angels who offer her crowns. In the arched field, the vines symbolize Christ on the left ( Joh 15, EIN  EU ), the roses on the right Mary and the canopy symbolize the heavenly Jerusalem . The vestibule has three-quarter columns, the capitals of which are decorated with foliage . The door leaves from the construction period have door knockers in the form of lion heads, which are still Romanesque. The ornamental iron fittings are designed in the middle as a paw cross of the Teutonic Order. The arched field of the south portal (before 1243) also has foliage, while the north portal, apart from the capitals, is unadorned. A large tracery window is let into the west portal.

The interior of the nave has two rows of columns with slim round columns. On each side four three-quarter columns end in capitals that are decorated with leaves and buds. They support six transverse rectangular yokes with ribbed vaults and belt arches. The narrow aisles have square yokes. The ribs lead into round keystones , which are covered with foliage, gold-plated and polychrome. In the keystones there are three-dimensional angel heads and devil masks. The coronation of Mary is depicted on the keystone in the fourth yoke . The keystone in the vault between the two towers shows Elisabeth with her husband Ludwig. The three symmetrical cones each have a front yoke with a transverse rectangular yoke that ends in half a decagon. The slim crossing tower from 1931 has an open lantern and an octagonal pointed helmet on which a tower knob, cross and weathercock is attached. The original slim roof turret was renewed in 1661 and replaced by a neo-Gothic roof turret in 1864.

Masterpiece of the German early Gothic

The Elisabeth Church is one of the first purely Gothic church buildings in the German cultural area. Five other buildings in particular should be mentioned in this context:

  • The Magdeburg cathedral (begun in 1209) has too many Romanesque , purely to apply elements as gothic.
  • Construction of the clearly Gothic abbey church of the Cistercian monastery of Marienstatt, located about 60 km (as the crow flies) southwest of Marburg, may have been in 1222; however, the year 1245 is more likely.
  • The Liebfrauenkirche in Trier (construction started in 1230) dates before the Elisabeth Church . Due to its unusual and completely “ungothic” central building layout, the Liebfrauenkirche does not represent the flawless beginning of German Gothic architecture. Nonetheless, it served as a model for the builders of the Elizabeth Church in several points.
  • The church of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Mauritius in the Saarland town of Tholey (construction started between 1230 and 1240) was completed between 1264 and 1277.
  • The Cologne Cathedral was only started in 1248. However, it is hardly based on the Elisabeth Church, but rather cites the Gothic architecture of France (especially the cathedral of Amiens, which was around the same time ).


The Elisabeth Church was the model for some church buildings from the 13th, 19th and 21st centuries:

Liebfrauenkirche in Frankenberg
  • The grandson of St. Elisabeth, Landgrave Heinrich I , built the Liebfrauenkirche in Frankenberg based on her model in 1286 , which presumably comes from the same building works and on which the Elisabethkirche probably had the greatest architectural influence.
  • The Protestant Paulskirche (Église Saint-Paul) , a neo-Gothic sacred building in Strasbourg , was built from 1892 to 1897 as a Protestant garrison church based on the model of the Elisabethkirche.
  • The parish church of St. Elisabeth in District VII (Elisabethstadt, Hungarian Erzsébetváros ) in Budapest , which was built between 1891 and 1903 in a neo-Gothic brick style based on designs by Imre Steindl , is clearly based on its Marburg model.
  • The church of St. Sebastian in Berlin was also built, albeit with one tower, based on their model.
  • On May 16, 2004, after two years of construction, a replica of Elizabeth 's Church was inaugurated in St. Martin's Episcopal Church (a congregation of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America ) in Houston, Texas. The church, which has 1,500 seats, was built in steel construction, outwardly it is very similar to the original, even if the typical Gothic decorations and details are missing. In addition, the building was built in the style of a basilica . The reason for the new building was the lack of space in the old church building of the community. On the occasion of the project there were contacts and encounters between the members of the two communities in Marburg and Houston.


Elisabeth window

The church furnishings are of great cohesion and uniformity. The important sacred art of the church includes the medieval stained glass windows in the high choir, the Elisabeth shrine in the sacristy (original reliquary of the remains of St. Elisabeth) and seven altars, including five winged altars from the pre-Reformation period. Originally the walls and vaults were brightly painted based on the North French high Gothic of the 13th century, but were whitewashed in the 19th century. Some remains of Gothic paintings have been preserved.

