St. Alexander and Theodor (Ottobeuren)
St. Alexander and Theodor is the church of the Upper Swabian Benedictine Abbey of Ottobeuren in the Unterallgäu district . The church of the former imperial abbey is one of the highlights of the Upper Swabian Baroque Route with its late baroque furnishings . Unlike many other churches of St. Alexander and Theodore is not faces east , but aligned to the south. The church, which has belonged to the State of Bavaria since 1804 , was given in 1926 by Pope Pius XI. the honorary title of Basilica minor . The church is dedicated to Saint Theodor Tiro and the martyr Alexander of Rome , a member of theThebaic Legion , consecrated.
The basilica was best known for the Ottobeurer concerts, some of which were broadcast on television. Pilgrimages used to be an important source of income for the Benedictines, but are no longer of importance today.
The first church must have been built when the monastery was founded in 764. 1089 a new building is occupied. A further new building with a Michael’s choir in the west was tackled as early as 1204. There was an Ursula vault under the Michael’s choir. In 1525 the monastery and church were looted during the Peasants' War. In 1553 the renovation of the Gothic church began. First, the Michael choir with the Ursulagruft was broken off and replaced by a wider monk choir. The high choir, which was still eastward at that time, was provided with a crypt. The octagonal ends of the two east towers were crowned with onion domes. On September 21, 1558 the church was consecrated in the Renaissance style. During the Thirty Years' War , the church and monastery were devastated several times between 1630 and 1635. In 1682 the new construction of a baroque monastery was planned, which began in 1686 with the baroque transformation of the old church. However, this conversion was discontinued shortly afterwards. From 1711, the entire monastery complex was demolished piece by piece and replaced by a new, baroque building. The monastery church was rebuilt between 1737 and 1766. In 1802 the imperial abbey was dissolved in the course of secularization , and the church became the property of the Electorate of Bavaria , later to the Kingdom of Bavaria . Some of the 48 monks at the time were allowed to continue monastery life in Ottobeuren in Upper Swabia, which was only possible under difficult conditions. The monastery church continued to exist as such. From 1834/1835 the monastery and monastery church were continued as a dependent priory of the Benedictine Abbey of Augsburg . On January 25, 1926, Pope Pius XI awarded the abbey church with the Apostolic Letter Refert ad Nos the title Basilica minor . A comprehensive interior and exterior renovation of the basilica took place between 1960 and 1964. The largest renovation of the church began in 2004 and was completed in 2010. The entire roof structure and towers of the church were also renovated. The interior should be renovated by 2014.
As the house architect, the prior of the monastery, P. Christoph Vogt, drew up the first plans for a new church in the type of collegiate church in Salzburg in 1711 . From 1720 onwards, several architects applied for the construction of the church, initially Donato Giuseppe Frisoni , Kaspar Radmiller and Andrea Maini , and later important ones like Dominikus Zimmermann and Joseph Schmuzer . But only Simpert Kramer was able to prevail with his plans from 1736 and take over the management of the church building. It was based heavily on the Weingarten basilica , which was inaugurated in 1724. On September 27, 1737 the foundation stone for today's church was laid by Abbot Rupert II. After his death on October 20, 1740, his successor, Abbot Anselm Erb, master builder Kramer in 1744 withdrew the construction management. The Munich court architect Joseph Effner had to revise the plans. Effner opted for a straight end to the choir. Because of his death in 1745, the construction management changed again. The Munich architect Johann Michael Fischer took over the building, which was still in the foundations, in 1748. In the following five years the old church was demolished and the shell of the current church was built. The huge roof structure was placed on the completed shell without an accident in 1753.
When applying for the interior decoration in 1755, Johann Michael Feuchtmayer prevailed against his cousin and competitor Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer . The team of artists around Feuchtmayer could also be won over for the interior decoration. At the same time, the first contract was signed with the sculptor and stucco sculptor Johann Joseph Christian regarding the choir stalls. In May 1755 the masonry work on the vaults was finished. At the same time, the first contracts with the Tyrolean painters and frescoes Johann Jakob Zeiller and Franz Anton Zeiller were probably concluded for the vaulted fields. Later, both of them frescoed the vaulted areas, sometimes together. A year later, interior work began with the frescoing of the vaults and the production of the first stucco sculptures. In 1758 a second contract was signed with JM Feuchtmayer about stucco work. A year later, the stone sculptures on the facade were finished. The gilding there came from Johann Jakob Kleindorffer from Mindelheim .
