Moriz Church (Coburg)

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The Morizkirche is the Evangelical Lutheran town church of St. Moriz and the oldest church in Coburg . It goes back to a Romanesque basilica from the 13th century, of which remains of the foundations are still present. The church name was first mentioned at the beginning of the 14th century and refers to St. Mauritius .

Moriz Church in Coburg
Western front with main portal
East choir


A first church existed in Coburg in the 11th century. A church was first mentioned in 1189, which replaced a Romanesque building around 1250. In 1323 the patronage of Mauritius was in a letter of indulgence from Pope John XXII. first mentioned. The oldest part of today's church is the Gothic long choir in the east, which was built around 1380 to 1400. He served the Benedictines of the monastery of St. Peter and Paul as a monk choir until their convent was dissolved in 1525. From 1217 the provost also held the office of pastor of St. Moritz.

Around 1420, the renovation of the western building of the previous church began with the south tower. The western two-tower front with the entrance portal and the entrance hall as well as the gallery chapel above , the Michaelskapelle, with the west choir as the middle section was built. The roof of the chapel was covered in 1454 and the vaults were built by 1519. The north tower had been built between 1450 and 1456 up to the approach to the bell storey. Instead of a pointed, lead-covered helmet from 1560, he was given a tower room and a Welsche hood in 1586 . The south tower, also known as the raven tower, remained unfinished and was covered with slate in 1560.

In 1520 the replacement of the nave , the actual nave, began as a late Gothic three-aisled hall under the direction of the Königshofer foreman Hans Gris. After his death in the same year, Konrad Krebs continued the work. The roof structure was completed in 1532. For financial reasons, a wooden flat ceiling supported by eight high columns was put in instead of a net vault. In 1541 stone flooring was installed.

Balthasar Düring came to Coburg in 1520 . He took the leading position as a reformer of Coburg. In 1524 the first service was held according to the new Protestant service order. Martin Luther , who lived at the Veste Coburg for six months , preached seven times in the unfinished church during Easter week in 1530.

In 1585, Duke Johann Casimir had the wooden ceiling of the nave painted with a cassette pattern by the Heldburg painter Wolfgang Sichelschmidt. At the end of the 16th century he rededicated the choir of the main church of his principality to the ducal burial place and in 1598 replaced the high altar at the end of the choir with a large epitaph for Johann Friedrich the Middle . It was not until 1687 that Duke Albrecht commissioned the construction of a crypt in the choir. Until 1860 the church was the burial place of the ducal house.

Duke Franz Josias commissioned the Ansbach master builder David Steingruber between 1740 and 1742 to redesign the church in the fourth phase of conversion into a gallery hall with a baroque preacher's room. Many parts of the old Gothic church disappeared, including the pulpit from which Luther had preached. Among other things, the tracery of the windows was broken out for a wide and bright community hall . Two-storey, spacious galleries were built in, and the stuccoed ceiling of the nave interior was given rococo ornaments by the Italian artist Carlo Baldini Bossi.

Since then, the church, which belongs to the city of Coburg, has remained unchanged, apart from maintenance work and the windows. The interior was renovated between 1926 and 1929, and the exterior renovation began on the western part in 1934. Extensive interior renovation was carried out again in 1970/1971, including the arrangement of the altar area under the triumphal arch based on a design by Munich professor Johannes Ludwig. The stucco ceiling above the organ was secured as part of the organ renovation in 1988/1989. In 1992 the city had an external renovation carried out, the restoration of the exterior of the choir followed in 2003/2004. From April 2014 to April 2016, the interior of the church and the epitaph were renovated for around 1.4 million euros.

Building description

Entrance portal and west choir
Nave and chancel
Ribbed vault of the west choir

The Morizkirche is a Gothic hall church with a long choir. The structure is 62 meters long and up to 33 meters wide. The choir has a five- eighth closure and a ribbed vault with three front yokes and plate closing stones . The long sides are divided by four buttresses . The south-eastern buttress was originally the cemetery portal that formed the entrance to the cemetery. In the southwest corner, at the connection to the nave, there is a small spiral staircase tower. In the corner of the northwest corner is the two-bay, two-storey sacristy . The steep roof structure is a gable roof with a span of about 9.2 meters, about 9.8 meters in height and about 21 meters in length. The choir is separated from the nave by a pointed triumphal arch.

The axis of the nave, a flat-roofed gallery hall with three naves of equal height, is shifted from the axis of the choir. It has five-bay nave facades on both sides, of which the north side facing the old town is more elaborately designed than the south side. The buttresses there are triple tiered. At the beginning of the middle section there are busts, half-figures and mythical creatures that symbolize the seven deadly sins. The south facade was given a new entrance portal in the third yoke in 1740, which meant a symmetrical alignment with the north facade. A sundial was attached to the eastern buttress in 1917 . The side aisles have two-story galleries. Eight columns support the flat ceiling with a stucco ceiling mirror. The gable roof has four collar beam layers with a span of about 24.1 meters, a height of about 19.8 meters and a length of 27.2 meters.