Stained glass window

The six central glass windows in the high choir belong to the part of the church consecrated in 1249 and are important works of stained glass from the 13th and 14th centuries with a few additions from the 19th century. Some windows can still be assigned to the late Romanesque style. After most of the stained glass windows were lost or badly damaged in the Seven Years' War , the remnants were reassembled to form 14 windows in the east and south choirs in 1769/1770 and again in 1856–1862. In 1861/1862 the windows in the south choir were partly replaced after several years of preparatory work by the Fulda architect Friedrich Lange, and in 1877/1878 further windows in the north and south choirs were moved and added. A restoration in 1903–1905 led to further improvements and rearrangements. In the years 1977–1979, protective glazing was installed in front of the windows and the original order of the Elisabeth window was finally reconstructed. The Elisabeth window at the bottom in the southeast shows her merciful deeds on the left and some stages of Elisabeth's life on the right. The content-related and artistic parallels with the eight-part series of images on the Elisabethschrein make a common model likely. In the upper window, Mary Magdalene the Risen one meets as a gardener, below are a bishop and John the Baptist . In the lower east window you can see John the Baptist and Bartholomew as well as various scenes from the creation story. Christ and Mary as well as the church and the synagogue are juxtaposed. The lower window in the southwest shows Elisabeth and the apostle John at the top, Mary and Francis below , the upper window Mary with the child and the evangelists John and below James and Catherine . In the north and south choirs, you can see predominantly ornamental carpets from the 19th century with a few remains from the period of construction. In 1963 Georg Meistermann designed the large tracery window in the west behind the organ, which depicts the outpouring of the Holy Spirit . The long sides have honeycomb windows in blank glazing.


Mausoleum over the original burial site

In the north arm of the cross is Elisabeth's mausoleum , a tumba with a stone ciborium , which was built in the 1280s . It is built above her grave in the former St. Francis Chapel, to which a trapezoidal, 1.70 meter deep, almost vertical shaft leads, which is covered by a heavy slate of slate. The inclination of 15 ° in relation to the orientation of the Elisabethkirche is obviously based on the Franziskuskapelle. Bundles of pillars with leaf capitals carry the sky canopy on the narrow west side and the south main side, each with a pointed arch, which is framed by golden leaves. The iron grating in the southern arched field with scenes from Elisabeth's life dates from the 14th century and originally enclosed the entire mausoleum. There was only a small entrance to the preserved alms box from the 13th century. The oldest wall paintings inside and outside go back to the 13th century. After overpainting in the 19th century, the original painting was partially exposed again in 1931. Two angels on the west side and crowns of the Father of God on the south side are placed on a blue background. The sarcophagus shows Elizabeth's laying out as a relief decoration, which was made in the middle of the 14th century. In the foreground, cripples and beggars can be seen as four small mourning figures. Above it stand in a row representatives of the triumphant church . Two angels lead Elisabeth's soul, which rises as a scaled-down and crowned figure from the ear of the deceased, to Christ. To the right of the risen one stand Maria, Konrad von Thuringia in the white robe of the Teutonic Order, the Apostle Johannes , St. Katharina and Peter , on the left John the Baptist, Maria Magdalena and a bishop with a crook , who can possibly be identified with the Archbishop Otto von Magdeburg. The wooden balustrade , whose function is unclear, dates from the 14th century.

Elisabeth Shrine

The shrine in which Elizabeth's bones once lay. In the roof area some representations from the life of the saints

The richly decorated gothic Elisabeth shrine in the sacristy is an important treasure of the church. The shrine was started in 1235 and completed in 1249 when the bones were transferred to the new choir. It is made of oak wood, coated with gold-plated silver and copper and decorated with pearls and precious stones. Most of the gemstones come from the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and were previously used in older pieces of jewelry. The originally about three dozen gems have engraved reliefs. The case in the shape of a cruciform church, closed with a gable roof, is pierced in the middle by a transept. On the crossbar there are figures of Christ as the ruler of the world, Mary, Elisabeth and a crucifixion group . The long sides show the twelve apostles as well as eight reliefs under round arches in the roof area with depictions from the life of the landgrave. The shrine is surrounded by a grid from the first half of the 14th century. Square iron form a diamond work in a frame made of band iron. Figures cut from sheet iron are attached to the lattice, showing the announcement of the birth of Christ in the east and an act of two Hessian counts, nobles and musicians in the south. Over the centuries the shrine was brought over several times and suffered damage each time. After two years of outsourcing in the Ziegenhain water fortress , 65 of the originally more than 850 stones were missing when they returned in 1548 and during the route to Kassel (1810–1814) under Jérôme Bonaparte , 117 stones, the crucifix from the north gable and other figures were lost. Further damage was caused by a burglary in 1920.