The two towers were completed in 1760. The tower crosses were gilded by Martin Knoblauch from Söflingen near Ulm . In the same year the frescoes in the main vaults were completed. The high altar was taken in 1761, with it began to equip the church with the mobile interior, which was not completed until 1777. The two choir organs were completed in 1766. An eight-day celebration was held for the inauguration of the house of God, which began on September 28, 1766. With this inauguration, the monastery celebrated its 1000th anniversary, which had been postponed for two years because the church was not yet completed. In 1767 the builder Abbot Anselm Erb died. Small changes to the furniture were made several times, but the majority of the preserved objects come from the time of construction. In 2004, a large-scale renovation of the roof structure began, which should be completed in 2010.
Building description and equipment
The exterior of the church is structured by the two 82 meter high onion domes that flank the entrance portal in the north. Hidden behind the towers is the approximately 30-meter-long north nave with its side chapels. This is followed by the transept, which is around 27 meters wide and protrudes around 27 m outwards, before the outer width is narrowed back to the width of the nave and ends after around 41 meters into the other monastery buildings.
The entrance portal is crescent-shaped and three-part in width and height. In the middle of the lower part is the large main portal, to the left and right of it a smaller entrance door. In the middle part, three large windows structure the north side. Above the main portal is the House of God and Heaven's Porten , above is one of the three windows. A statue of the Archangel Michael can be seen above the window. In addition, in the upper part of the height structure, Saint Benedict is enthroned in a brick niche at the gable of the main portal. It is flanked by two figures at the end of the sloping roof depicting the martyrs Alexander and Theodor. A round shape is chosen as the roof ridge, on which a gold-plated triangle with an eye is attached in the middle. The word Holy can be read above the smaller side portals .
The interior is furnished in late baroque style. It is divided into an entrance hall, main nave with east and west aisles, west and east transepts, and the choir.
Three entrances lead into the entrance hall of the church. The ceiling of the entrance hall is the underground of the gallery for the Marien organ , it is divided into three vaults, each of which is painted with a fresco. The middle is the largest of the three. It shows the expulsion of money changers and traders from the temple and is trapezoidal in shape. The center of the fresco is in the center of the cross vault, the edge is decorated with a gold frame and stucco. The western ceiling fresco is pear-shaped and shows the sacrifice of the poor widow , the eastern one is shaped in the same way and shows the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector . Both side frescoes are set in gold and decorated with stucco. A classical entrance grille forged in 1792 separates the main room from the entrance hall. Forged and gilded pots with floral decorations are attached to the pillars. Two coats of arms can be seen on the gallery support columns. The left is the coat of arms of Pope Pius XI. , the right that of Pope Benedict XVI. The gallery for the St. Mary's organ is located above the entrance hall.
The central nave is 89 meters long and 36 meters high and has 10 marble columns on each side, which separate the main nave from the aisles. In the crossing there is an altar dedicated to a saint at each of the four corners. The ceiling is structured over three large domes.
- Northern part
You enter the northern part of the main nave through the entrance hall. The gallery above is supported by two marble columns, which are lengthened by atlases that support the gallery. On the left and right of the tower wall there is a small balcony and a part of the brochure for the St. Mary's organ. A large anniversary fresco commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the abbey is located above the gallery. The lay chairs begin almost directly at the beginning of the main nave. On the left and right on the pillars of the side aisles, signs refer to the quiet in the church . The crypt slab of some Abbots from Ottobeuren is embedded in the floor of the central aisle.
- Middle part
The central part of the main nave is dominated by the large ceiling fresco. This shows the glory of St. Benedict and his order . At the four corners of the ceiling fresco, small corner frescos extend to the pillars. Stucco figures are attached below. The northeast corner fresco shows Benedict with donors .
- Southern part
The southern part of the nave is characterized by the crossing with the four saints altars.
It is broken through by the eastern transept. The northern part is one-story, after the crossing it is two-story.
- Northern part
The northern part of the east nave is used for two side altars.
- Southern part
The southern part of the east ship is closed to the public. It is divided into two parts, the ground floor is used as a sacristy. The Holy Spirit organ is located on the first floor .
Like the east aisle, the west aisle is broken through by the transept.
- Northern part
The northern section is used for two side altars.
