Graz Cathedral

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
View from the northwest

The Grazer Dom , the cathedral, bishop's church and parish church St. Aegydius , is the cathedral of the Diocese Graz-Seckau . Attached is the parish Graz Cathedral in the dean's office Graz center of the town church Graz .

The cathedral is considered to be one of the most important buildings in terms of art and cultural history in the Austrian city ​​of Graz and the entire state of Styria . The building, designed in the late Gothic style, was built in the 15th century, under Friedrich III. Court church of the Roman-German emperors and raised to the rank of cathedral church in 1786, when Graz became a bishopric. The sacred building, originally intended as a church fort outside the medieval city walls, stands on elevated terrain between Bürgergasse and Burggasse. The cathedral, together with the neighboring imperial mausoleum , the castle and the theater, form the ensemble of the Graz city crown .

Building history

The Graz Cathedral is consecrated to St. Aegydius and is therefore also referred to as the Cathedral of St. Aegydius . The first church consecrated to St. Aegydius had stood on the site of today's cathedral since at least the 12th century. A documentary mention is dated 1174, a first pastor in Graz was mentioned in 1181. However, nothing has survived from this first church.

When Emperor Friedrich III. In 1438 the construction of the Graz Castle began, the new church was also started. The two-storey connecting corridor between the castle and cathedral, which is no longer preserved today, dates from this time. As with all others under Friedrich III. Built buildings can be found in Graz Cathedral with the lettering AEIOU with engraved or painted dates: 1438 in the former sacristy, 1450 in the choir vault , 1456 on the west portal and 1464 in the vault painting. The completion of the building is therefore assumed in 1464. A market award document from Emperor Friedrich dates from 1441 for May 1st every year, which is associated with the church fair at that time. Therefore, May 1st is celebrated again today as the anniversary of the cathedral's consecration .

The first master builder of the cathedral during the choir building phase up to 1450 was probably the Graz-born Hans Niesenberger , who was referred to as Master of Grätz der Weissnaw at the Hüttentag in Regensburg in 1459 and as Master Johannes of Graz at the Milan Cathedral in 1483 .

In 1564 the building was the court church and until 1573 the city parish church (a function that was taken over in 1585 by the former Dominican church and today's city ​​parish church ); In 1577 the Jesuits received the church for use. In 1615 a sacristy was added ; Between 1617 and 1667 a total of four new chapels were built: the Pest Chapel, the Mater Dolorosa Chapel, the Franz Xaver Chapel and the Cross Chapel. In 1678 a crypt was built under the church, but in 1783 the entrance to the crypt inside the church was walled up. In 1786 the church was elevated to the status of a cathedral .

The embankment to the Bürgergasse was replaced in 1831 by a terrace wall and the large outside staircase and the connecting passage to the Jesuit college was removed. In 1853/1854 the two-storey connecting corridor from the cathedral to the castle was demolished.

In 1962/1963, the city administration of Graz carried out an extensive redesign of the interior of the church according to plans by Karl Raimund Lorenz. This included the creation of the new free-standing altar table and the removal of a wrought-iron grille between the nave and the choir.

After an existing crypt under the Marienkapelle and the Kreuzkapelle had been adapted as a new burial place for the bishops of Graz-Seckau, in 2010 the deceased bishops were transferred from the mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II next to the cathedral to the new one Episcopal Crypt. From May 2019 to Advent 2019, the cathedral was closed due to renovation work; the main nave was renovated during this period. In 2020 the presbytery will be renovated, after which the organ will be thoroughly overhauled in 2021. In the following years the individual chapels are to be renovated. Heating, electrical installations and lighting also have to be replaced, and a video installation is also planned. The renovation is expected to cost around six million euros.