High altar from 1290

In addition to the high altar in the east choir, in front of which the Teutonic Order celebrated the prayers of the hours and mass, and the cross altar in front of the choir screen, which served as a popular altar , five side altars were consecrated in the north and south choirs, including two niche altars on the east wall of the north conche and two niche altars on the east wall of the Südkonche, each with a segmental arch. Their altar niches were painted at the end of the 13th century. In the pre-Reformation period, they received winged altars with a carved shrine and wings painted on both sides. In the 1510s, Ludwig Juppe took over the carving and Johann von der Leyten the colored version .

The high altar, consecrated on May 1, 1290, is made of painted and filigree decorated sandstone. It is possible that it was originally intended as a site for the Elisabeth shrine, as indicated by the vaulting on the back. The front shows three figures in three niches divided into three parts, in the middle Mary, crowned by two angels, in the southern niche Elisabeth, who is flanked by Katharina and Maria Magdalena, and in the northern niche three male saints who are in the procession the church restoration 1854–1861 were reconstructed. The paintings in the two-lane tracery panels on the narrow sides and in the undivided panels on the back have faded. On the northern narrow side images of saints can be seen, on the southern side the scene of the Annunciation and on the back King David and prophets as well as Mary's visit to Elisabeth. The three eyelashes and the four pinnacles are richly covered with crabs , finials and foliage. In the spandrels of the eyelashes are shown animals that are traditional symbols for Christ. The southern Wimperg shows the Agnus Dei and the Phoenix and the northern Wimperg shows a lion with pups and a pelican feeding its young.

The family altar was carved in 1511 by Ludwig Juppe for the Katharinen altar (consecrated in 1302), to the right of the mausoleum. In 1931 the winged altar was moved to the north aisle because it blocked the view of the wall paintings from the second half of the 15th century. On the left inner wing you can see how Joachim's sacrifice is rejected because of his childlessness, and on the right inner wing how Joachim and Anna, Mary's parents, meet at the Golden Gate. The middle field shows the holy family with the grandparents of Jesus and other relatives. The holy clan is shown in more detail on the outer weekday page. The names of the family members can be read on banners there. In the niche of the Catherine altar in the Elisabeth choir the crucifixion group is painted in the center on a red background, on the left the decapitation of St. Elisabeth and on the right the meeting of the risen Christ with Maria Magdalena in the garden. On the left wall the third of Anna is depicted and on the right wall a saint with dragons (perhaps St. Margaret ). Above the altar niche there are less well-preserved depictions of St. Katharina, who kneels in front of the wheel and whose corpse is carried by angels on a stretcher, and of Mary Magdalene, who is led up by angels to the heavenly divine office.

Middle field of the Elizabeth Altar

To the right of the Catherine altar, the Elizabeth altar (consecrated in 1294) shows three-part wall paintings from the end of the 13th century in the niche: in the middle the crucifixion group , on the left the crucified in the marriage bed and on the right the elevation of Elizabeth's bones. Above that, wall paintings with another crucifixion group and a large wooden crucifix from around 1470 can be seen on a blue background, which point to the importance of the Elizabeth Altar. Juppe probably carved the altarpiece in 1513, which has been on display in the south aisle since 1931. The weekday page shows faded scenes from Elizabeth's youth, on the left wing the miracle of the cloak and the crucified in the marriage bed, on the right wing the farewell to her husband Ludwig and in the three-part middle field Elisabeth's death scene: on the left the reading of the vigil of the dead , in the middle Elisabeth receives the The sacraments of the death and on the right their bones are raised from the grave.

In contrast to the four niche altars, the St. Mary's altar corresponds more closely to the classic shape of a winged altar. The predella was carved by Ludwig Juppe in 1509 or 1513 and the shrine top in 1516/1517 and painted by Johann von der Leyten. It originally stood on the west side of the mausoleum and was moved further to the left in the mid-19th century. The wings show different scenes of Mary: on the left outside the meeting of Anna and Joachim at the golden gate, to which the birth of Mary is announced, and below that the birth of Jesus, on the right outside the temple passage of Mary and below the offering of Jesus . The left inner wing combines the Annunciation , Elizabeth's visit to Mary and the adoration of the kings, and the right inner wing combines Mary's death and her ascension to heaven. The coronation of Mary by God the Father and Christ is shown in gold and silver in the middle field . The predella shows a pietà made of limestone, which originated in the Bohemian region around 1385 and was integrated by Juppe.