- Southern part
The southern section is two-story and divided into two by a vaulted ceiling. In the lower part there is a public passage from the church to the monastery building. The Holy Trinity organ occupies the first floor .
The eastern transept is 58 meters long and 18 meters wide. The altar on the eastern front is dedicated to the holy church patrons Alexander and Theodor as well as Saint Sebastian . In the central niche below the altarpiece, the pilgrimage picture “Our Lady of Eldern” was placed, the small statue of a seated Madonna and Child; this was once venerated in the Eldern monastery, which was closed in 1803, and found its place in the monastery church in 1841 after the reconstruction of the Ottobeuren monastery. It is still the destination of a pilgrimage today . According to the miraculous image , the eastern transept is also known as the Eldern Chapel and the altar as the Eldern Altar.
The western transept is 58 meters long and 18 meters wide. The altar on the western front is the St. Mary's altar of the basilica.
The choir space is determined by the towering high altar. The choir stalls, the abbot's chair and the brochures for the choir organs are grouped on the sides.
The monastery church has a total of three organs . The two smaller ones, the Heilig-Geist-Organ and the Dreifaltigkeits-Organ, date from 1766 and are almost completely original. The organ and the room of the Weingarten basilica were used as an orientation for the size of a main organ and the room to be filled with sound. One of these was only built in Ottobeuren from 1955 to 1957 as the “Marienorgel”.
The Dreifaltigkeit- and Heilig-Geist-Organ were built soon after the completion of the baroque church by the organ builder Karl Joseph Riepp , who came from Ottobeuren and became very successful in France , and completed them in 1766. They were originally intended as choir organs and were therefore located on galleries to the left and right of the chancel.
Riepp's choir organs are strongly influenced by his decades of activity in France and are built through and through according to French building principles. So it is a question of genuinely French-classical organs, built by an organ builder of German origin in Germany.
The smaller Heilig Geist organ has 27 registers on two manuals and pedal , while the Trinity organ has 49 registers on four manuals and pedal. Both are arranged and voiced according to the disposition principles of classical French organ building, so that organ literature of the French baroque can be ideally represented on them. Both organs were restored at the beginning of the 20th century by the Steinmeyer organ building company in a manner that was very unusually pious for the time (Dreifaltigkeitsorgel 1914, Heilig-Geist-Orgel 1922) and have thus been preserved to this day in an exceptionally original condition.
Holy Spirit Organ
- mechanical slider chests
- mechanical slider chests
The construction of a main organ on the gallery of the nave, for which Riepp had already worked out detailed plans, was no longer due to financial difficulties in the monastery. The monastery church received the Marienorgel only after the Second World War through a donation from the Kulturkreis des Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie. It was created on the basis of Riepp's disposition with the assistance of Arthur Piechler and Albert Schweitzer. The organ was built between 1955 and 1957 by A. Steinmeyer with 82 registers and renovated and expanded in 2002 by the Klais organ building company . Among other things, she received a 32 'pedal-lungs part, which is mandatory for an organ and church of this size. The instrument currently has 90 registers on 5 manuals and a pedal. A special feature are the two "separated" balcony organs, each of which is equipped with its own pedal mechanism. One reason for the construction of the balcony organs is that the plan was to be able to accommodate a maximum of around 65 registers on the gallery - even with the version with an electric action.
- Normal coupling: I / II, III / II, IV / II, V / II, III / I, IV / I, V / I, I / III, IV / III, V / III, V / IV, I / P, II / P, III / P, IV / P, V / P
- Trumpeteria: at I, II, III, IV, V, P
- Sub-octave coupling: IV / IV, V / V
- Super octave coupling: IV / IV, V / V, IV / P
The first bells are mentioned in 1439. The large and small Hosanna bells were cast. 1577 two bells were from Biberach Glockengießerei Vohner Joachim I bought. These two still exist today. The Elfuhr bell is now hung in the east tower, the other was sold to the parish of Lamerdingen in 1948 . The next bells were bought in 1784 by the Johann Georg Ernst bell foundry in Memmingen . It could have been the starter bell mentioned in 1864 . The large Hosanna bell was sold by the Free State of Bavaria in 1902 to the church of Wald in the Swiss canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden , where it was melted down in 1902 for a new bell. Until 1864, the Ottobeurer bell consisted of just three bells. In 1864, three bells were bought from the Johann Hermann bell foundry in Memmingen for the 1100th anniversary of the monastery . The two smaller ones were melted down during World War I. In 1929, three new bells were bought from the Lauinger bell foundry Radler to compensate . Until the Second World War who were on the west tower Hoasanna - and Preciosaglocke hung on the east tower hung the small Hosanna , the Elfuhrglocke that Zwölfuhrglocke that Marie Bell and the Benediktusglocke . During the Second World War , all bells except for the Benedictine bell had to be handed in. The Marienglocke , the little Hosanna , the Preciosa and the Hosanna were melted down . The other bells were stored in the bell cemetery in Hamburg . The new bells, which were purchased after the Second World War, cost 12,500 Reichsmarks .