Exterior construction

Roof landscape of the Graz Cathedral with the large roof turret on the right and the small one on the left (behind which the dome lantern of the mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II rises)
West portal

From the outside, Graz Cathedral looks massive and simple. Only the choir area, which is much narrower than the nave, has a moving wall structure with its buttresses and rich tracery decorations . The originally impressively painted facades are now largely white, apart from a few remains of frescoes. The best known is the picture of the plagues of God on the south side of the nave, attributed to the painter Thomas von Villach , which refers to the year 1480, in which three plagues broke out in Graz: plague, war and locusts. The chapels attached to the side of the building and the two ridge turrets do not date from the construction period, but were added later; Today's large roof turret in the west comes from Gregor Pacher and was built in 1653 in place of an older one, created by Vinzenz de Verda between 1580 and 1582 , the smaller east roof turret dates from 1739. The stone gates on the long sides come from the third quarter 17th century; The sheet metal doors with remarkable fittings are from the same period. There are also numerous walled-in tombstones from the 16th to 20th centuries on the outside walls of the church. Century. In the outdoor area on the east side (between the cathedral or mausoleum and Burggasse) there is a medium-sized bronze sculpture of the patron saint Egydius created by the well-known Graz artist Erwin Huber in 1998. The richly decorated west portal is still clearly in the tradition of Gothic architecture. However, only canopies and angel head consoles have been preserved from their original condition ; the statues in the robes depicting Mary , Joseph , John the Baptist and St. Leopold date from the 19th century. Above the portal, dated 1456, can be seen the emperor's AEIOU and heraldic shields , which show the double-headed imperial eagle , the Austrian shield and the coats of arms of Portugal and Styria . The coat of arms of Portugal was affixed in honor of Frederick III's wife, Eleonore Helena of Portugal , daughter of the Portuguese queen.


View into the nave
Frescoes in the aisle vault

The interior of the church was changed several times, for example by adding side chapels and a baroque organ gallery . Nevertheless, it can be seen that the Graz Cathedral is a hall church , a type that was particularly popular in the late Gothic period, and that can be found, for example, in Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral or the former collegiate church in Neuberg , but also some church buildings in the immediate vicinity of Graz Doms ( Maria Trost in Fernitz and Parish Church Semriach ) takes place. The nave in Graz Cathedral is divided into three naves by eight mighty pillars . The elongated choir adjoins behind a high triumphal arch . The floor plan of the Graz Cathedral is similar to that of the previously built mendicant churches of the Dominicans and Franciscans in Graz. Like these two, the Graz Cathedral originally had a rood screen . The reliefs of the bells of the cathedral were also created based on templates by the Graz artist Erwin Huber.

At the time of construction, large parts of the interior were painted in color. Only parts of this late Gothic fresco decoration have survived , such as the depictions of St. Christopher above the side entrances or the exposed tendril and flower decorations in the aisle vaults, which are dated 1464.

Barbara Chapel

The former sacristy , today Barbarakapelle, has the earliest dating stone of the church with the year 1438. Of the two keystones, one shows Saint Veronica with the handkerchief , the other an angel with the Austrian shield; ecclesiastical and secular power are juxtaposed here on an equal footing. Also on the keystones in the main nave are not only symbols of Christ, as in the art of the Romanesque, but also imperial coats of arms and the coats of arms of various sponsors of the building.


Above the Barbarakapelle is the Friedrichskapelle, which was long assumed to have been part of the original building concept. According to new studies, the Friedrichskapelle was added to the building later. Two years after the start of construction, Friedrich III. up to the king; a westwork with rulers' empore, as was customary for ruling churches at that time, was not provided for in the church planning, and subsequent installation was not possible because of the steeply sloping terrain in the west. Therefore, for the first time in medieval architecture, a ruler's hall arose right next to the choir. Friedrich's motto AEIOU can be seen particularly frequently in this room. The Frederick Chapel and a prayer room built later (today's Romuald Chapel) were directly connected to Graz Castle via a bridge as rooms directly available to the ruler .

Baroque high altar


In the years from 1577 to 1773, when the Graz Cathedral was used as the Jesuit order church , numerous structural changes were made. For example, the roof turret with the baroque onion dome and a connecting passage from the cathedral to the Jesuit college opposite were built (demolished in 1831), and numerous chapels and a new sacristy were added to the church building. The Gothic rood screen was torn down so that all church visitors - in accordance with the provisions of the Council of Trent - had a clear view of the high altar . Most of the splendid interior furnishings - in keeping with the Counter-Reformation - also date from that time. Today's Baroque high altar, which is one of the most important in Austria and replaced a Renaissance high altar that was only a hundred years old, was built between 1730 and 1733. The high altar, made according to a design by the master builder Georg Kräxner from Graz, shows in the middle an altarpiece by the painter Franz Ignaz Flurer , which depicts St. Aegidius, patron saint of the church, and above it a group of the coronation of the Virgin Mary , which is considered the most important work of the sculptor Johann Jacob Schoy .

