St. Agnes (Cologne)

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St. Agnes in Cologne (2008)

St. Agnes is a Catholic parish church in Cologne . It is located in the northern Neustadt , the Agnesviertel , on Neusser Straße. After the cathedral , St. Agnes is the largest church in Cologne. The church gives the surrounding Agnesviertel its name. St. Gertrud has been a sister church in the Agnesviertel since the 1960s.

Building history

The construction of St. Agnes goes back to the foundation of Peter Joseph Roeckerath (1837–1905) in 1895. His wife Agnes, with whom he was married since 1876, came from a Cologne farming family; she brought large areas of agricultural land close to the city with her into the marriage. In the course of the city expansion from 1880, the family made considerable wealth through the sale of the land.

The church should as a grave church serve for his late wife in 1890 and as a patron saint , the Holy Agnes received in whose name his wife was baptized. Originally Roeckerath wanted to have the church built on Herwarthstrasse. This location was then rejected as was another building site on the Vorgebirgstrasse. Finally, following a proposal by the Vicariate General of the Archdiocese, the choice fell on the location at the old fork in the road between Neusser Strasse and Niehler Strasse. Like other churches in Cologne's Neustadt district, St. Agnes is not traditionally oriented towards the east, but rather towards the then still young Ringstrasse.

In 1896 the construction of the neo-Gothic church started according to plans by the architects Carl Rüdell and Richard Odenthal . They designed the church in the neo-Gothic style , which was very popular in Cologne after the completion of the cathedral. The Elisabeth Church in Marburg was the model for the floor plan . The building was built using brick and faced with light sandstone and tuff stone. Pillars, arches, the portals and the tracery of the windows were highlighted with red sandstone. It is striking that the conception of the tower in particular does not make use of the Gothic canon of forms , but is an independent, Gothic-perceived creation of historicism . The church was completed in 1901 and initially only consecrated on January 21, 1902. The church was solemnly consecrated by the Archbishop of Cologne only when the addition of a sacristy , decided in 1910, was completed in 1913 . In 1924 the crypt , which had been converted into a war memorial chapel, was finished. Roeckerath, who died in 1905, is buried in one of the side chapels. In 1920 the parish of St. Agnes was the largest parish in Cologne with 27,000 parish members.

The place on which the church stands is called Neusser Platz; Since 2018 the part of the square in front of the entrance to the church has been called "Roeckerath-Platz". St. Agnes is 80 m long, 40 m wide and has an area of ​​approx. 2,155 m². The tower has a height of 61 m.

During the Second World War , St. Agnes suffered considerable damage. In 1943, a bomb explosion in front of the church caused the first damage, later the roof went up in flames and in September 1943 the vault of the nave collapsed as a result of the bombing. After the end of the war, parts of the choir vault collapsed in May 1945 and destroyed the preserved high altar.

In July 1945, the first emergency church in Cologne was inaugurated in the east transept. In January 1950 the flat concrete roof on steel girders was completed and in October 1950 the entire church interior was inaugurated.

In 1958 the church was provided with a roof again and in 1967 work on the church facade was finally finished. On June 18, 1980, as a result of improperly executed welding work, there was a major fire in the church roof, which was destroyed in the process. After a long and controversial discussion, the flat, clad ceiling typical of the reconstruction period was finally replaced by a reconstruction of the original vault. Karl-Josef Ernst from Zülpich was commissioned with the design and the architectural supervision .


inside view

The interior of the church is simply painted in a historical style. The windows in the choir designed by Wilhelm Buschulte are worth seeing (Buschulte created around five hundred church window cycles in the second half of the 20th century). Anatol Herzfeld , a master student of Joseph Beuys , redesigned the crypt in 1994 to commemorate the martyrs of the KAB ( Nikolaus Groß , Bernhard Letterhaus and Prelate Otto Müller ). The baptismal font and the neo-Gothic high altar date from the time the church was built; the community altar from 1987 was designed by Elmar Hillebrand . The areas in the arches of the western end wall were designed by Clemens Hillebrand .


The organ was built in 1989 by the organ building company Rieger from Austria. It has 50 stops on 3 manuals and a pedal . The large French swell gives the instrument its special symphonic character.