On the east wall of the south choir are the Johannes altar (consecrated in 1257) with the winged altar by Ludwig Juppe from 1512 and the Georg Martin altar (consecrated in 1283) with Juppe's winged altar from 1514. The paintings on the wings are by Johann von der Leyten. The Johannes altar shows the birth of John the Baptist on the left inner wing and the desecration of his grave on the right inner wing. The subject of the left weekday page is the sermon of John and the baptism of Jesus, the right page the decapitation of the Baptist and Salome before Herod. On the center shrine, the sermon of John in the desert is depicted on the left, the baptism of Jesus in the middle and the beheading of the Baptist on the right. On the left inner wing of the Georg Martin Altar is the martyrdom of St. George and on the right inner wing the episcopal ordination and the death bed of St. To see Martin . The weekday page shows George slaying the dragon on the left and the martyrdom of St. Sebastian . The three-part middle field shows on the left how Georg kills the dragon, in the middle the Georgsmesse and on the right, how Martin divides the coat.

On the cross altar in front of the rood screen is a crucifix by Ernst Barlach , which was donated to the church in 1931 on the 700th anniversary of Elisabeth's death. When the "Barlachkreuz" was classified as " degenerate " in 1936 and removal was suggested, Oberpräsident Philipp von Hessen reached a compromise by erecting a cross donated by him and the "Barlachkreuz" escaping melting. Government building officer Wilhelm Schwedes removed the Barlach work of art, which escaped delivery due to the work of the chief building officer August Bode from Kassel. After the Second World War it was placed on the cross altar again.

More pieces of equipment

Choir screen with sheet masks

A partly openwork stone choir screen, completed in 1343, separates the main nave from the crossing. Originally 46 stone figures in three zones stood on the consoles under canopies above the base area with blind niches. The figures fell victim to the iconoclasm in 1619, later the crowning of the rood screen made of eyelashes and pinnacles was replaced by a gallery with a glazed cabin in the middle. In the 1850s, the original condition was largely restored with the old parts and concrete figures were cast, which were removed again in 1931. Only two apostle figures (Philip and James) survived the iconoclasm and are now attached to the south gate. Remnants of other figures are exhibited in the museum in Marburg Castle. The tracery-like wooden architecture above the rood screen dates from around 1280 and was probably taken over from the lower predecessor rood screen. On the triumphal arch there was a crucifixion group, which was removed in 1619 and has not survived. Behind the rood screen there is a stage in the form of a central risalit , on which relics may have been exhibited. It is not a lectorium for the community, as the barrier wall originally ran without any gaps, was oriented towards the choir and did not allow a connection to the west.

The simple choir stalls for the knights of the order in the crossing consists of 54 seats made of oak and dates from the 13th century. The folding seats have misericords that served as supports when standing for long periods. The three-seat celebrant's chair on the south side from around 1400 has three crowning canopies with female figures above crab-studded gables and pinnacles with finials. The middle Elisabeth figure was carved by Juppe around 1510 as a donor figure who, like the "French Elisabeth", holds a model of the church in her left hand. The flanking figures of Katharina and Maria Magdalena were cast according to old models.

To the left of the high altar is a sacrament niche from the beginning of the 15th century with eyelashes and battlements in the wall. The surrounding wall paintings show four apostles with banners and two Teutonic knights below. They were refreshed in color during the restoration in the 1850s. The piscina on the right behind the high altar dates from the end of the 13th century.

The southern landgrave choir served Elisabeth's descendants as a burial place until the Reformation . In addition to the ten block-like high graves in the middle, there are seven epitaphs set up on the walls and further graves under the floor. On the walls of the north cone are three epitaphs for the two Landkomturen of the Teutonic Order Georg von Hörde and Conrad Klos as well as for the family von Dörnberg . The four 17th century grave slabs in the high choir are reminiscent of the governor of the Teutonic Order, Philipp Leopold von Neuhof, and the three district commander Adolph Eitel von Nordeck zur Rabenau , Count August zu Lippe-Brake and Georg Daniel von Habel .

Behind the pulpit, in the northern nave, is the statue of St. Elisabeth with the church model, its popular name French Elisabeth has received for its elegant appearance: She wears an elegant gown of gold brocade and a silk coat with Fehfell . In her left hand she is holding the model of the Elisabeth Church, which identifies her as the founder of the church. An assistant figure, presumably a poor man, provided her right hand with bread, but his figure has been lost. Master Hermann probably created the Elizabeth statue between 1470 and 1500, who also designed the tomb of Ludwig the Peacemaker . It is not known when the case, which was built around 1515, was connected to the Elizabeth statue.