Coronation of the pulpit

The side altars, which were erected around 1618 immediately after the rood screen was demolished, were extensively renewed by Veit Königer in 1766 . The altar paintings by the court painter Giovanni Pietro de Pomis have been preserved. The northern altar shows Mary with the angel of the Annunciation , the southern one shows Saint Ignatius of Loyola , founder of the Jesuit order. The revival of the veneration of saints , which had suffered under the Reformation , was particularly encouraged by the Jesuits. Corresponding to the mother church of the Jesuits, Il Gesù in Rome , which has numerous side altars in chapel niches, the side walls of the Graz Cathedral were also broken through for the installation of niche-like chapels. The pulpit , which was built in 1710 based on a design by the Jesuit Georg Lindemayr , shows elaborate high baroque decor. Most of the rest of the furnishings in Graz Cathedral, from pews, confessionals and choir stalls to lamps, bells and candlesticks, date from the time of the Jesuits and are therefore designed in a baroque style.

After the Jesuit order was abolished in 1773, the Graz Cathedral was for some time without a suitable function. Since 1786, when the bishopric of the Graz-Seckau diocese was moved from Seckau to Graz and the Graz Cathedral became a cathedral church , the Graz Cathedral has been the spiritual and liturgical center of the diocese. In contrast to the Jesuits, who redesign the building according to their own ideas, the cathedral chapter largely preserved the building in the form in which it had taken over. After inner-city cemeteries were banned under Joseph II , the parish cemetery was abandoned in 1830 and the cemetery wall, along with the useless transition to the Jesuit college, was torn down. The transition to Graz Castle was demolished in 1853/1854 , and Graz Cathedral has been vacant since then. Only minor changes have been made to the interior, especially those related to the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council .


One of the two reliquary shrines in Graz Cathedral

The two reliquary shrines placed on marble plinths on either side of the triumphal arch are among the most valuable pieces of equipment in Graz Cathedral. Originally, the two shrines were bridal chests that Paola Gonzaga brought as wedding goods from Mantua to Bruck Castle near Lienz for the wedding with Count Leonhard von Görz . After the death of the childless couple, the chests came into the possession of the Millstatt Monastery , which Archduke Ferdinand gave to the Jesuits around 1598 as a financial basis for the foundation of their Graz University. When Pope Paul V donated relics to Graz Cathedral in 1617 , the Jesuits had the two chests brought from Millstatt.

On each of the chests made of oak, three reliefs can be seen, which are made of bone and ivory in the style of the Italian Early Renaissance . Six triumphal floats are shown, corresponding to the poem I Trifoni by Francesco Petrarch . They were probably designed by Andrea Mantegna , who worked at the court of Mantua.

Crucifixion in the crowd

Only one piece of furniture has survived from the time of Emperor Friedrich : the picture of the Crucifixion created by Conrad Laib around 1457 , which used to be the altarpiece of the cross altar on the Gothic rood screen. Due to the large number of people shown, the picture is referred to as the crucifixion in a crowd and probably goes back to the passion plays that were very popular in the Middle Ages and took place with great sympathy from the population. With the continuous gold coloring of the background, the picture is still clearly in the tradition of Gothic painting, but the realistic depictions of people and horses point to the Renaissance. After many changes of location and a long restoration period, this picture, one of the most important Gothic panel paintings in Austria, is now in the Friedrichskapelle in Graz Cathedral.


Cathedral organ

Today's cathedral organ was built in 1978 by the organ builder Klais built and stands on a 1687 built baroque west gallery . The prospectus comes from the architect Jörg Mayr using the decor by Veit Königer for the baroque organ by Anton Römer . The cathedral organ has four manuals and a pedal with originally 70 stops with mechanical performance and electrical stop action , in 1998 a trumpet mechanism with three stops was added. Organ concerts take place regularly on summer Sundays.