The western double tower facade consists of the massive cubes of the towers and the finely structured central building. The towers are designed similarly up to the fifth floor. They have tracery windows and the floors are separated by cornices. The tower ground floors are spanned by star vaults. The upper section of the 72 meter high north tower merges into an octagonal floor plan with a substructure, followed by the bell storey with four high tracery windows, and the tower room with rectangular windows and a double lantern. The figure of St. Christopher is on the northwest corner of the ground floor. The south tower has only the approach of an octagon . On the southwest corner is the figure of St. Nicholas .

The middle section between the towers consists of the main portal on the ground floor and St. Michael's Church on the upper floor. In the funnel-shaped, open vestibule of the entrance, the figures of Adam and Eve and left of Mary and Saint Barbara , which date from the 15th century, are placed on consoles on the right . Figures of St. Peter and St. Mauritius with a lance stand on buttresses above the vestibule next to a gallery with a tracery parapet .

The Michaelskapelle is accessible through a polygonal spiral staircase tower to the right of the main portal. The organ's prospect covers the west choir with a large three-part tracery window in the middle and smaller two-lane windows on the sides. The room is spanned by a ribbed vault.


Gravestone of the knight Albrecht von Bach

In addition to the epitaph on the ground floor of the Raven Tower, a tombstone of the knight Albrecht von Bach († 1441) and a fresco are noteworthy. They are the few medieval relics inside the church. The colored font from 1539 has a relief of a children's dance by Jörg Diener.

Also worth mentioning are the metal grave slabs in the choir. In the northeast corner is the mighty, sculptural grave slab for Duke Johann Casimir , the work of the Coburg ore caster Georg Werther. Next to it is the two-part, engraved plate for Johann Ernst by the Nuremberg gunsmith Bernhard Eberlein. On the south wall is the plaque for Johann Friedrich the Middle , next to that of his wife Elisabeth von der Pfalz , both of which were created by the Nuremberg foundry Benedikt Wurzelbauer based on a design by Peter Sengelaub in 1595. The sarcophagus of Duke Albrecht is in the crypt .

The light maple altar dates from 2016 and is the work of the Munich artist Werner Mally. It consists of five movable elements and is located on the steps between the choir and the nave.



In 1598 Duke Johann Casimir left a 13.66 meter high and 6.55 meter wide alabaster tomb in the church for his parents, Johann Friedrich the Middle and Elisabeth von der Pfalz, who had died in 28-year captivity, through the sculptor Nikolaus Bergner set, which is counted among the most beautiful Renaissance epitaphs in Germany. The alabaster was dismantled near Heldburg .

Planning and work on the epitaph began in 1594, and in 1598 the complex was completed.

The praying group of figures shows the ducal family. In the middle, Duke Johann Friedrich the Middle kneels, opposite him his first wife, Agnes von Hessen , and the second, Elisabeth von der Pfalz. Behind the duke are his two eldest sons, Johann Friedrich and Friedrich Heinrich, who died in childhood, as well as Johann Casimir and his younger brother Johann Ernst as adults. The middle relief above shows the transfer of the bones of the Patriarch Joseph into the Canaanite tomb. The princes were originally buried in front of the epitaph. The coffins were moved to the crypt under the choir in 1687.


Schuke organ

In the north aisle there was originally a stone gallery on which an organ stood. The first evidence of the existence of an organ comes from the years 1429 and 1481. In 1487, Master Friedrich built a large organ with a manual and pedal for around 129 guilders and 165 pounds hellers on the north gallery. In 1665, the Kulmbach organ builder Matthias Tretzscher installed a new instrument with 18 stops on two manuals and a pedal, which was inaugurated in 1666.

Between 1740 and 1742 a new organ was built on the west gallery for 1,000 Reichstaler , which the Coburg organ builder Paul Daum planned and built by his son Wolfgang-Heinrich. The instrument had two manuals and a pedal with a total of 30 registers. During a major repair, the Coburg organ builder Anton Hasselbarth installed a third manual in 1873/1874. The cost was 3,619 guilders.

As part of the church restoration, a replacement for the historic Daum organ followed in 1929 by the Ludwigsburg organ builder Oskar Walcker , a pocket organ with two swellable works, 57 stops on three manuals and a pedal. The old case was retained, but was set back 1.5 meters. In 1989 this organ replaced the organ manufacture Karl Schuke (Berlin) in the historical, nine-part and two- to three-storey prospectus from 1742. Four registers from the organ by Wolfgang-Heinrich Daum have been preserved in today's instrument. The organ had 54 registers (approx. 3800 pipes ) on three manuals and a pedal. In 2006, as part of a general overhaul, the setting system was expanded from 32 to 800 combinations.

In November 2019, Schuke added two bass registers on the pedals to the organ. For this purpose, 64 pipes and a second wind turbine with motor and motor box had to be built behind the existing organ case. The cost was around 120,000 euros.