The Maria on the pillar on the central pillar north of the nave was carved from wood in the 15th century, the stone console and canopy go back to the beginning of the 14th century. The figure is the fourth at this point and was taken over from the Bode Museum in 1931 . The flanking paintings of Elisabeth and Katharina date from around 1435. Christ as the Man of Sorrows is painted on the south-eastern pillar (2nd half of the 15th century).

Two pillars to the east is the stone pulpit from 1907/1908 based on a design by Carl Weber in Gothic forms by Ferdinand Riedel from Strasbourg and the woodcarver Theophil Klem from Colmar. The parapet shows the four evangelists with their symbols . The Gothic stone pulpit was replaced by a wooden pulpit during the Renaissance, which gave way to a lectern in the middle of the 19th century.

In 2004 the church received an ambo , which the sculptor Johannes Kirsch from Petersberg had created. He also made the church's Easter candlestick .


Klais organ
Main organ console

Main organ

In the second half of the 15th century the church already had two organs . The oldest organ was installed between 1467 and 1477 on the east wall in the north choir on the consoles above the crucifixion group of the Elizabeth Altar. Andreas Rucker from Seligenstadt created a new instrument between 1512 and 1514, which was repaired and rebuilt several times over the centuries. In 1776 the old organ was moved to the west gallery and expanded from 14 to 18 registers .

In the course of the extensive church renovation, Friedrich Helbig replaced the factory in 1855. The two-manual instrument was equipped with 32 registers and was revised in 1899 by Wilhelm Sauer and switched to pneumatic cone chests. In 1963 the Werner Bosch Orgelbau company built their op. 300, a three-manual organ with 56 stops, including two 32 'parts, mechanical performance and electrical stop actions . It was dismantled and sold in 2005.

In its place today there is an organ by Johannes Klais Orgelbau . It has 57 stops on three manuals and a pedal . The game action is mechanical, the stop action is mechanical / electrical. The organ consecration took place on November 5th, 2006. Like the previous instrument, the organ stands in front of the Elisabeth window. However, the organ loft was adapted and the instrument was moved slightly forward for acoustic reasons. The prospectus takes up the colors of the Holy Spirit window by Georg Meistermann as well as the forms of the Gothic. In 2020 the organ was expanded to include a further Mixtur register to 58 registers.

I main work C – a 3
1. Principal 16 ′
2. Bourdon 16 ′
3. Octave 08th'
4th Covered 08th'
5. Flûte harmonique 08th'
6th Viol 08th'
7th Octave 04 ′
8th. Pointed flute 04 ′
9. Fifth 02 23
10. Octave 02 ′
11. Cornett V 08th'
12. Mixture V 02 ′
13. Trumpet 16 ′
14th Trumpet 08th'
II Positive C – a 3
15th Quintatön 16 ′
16. Principal 08th'
17th Wooden dacked 08th'
18th Salicional 08th'
19th Octave 04 ′
20th Reed flute 04 ′
21st Sesquialtera II 02 23
22nd Octave 02 ′
23. Larigot 01 13
24. Mixture III 01 13
25th Cromorne 08th'
26th clarinet 08th'
III Swell C – a 3
27. Silent 16 ′
28. Violin principal 08th'
29 Hollow flute 08th'
30th Lovely Gedackt 08th'
31. Aeoline 08th'
32. Vox coelestis 08th'
33. Octave 04 ′
34. Transverse flute 04 ′
35. violin 04 ′
36. Nasard 02 23
37. Flautino 02 ′
38. Tierce 01 35
39. Harmonia aetheria IV 02 23
40. Basson 16 ′
41. Trompette harmonique 08th'
42. Hautbois 08th'
43. Voix humaine 08th'
Pedal C – g 1
44. Pedestal 32 ′
45. Contrabass 16 ′
46. Violon 16 ′
47. Sub bass 16 ′
48. Quintbass 10 23
49. Octave bass 08th'
50. Flute bass 08th'
51. cello 08th'
52. Octave 04 ′
53. Rauschpfeife IV 02 23
54. trombone 16 ′
55. bassoon 16 ′
56. Trumpet 08th'
57. Clarine 04 ′
  • Pairing :
    • Normal coupling: II / I, III / I, III / I electr., III / II, III / II electr., I / P, II / P, III / P,
    • Sub-octave coupling: III / I, III / II
    • Super octave coupling: III / I, III / II, III / III, III / P

Choir organ

Choir organ from Bosch

In 1960, the Bosch company installed a choir organ without a case in a niche in the north wall of the high choir. The instrument has 13 registers, which are divided into two manuals and pedal.