I Upper structure C – a 3
Holzpommer 16 ′
Praestant 8th'
Reed flute 8th'
Quintad 8th'
Voce Humana 8th'
Principal 4 ′
Pointed flute 4 ′
Octave 2 ′
Hollow flute 2 ′
Fifth 1 13
Sesquialtera II 2 23
Scharff V 1 13
Cymbel III 13
Dulcian 16 ′
Cromorne 8th'
II main work C – a 3
Praestant 16 ′
Principal 8th'
Double flute 8th'
Gemshorn 8th'
Octave 4 ′
Night horn 4 ′
Fifth 2 23
Super octave 2 ′
Pipe whistle 2 ′
Cornett V 8th'
Mixtura Major IV 2 ′
Mixtura Minor IV 23
Trumpet 16 ′
Trumpet 8th'
prong 8th'
III Swell C – a 3
Pipe bourdon 16 ′
Wooden flute 8th'
Metal dacked 8th'
Viol 8th'
Voix Celeste 8th'
Violin principal 4 ′
Flute 4 ′
Dolce 4 ′
Nasard 2 23
Flageolet 2 ′
Plein Jeu VI 2 23
Cor Anglais 16 ′
Trumpet Harmonique 8th'
Hautbois 8th'
Clairon harmon. 4 ′
IV Positive C-a 3
Wooden dacked 8th'
Praestant 4 ′
Reed flute 4 ′
Pointed fifth 2 23
Principal 2 ′
third 1 35
Larigot 1 13
Octave 1'
Mixture III 12
Vox Humana 8th'

Trumpeteria C – a 3
Trumpet 16 ′
Trumpet 8th'
Trumpet 4 ′
Pedal C – f 1
Pedestal 32 ′
Principal 16 ′
Sub-bass 16 ′
Fifth 10 23
Octave 8th'
Play flute (*) 8th'
Super octave (*) 4 ′
Funnel-shaped (*) 4 ′
Forest flute (*) 2 ′
Back set IV 4 ′
Mixture IV (*) 2 ′
trombone 16 ′
Bassoon (*) 16 ′
Wooden trumpet 8th'
Schalmey (*) 4 ′
Tremulant (*)
  • Pairing :
    • Normal coupling: I / II, III / II, IV / II, III / I, IV / I, I / P, II / P, III / P, IV / P
    • Trumpeteria : Tr / I, Tr / II, Tr / III, Tr / IV
  • Secondary register: Zimbelstern , glockenspiel, nightingale


The large roof turret houses 7 bronze bells that were cast by the Grassmayr foundry in Innsbruck in 1987.

No. Surname volume Weight
1 Redeemer Bell b 0 3534 kg
2 Aegydius bell c 1 2290 kg
3 Marienbell dis 1 1366 kg
4th St. John's Bell f 1 961 kg
5 Rupertigocke g 1 699 kg
6th Joseph Bell b 1 443 kg
7th Poor souls bell c 2 310 kg

The Grassmayr bell replaces a bell that consisted of two bells from the Pfundner foundry from 1949 and three historic bells. These bells were lifted from the tower in 1987.


Web links

Commons : Dom, Graz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Schweigert: Dehio Graz. P. 13.
  2. Directory 2008 of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau .
  3. ^ Anne-Christine Brehm: Hans Niesenberger of Graz. A late Gothic architect on the Upper Rhine, Schwabe, Basel 2013, pp. 31–35.
  4. a b Schweigert: Dehio Graz. P. 14.
  5. Last move into the bishop's church - reburial of deceased bishops in the new bishop's crypt , Sunday paper for Styria, issue no .: 07-10.
  6. Illustration of the new bishop's crypt, accessed January 11, 2015 .
  7. ^ First mass in the restored Graz Cathedral. In: . December 1, 2019, accessed December 2, 2019 .
  8. Graz Cathedral closed for renovation from May on ORF-Steiermark from October 9, 2018, accessed on October 9, 2018.
  9. Graz Cathedral is closed due to general renovation . Article dated March 26, 2019, accessed March 26, 2019.
  10. The design for the new high altar comes from Georg Kräxner, a master builder from Graz - and not, like Schnerich (see A. Schnerich, Zur Geschichte der Altär der Grazer Hof- und Domkirche, in: Der Kirchenschmuck, XXX (1899) 2, 13) thinks of a Jesuit of the same name who has never been artistically active. As far as is known, the design drawing (engraved by Joh. Dan. Herz in Augsburg) bears the full signature "G. Kraexner" only on the copy kept in the Art History Institute of the University of Graz, cf. Thieme-Becker XXI, 1927, p. 382.
  11. ^ Jörg Wernisch: Bell customer of Austria . JournalVerlag, Lienz 2006.

Coordinates: 47 ° 4 ′ 19 ″  N , 15 ° 26 ′ 32 ″  E