I main work C – a 3
01. Gedacktpommer 0 16 ′
02. Principal 08th' D.
03. Playing flute 08th'
04th octave 04 ′
05. Flauto in ottava 04 ′
06th Fifth 02 23
07th octave 02 ′
08th. Cornett V (from f 0 ) 08th'
09. Mixture IV-VI
10. Cymbel III
11. Trumpet 08th'
12. Clarine 04 ′
II Oberwerk C – a 3
13. Wooden dacked 8th'
14th Quintatön 8th'
15th Prefix 4 ′ D.
16. Reed flute 4 ′
17th octave 2 ′
18th Forest flute 2 ′
19th Sesquialtera II 0 2 23
20th Fifth 1 13
21st Oktavlein 1'
22nd Scharff III – IV
23. Cromorne 8th'
24. Vox humana 8th'
III Swell C – a 3
25th Drone 16 ′
26th Wooden principal 08th'
27. Reed flute 08th'
28. Black viola 08th'
29 Voix céleste (from c 0 ) 08th'
30th Flute Principal 04 ′
31. Salicional 04 ′
32. Flûte octaviante 04 ′
33. Nasat 02 23
34. third 01 35
35. Transverse flute 02 ′
36. Mixture V-VI
37. Basson 16 ′
38. Trompette harmonique 08th'
39. Hautbois 08th'
40. Chalumeau 04 ′
Pedals C – g 1
41. Pedestal 32 ′
42. Principal 16 ′
43. Sub-bass 16 ′
44. Fifth bass 10 23 D.
45. octave 08th'
46. Gemshorn 08th'
47. Bass flute 08th'
48. octave 04 ′ D.
49. Night horn 04 ′
50. flute 02 ′
51. Back set III 0
52. Mixture VI
53. trombone 32 ′
54. trombone 16 ′
55. Trumpet 08th'
56. Clairon 04 ′
D = historical register by Daum (1740)


Five bells hang in the north tower . The largest, the Mauritius bell, has a mass of 2.5 tons. The Nuremberg master Paulus cast it in 1437. The richly decorated bell bears, among other things, two Latin inscriptions, separated by four Mauritius reliefs with shield and flag lance. The first line of the inscription reads: "In 1437, the careful and considerate mayors and the entire community of the city in Coburg had the bell in honor of Mauritius by Master Paulus of Nuremberg".

From 1958 onwards, the Mauritius bell was rung every day for five minutes at 9 p.m. for almost 30 years with the intention that Germans in East and West would think of each other in prayer.

No. Surname Casting year Caster Diameter
1 Mauritius bell 1437 Master Paulus, Nuremberg 160 2500 cis 1
2 Mary's or bridal bell 1510 Master Petrus Gareis 130 1700 dis 1
3 Catherine or prayer bell 1510 Master Petrus Gareis 120 950 f sharp 1
4th Memorial bell for the dead of the world wars 1960 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling, Heidelberg 750 g sharp 1
5 Little bell 13th or 14th century unknown 500 h 1


With Balthasar Düring as pastor of the Morizkirche, the Reformation found its way into Coburg as early as the 1520s. All church goods were transferred to the Coburg city ​​council , which had to maintain the churches and schools and take care of the priests to compensate. With regard to the Church of St. Moriz, this regulation applies to the present day. From 1671 to 1685 the well-known hymn poet Kaspar Friedrich Nachtenhöfer was pastor at the Morizkirche.

The district of the Evangelical Lutheran parish of St. Moriz encompasses the inner city of Coburg and has around 3400 (as of 2017) parishioners.

Web links

Commons : Morizkirche Coburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c d e f Peter Morsbach, Otto Titz: City of Coburg (= Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation [Hrsg.]: Monuments in Bavaria . Volume IV.48 ). Karl M. Lipp Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-87490-590-X , p. 187-189 .
  2. ^ Coburger Tageblatt, April 23, 2014
  3. Leopold Oelenheinz: The Church ad sanctam Mariam in Konigsberg. Fri Volume 1: Before the fire of 1640. Franken mirror, Coburg 1919, p. 15
  4. a b Saskia Hilski: The development of the roof structures in the city of Coburg up to the 30 Years War. In: Yearbook of the Coburg State Foundation. Volume 60, 2016, p. 1 f.
  5. Joachim Kruse: Duke Johann Friedrich II. The Middle of Saxony (1529–1595) and the Ernestine family epitaph in St. Moriz, Coburg, completed in 1598. A study of the history of culture and art . Part 1. In: Yearbook of the Coburg State Foundation. Volume 52, 2007, pp. 1–334, part 2. In: Yearbook of the Coburger Landesstiftung. Volume 53, 2008, pp. 1–298, here part 2, pp. 89 f.
  6. ^ A b Hermann Fischer, Theodor Wohnhaas: Old organs in the Coburg region, part III. In: Yearbook of the Coburg State Foundation. 1972, p. 72 f.
  7. More details about the organ of the Morizkirche , as seen on December 23, 2015.
  8. Coburger Tageblatt, November 5, 2019.
  9. Information about the organ on the municipality's website
  10. a b Georg Impler: Glockenland. Bavaria's most sonorous church bells . Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-7917-2649-6 , pp. 138-140.

Coordinates: 50 ° 15 '26 "  N , 10 ° 57' 58"  E