Hospital chapel

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A hospital chapel in Vagney , Zainvillers, in the Vosges Mountains

A hospital chapel ( hospital church , institution church ) is a sacred structure of a hospital . It can be designed as a room within the hospital building or as a separate structure or structure connected to the main building. Its purpose is to give patients, relatives and employees the opportunity to reflect and rest in hospital operations. The rooms are usually specially designed for this purpose.

They can be designed as a small church with the symbols of the Christian religion, but they can also be designed more freely in the sense of a meditation room . The designation varies between chapel , prayer room or "room of silence". Depending on the hospital, different institutions are responsible for the design and use of these rooms (churches, other religious communities, and occasionally the hospital itself).

Hospital chapels are usually open all day to give patients the opportunity for spiritual recreation at all times. The hospital chaplains who work in the hospital on behalf of the religious communities regularly hold worship services in the chapels .

Hospital chapels are mostly non-denominational, i.e. simultaneous churches , especially in public hospitals.


Hospital chapel in the LMU eye clinic in Munich 2020

Hospital chapels ( hospital churches in the narrower sense) first emerged at the medieval hospitals , in the sense of a foundation, either integrated into the often very large hospital rooms (e.g. Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune , France), or as structurally independent churches . The large hospitals that have been built since the 19th century only occasionally had independent hospital church buildings. Since the 20th century, only individual rooms within the clinics have been designated as hospital chapels.

However, a rethinking has been observed over the last few years. The existing chapels are being given more attention. They are occasionally renovated with high artistic standards. Some new hospital buildings, especially those from denominational sponsors, have a separate chapel building.

Overall, institutional integration and equipment are very different and depend on local conditions, the various hospital operators and the responsible religious communities. Hospital synagogues , mosques and temples of other religions are also to be understood as hospital chapels in the concept of function.

While there are often chapels in the USA that are designed to be cross-denominational and interreligious, in Germany the denominational differences and the boundaries between the religions are more clearly perceptible. The chapels are often used jointly, but a cross-denominational concept has so far rarely been discernible. In Austria - since all other denominations have long been a clear minority alongside the Roman Catholic Church, and the separation of church and state has a long tradition - ecumenical operation in public hospitals is the norm, the trend is even towards these prayer rooms open to other religions as well.

Some are designed as small churches for worship purposes, others are more like rooms of silence that are also or primarily intended to be used by individuals.

List of hospital churches / chapels


Portal of the chapel of the Rochusspital Mainz