I Rückpositiv C – c 4
Principal 8th'
Wooden dacked 8th'
Quintad 8th'
Principal 4 ′
Wooden pipe flute 4 ′
Sesquialtera II 2 23
Gemshorn 2 ′
Larigot 1 13
Scharff IV 1'
Krummhorn 8th'
II main work C – c 4
Bourdon 16 ′
Principal 8th'
Pointed flute 8th'
Flûte harmonique 8th'
Octav 4 ′
Night horn 4 ′
Super octave 2 ′
Mixture IV 2 ′
Cimbel III 23
Cornet 8th'
Trumpet 16 ′
Trumpet 8th'
III Swell C – c 4
Viola major 16 ′
Wooden principal 8th'
Lead-covered 8th'
Gamba 8th'
Voix céleste 8th'
Principal 4 ′
Transverse flute 4 ′
Salicet 4 ′
Nazard 2 23
Piccolo 2 ′
third 1 35
Sifflet 1'
Plein Jeu V 2 23
Basson 16 ′
Trumpet harm. 8th'
Hautbois 8th'
Clairon harm. 4 ′
Voix humaine 8th'
Pedal C – g 1
Pedestal 32 ′
Principal 16 ′
Sub-bass 16 ′
Octav 8th'
Capstan flute 8th'
Chorale bass 4 ′
Rauschpfeife IV 2 23
Bombard 16 ′
trombone 8th'
Trumpet 4 ′
  • Coupling: I / II; III / II; III / I; I / P; II / P; III / P.


St. Agnes Bell

Three bells of the first ring from the years 1903/04 (h 0 –d 1 –e 1 –fis 1 ) had to be delivered in February 1942 to be melted down. The fourth bell (e 1 ) survived the war. In 1982, the Mabilon bell foundry in Saarburg cast six bells after the previous bell from 1960 was destroyed in the major fire in 1980. With a total weight of almost 10 tons, it is one of the largest bells in Cologne. Due to static problems, bells 3 and 2 are provided with counter pendulums.

(kg, approx.)
( HT - 1 / 16 )
1 Agnes 1,750 3,450 b 0 +2 St. Agnes proclaims the reason for existence.
The dam against death and sin:
loyalty in the new, eternal covenant
with Christ the Paschal Lamb
2 Angelus 1,570 2,400 c 1 +2 The angelus bell calls into time:
God himself came into our tent.
The “Fiat” of the virgin prepares us
for our way into God's world
3 Joseph 1,390 1,675 d 1 +2 Joseph does in silence what God tells him to do.
He protects the child who made the world
and the mother, God's virgin maid,
and us. - His bell: a comforting cry
4th Peter 1,170 1,025 f 1 +2 The rock on which the church is built
is Peter whom Christ forgives.
The bell calls: turn back and trust.
Secret of grace - God loves
5 James 1,040 680 g 1 +2 James, apostle, who
gives life under the sword for Christ,
calls us
to life as Jesus' companion in fate , the feast of Easter
6th Maria Goretti 880 400 b 1 +2 Maria Goretti, threatened by sin,
did not surrender to her.
The bell announces: Your sacrifice, your death
is the gateway to greater life!

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Günther Binding , Barbara Kahle, Petra Leser (1996): 2000 Years of Architecture in Cologne . = 60. Publication of the Department of Architectural History of the Art History Institute of the University of Cologne, ISSN  0940-7812 , p. 157.
  2. Christoph Machat: Vault or wooden ceiling? The second restoration of the Catholic parish church of St. Agnes in Cologne (1985). In: Der Stadtkonservator (Ed.): Cologne: 85 Years of Monument Protection and Preservation 1912–1997. 2: Texts from 1980–1997 (= Stadtspuren , Volume 9.II). Editor: Bernd Dreher. JP Bachem Verlag, Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-7616-1388-1 , pp. 349-356, here pp. 349 and 354.
  3. Gerhard Hoffs: Glockenmusikischer Kirchenkirchen Köln , Köln 2009, pp. 65–69, PDF document. ( Memento of the original from April 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /


Web links

Commons : St. Agnes  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 50 ° 57 ′ 18 "  N , 6 ° 57 ′ 26.5"  E