I Hauptwerk C – g 3
Lead-covered 8th'
Principal 4 ′
Hörnlein 2 ′
Mixture V 2 ′
II upper structure C – g 3
Harp pommer 8th'
Reed flute 4 ′
Minor principal 2 ′
Sifflute fifth 1 13
Zimbel III
Pedal C – f 1
Pedestal 16 ′
Pipe clamp 4 ′
Choral Bass III 2 ′
bassoon 8th'

Chest organ

Gerald Woehl built a mobile chest organ with five registers in 2006 . The tonal concept is based on the Central German Baroque organ building.

I Manual C-g 3
Gedackt B / D 8th'
Flute D 8th'
Principal 4 ′
flute 4 ′
Octave 2 ′


The modern addition to the historical bells was made with the new casting of the four bells by the Rincker bell foundry from Sinn (Hesse) in 1965/1966. The oldest bell is the Marienbell from around 1280. The Elisabeth bell, cast around 1380, represents one of the most beautiful bells of the late 14th century in Germany. The small silver bell hangs in the roof turret. The former and currently cracked paternoster bell from 1320 still stands in the Elisabeth choir.

Casting year
( HT - 1 / 16 )
1 Elizabeth Bell around 1380 unknown 1770 3700 cis 1 -2 Whale ringing (April 30, 12: 00/12: 20/12; 40:00 10 minutes each time.
2 Vespers bell 1965 Rincker bell foundry 1220 1118 e 1 ± 0 Evening bells (7 p.m.), funeral
3 Peace bell 1080 794 f sharp 1 +1 Noon bells (12 noon), peace prayer (May 8)
4th Our Father Bell 1966 950 491 a 1 +3 Our Father
5 Marienbell around 1280 unknown 990 670 h 1 +3 Candlemas (February 2nd)
6th Early bell 1965 Rincker bell foundry 790 343 c sharp 2 +2 Morning bells (7 a.m.)
7th Brother Dietrich Bell around 1420 unknown 780 310 dis 2 +3 Noon bells on feast days
8th Baptismal bell around 1420 unknown 192 f sharp 2 Baptism / baptism
9 Silver bell 1515 Hans Kortrog zu Homberg 85 c 3 Elisabeth Memorial Days (November 19 / May 1, 3 p.m.)
10 Paternoster bell 1320 unknown 470 (a 1 ) (jumped since December 30, 1965)

local community

The Evangelical Elisabeth Church Community had around 4800 members in 2016 and belongs to the Marburg parish . The area extends over the old town of Marburg, Grassenberg, Ortenberg, Nordviertel and Waldtal. The Elizabeth Church has 2.5 parish offices and half a visitor pasture. It is also the sermon church of the provost of the Marburg district . A church kiosk is operated by the community. Church services are regularly celebrated on Sundays. The congregation offers church tours and church explorations for children and adults. There are also many offers in the field of church music, such as the choir and the trombone choir of the Elisabeth Church.


The Elisabethkirche is also known colloquially in Marburg as the "E-Church".


  • Literature about Elisabethkirche Marburg in the Hessian Bibliography
  • Rainer Atzbach: Marburg's holiest place. Excavations in 1970/71 at the site of the founding of the hospital of St. Elisabeth (with contributions by Katrin Atzbach, Matthias Bischof, Cathrin Hähn, Alissa Theiß and Felicitas Weiß) (=  Marburg city writings on history and culture . Volume 88 ). Rathaus-Verlag, Marburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-923820-88-7 .
  • Hermann Bauer: Saint Elisabeth and the Elisabeth Church in Marburg . Hitzeroth, Marburg 1990, ISBN 3-89616-031-1 .
  • Monika Bierschenk: Stained glass of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. The figurative windows around 1240 . Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-87157-132-6 .
  • Georg Dehio : Handbook of German art monuments , Hessen I: Administrative districts of Giessen and Kassel. Edited by Folkhard Cremer and others . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-422-03092-3 , p. 610-619 .
  • Dieter Großmann: Elisabethkirche Marburg (=  large architectural monuments . Issue 296). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin 1977.
  • Wilhelm Kolbe: The Church of St. Elisabeth in Marburg along with its art and historical monuments . Elwert, Marburg 1882. ( digitized version )
  • Andreas Köstler: The furnishings of the Marburg Elisabeth Church. To aestheticize the cult area in the Middle Ages . Reimer, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-496-01134-3 .
  • Kurt Kramer: The bell and its ringing . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-422-06066-9 .
  • Margret Lemberg: The winged altars by Ludwig Juppe and Johann von der Leyten in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg . Historical Commission for Hesse, Marburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-942225-13-7 .
  • Eberhard Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. A guide to understanding . Revised and supplemented by Renate Lührmann, updated and expanded edition. Marburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-00-055228-1 .
  • Matthias Müller: The two-tower west building of Marburg's Elisabethkirche. The completion of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher of a "royal woman". Building history, role models, meaning (=  Marburg city publications on history and culture . Volume 60 ). Rathaus-Verlag, Marburg 1997, ISBN 3-923820-60-7 .
  • Matthias Müller: Elisabeth Church Marburg . 15th edition. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-422-98138-6 .
  • Norbert Nussbaum: German church architecture of the Gothic . 2nd Edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1994, ISBN 3-534-12542-8 .
  • Daniel Parello: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg . Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-7954-2119-9 .
  • Daniel Parello: The medieval glass paintings in Marburg and Northern Hesse (=  Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Germany . III, 3). Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-87157-224-1 .
  • Maxi Maria Platz: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn . Dissertation, Otto Friedrich University, Bamberg 2017 ( uni-bamberg.de ).

Web links

Commons : Elisabethkirche (Marburg)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rainer Atzbach: Marburg's holiest place. Excavations in 1970/71 at the site of the founding of the hospital of St. Elisabeth (= Marburg town writings on history and culture. Volume 88). Rathaus-Verlag, Marburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-923820-88-7 , p. 57.
  2. ^ Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 610.
  3. Ursula Braasch-Schwersmann, Christa Meiborg: Elisabeth von Thüringen: Her hospital in Marburg and the Teutonic Order in the 13th century. Archaeological building finds and written records. 2009; accessed on March 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Place: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. 2017, pp. 57–62, 176 ( online , accessed March 6, 2020, PDF).
  5. ^ Place: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. 2017, pp. 172–173 ( online , accessed May 4, 2020, PDF).
  6. Christa Meiborg, Ursula Braasch-Schwersmann: Elisabeth of Thuringia. Her hospital in Marburg and the settlement of the Teutonic Order in the 13th century. Archaeological building finds and written records. (2009); accessed on March 6, 2020.
  7. ^ Place: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. 2017, pp. 174–175, 180, 210 ( online , accessed March 6, 2020, PDF).
  8. ^ Göran Tegnér: The story of the Stockholm reliquary with the crown. In: Andreas Meyer (Ed.): Elisabeth and no end…. On the afterlife of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia. Eudora-Verlag, Leipzig 2012, ISBN 978-3-938533-32-1 , pp. 29-46.
  9. ^ Place: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. 2017, p. 174 ( online , accessed May 4, 2020, PDF).
  10. ^ Gerd Strickhausen: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. Church of the Teutonic Order. In: Wartburg - Society for research into castles and palaces (ed.): Castles by church builders (= research on castles and palaces. Volume 6). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-422-06263-7 , pp. 139–156, here: p. 145.
  11. ^ Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 612.
  12. ^ Lemberg: The winged altars by Ludwig Juppe and Johann von der Leyten in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2011, p. 123.
  13. ^ Lemberg: The winged altars by Ludwig Juppe and Johann von der Leyten in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2011, p. 21.
  14. a b Lemberg: The winged altars by Ludwig Juppe and Johann von der Leyten in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2011.
  15. Thomas Franke: On the history of the Elisabeth relics in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. In: Philipps University of Marburg (ed.): Sankt Elisabeth. Princess - servant - saint. Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Sigmaringen 1981, ISBN 3-7995-4035-0 , pp. 168-172.
  16. Cf. Friedrich Dickmann: The fate of Elisabeth's relics. In: Journal of Religious Culture. 141, 2010, pp. 2-13.
  17. a b Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 615.
  18. ^ Hermann Bauer: Alt-Marburg stories and shapes. Rathaus-Verlag, Marburg 1986, ISBN 3-923820-16-X , p. 27.
  19. G. Dolff-Bonekämper: The visualization of the Elisabeth Church through the preservation of monuments in the 19th and 20th centuries. In: Philips-Universität-Marburg (Ed.): 700 years Elisabethkirche in Marburg 1283–1983. NG Elwert, Marburg 1983, pp. 135-161.
  20. New press of August 14, 2019: The crazy journey of the Hindenburg coffins. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  21. ^ Place: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. 2017 ( online , accessed March 6, 2020, PDF).
  22. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 13.
  23. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 126.
  24. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, pp. 13–15.
  25. ^ Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 613.
  26. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 17.
  27. ^ Kolbe: The Church of St. Elisabeth in Marburg. 1882, p. 24 ( online ).
  28. a b Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 614.
  29. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 116.
  30. ^ Nussbaum: German church architecture of the Gothic. 1994, p. 53.
  31. Tholey: Is the abbey church the oldest Gothic church in Germany? Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  32. ^ Dehio: Handbook of German Art Monuments, Hesse. 1982, p. 231.
  33. ^ Matthias Blazek: The execution of Henriette Meyer 1837 - The light in the Sebastiankirche in Berlin. In: Yearbook of the Berlin State Archives 2011 . Gebr. Mann, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-7861-2652-2 , pp. 37-45.
  34. St. Martin's Congregation in Houston .
  35. Jürgen Micheler: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg in its original colors. Elwert, Marburg 1984, ISBN 3-7708-0759-6 , p. 273.
  36. ^ Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 614.
  37. ^ Bierschenk: Stained glass of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 1991, pp. 47-50.
  38. ^ Parello: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2017, p. 10.
  39. ^ Parello: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2017, p. 47.
  40. ^ Parello: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2017, p. 9.
  41. ^ Place: Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of the Elisabeth Church in Marburg an der Lahn. 2017, p. 181 ( online , accessed May 4, 2020, PDF).
  42. Thomas Erne, Kerstin Wittmann-Englert (ed.): Church building. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 3-525-56852-5 , p. 143.
  43. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 40.
  44. ^ Margret Lemberg: Item sant Elizabeth in a box. The Elizabeth Shrine - the amazing career of a work of art. Historical Commission for Hesse, Marburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-942225-21-2 .
  45. Peter Masberg: Jewels for a Saint of the Poor , accessed on March 13, 2020.
  46. ^ Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 618.
  47. ^ Köstler: The furnishings of the Marburg Elisabeth Church. 1995, p. 36.
  48. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, pp. 69–70.
  49. ^ Margret Lemberg: Item sant Elizabeth in a box. The Elizabeth Shrine - the amazing career of a work of art. Historical Commission for Hesse, Marburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-942225-21-2 , pp. 117-146.
  50. Alexandra König (arrangement): Marburg, Elisabethkirche - high altar, completed in 1290. Accessed March 5, 2020 (PDF).
  51. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 47.
  52. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 48.
  53. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 49.
  54. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, pp. 99-105.
  55. Alexandra König: The genesis of the Marienretabel of the Elisabethkirche in Marburg. In: Ulrich Schütte, Hubert Locher u. a. (Ed.): Medieval reredos in Hessen. Vol. 2. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-7319-0197-6 , pp. 242–249, here: p. 242.
  56. ^ Lemberg: The winged altars by Ludwig Juppe and Johann von der Leyten in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2011, pp. 123-146.
  57. Alexandra König (arrangement): Marburg, Elisabethkirche, Marienaltar, 1517 , accessed on May 3, 2020 (PDF).
  58. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, pp. 34, 38.
  59. ^ Dehio: Handbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, Hessen I. 2008, p. 616.
  60. Alexandra König (arrangement): Marburg, Elisabethkirche, Johannesaltar, 1512 , accessed on May 3, 2020 (PDF).
  61. Alexandra König (arrangement): Marburg, Elisabethkirche, St. Georg and Martinsaltar, 1514 , accessed on May 3, 2020 (PDF).
  62. ^ Margret Lemberg: The choir screen in the Marburg Elisabeth Church. An example for the denominational conflicts in Hessen and for the change in taste. Rathaus-Verlag, Marburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-923820-86-3 , pp. 132-134.
  63. a b Köstler: The furnishings of the Marburg Elisabeth Church. 1995, p. 106.
  64. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 27.
  65. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 98.
  66. ^ Lemberg: The winged altars by Ludwig Juppe and Johann von der Leyten in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2011, p. 12.
  67. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 59.
  68. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 58.
  69. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 31.
  70. G. Ulrich Großmann : The statue of Saint Elisabeth with the church model. In: Hessian homeland. Journal for art, culture and monument preservation. 56, 2006, no. 2. pp. 39–45, here: p. 44 (PDF).
  71. ^ Leppin: The Elisabeth Church in Marburg. 2016, p. 25.
  72. ^ Kolbe: The Church of St. Elisabeth in Marburg. 1882, p. 23 ( online ).
  73. www.Musik-Medienhaus.de: The Queen's Portal. Retrieved September 26, 2019 .
  74. Information about the organ on the Church website, accessed May 9, 2020.
  75. New organ register for the Klais organ now ready to play. In: www.elisabethkirche.de. Retrieved July 14, 2020 .

Coordinates: 50 ° 48 ′ 53.6 "  N , 8 ° 46 ′ 11.1"  E