Today's abbey bell with its seven bells, which are hung in both towers, is one of the deepest bell ensembles in Bavaria.
|1||Hosanna bell||1947||Bell foundry Johann Hahn , Landshut||4,995||g 0||West tower|
|2||Preciosa bell||1948||3,032||b 0|
|3||Small Hosanna Bell (also called Divorce Bell )||2,000||c 1||East tower|
|4th||Elfuhr bell||1,422||d 1|
|5||Twelve o'clock bell||1986||Bachert bell foundry , Bad Friedrichshall||1,122||f 1|
|6th||Immaculate bell (also old bell bell )||1577||Joachim Vollmer, Biberach||613||g 1|
|7th||Benedicta bell||1948||Bell foundry Johann Hahn , Landshut||423||a 1|
The following bells hang in the west tower:
- The Hosanna bell is tuned to tone g0, weighs 4995 kilograms and was cast in 1947 by the Johann Hahn bell foundry from Landshut . She has an image showing the Most Holy Trinity . The inscription reads Vivos voco, mortuos plango, fulgura frango nomen meum Hosanna ( Eng . I call the living, I lament the dead, I break the lightning, my name is Hosanna ). The legend Vivos voco, mortuos plango, fulgura frango has often been attached to bells since the 15th century. It achieved a high level of awareness when Friedrich Schiller prefixed it as the motto of his famous poem "The Song of the Bell". Schiller had taken over the saying from a bell in Schaffhausen. Furthermore, a chronogram is engraved, which reads: DIro beLLo absVMpta tertIo nasCor pIe sVaVIterqVe CantatVra sanCtae trInItatI qVae propItIe astItIt ottenbVrae ( Eng .: Taken away by the cruel war, I rise for the third time to the holy trinity the Ottobeuren graciously stood by. ). The chronogram gives the number 1946 in Roman numerals.
- The Preciosa bell is tuned to tone b0, has a weight of 3032 kilograms and was cast in 1948 by the Hahn foundry in Landshut. It shows the portrait of the church patrons St. Theodor and St. Sebastian. The inscription reads Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum eius (Engl .: Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints ). A chronogram is also engraved. This reads MortIs pretIosae obtentV qVa sanCtI PatronI obIerVnt ChrIstVs reX paroChIanos IVgIter Donet CopIosa gratIa (German: In view of the precious death of the holy patron, may Christ the King always give the parish with rich grace. ). The chronogram includes the number 1946.
The following bells hang in the east tower:
- The small Hosanna bell or divorce bell is tuned to the tone C ', has a weight of 2000 kilograms and was cast in 1948 by the Hahn foundry in Landshut. On it is an image of St. Joseph and a pelican. The inscription reads From the fire I flowed; Johann Hahn from Landshut cast me. Furthermore, a chronogram is engraved, which LIbens IVgIter patroCInare pIe sanCte Ioseph eCCLesIae CoenobIo abbatI, VIVIs MorIentIbVs, VInCLo CorporIs soLVtIs (dt .: O gracious Saint Joseph, always protect the dying Church, the monastery and the abbot, the dying who have already been freed from the fetters of the body. ) reads. This chronogram also results in 1946.
- The Elfuhr bell is tuned to the tone d ', has a weight of 1422 kilograms and was cast in 1948 by the Hahn foundry in Landshut. On the bell there is an image of Jesus carrying the cross. The inscription reads Ecce crucem Domini fugite partes adversae vicit leo de tribu Juda radix David ( Eng .: See the cross of the Lord, flee hostile powers, the lion from the tribe of Judah, the root of David. ). This inscription is called the Motto of Saint Anthony , according to the legend that Saint Anthony recommended this exorcistic prayer to a woman against the temptations of the devil . Pope Sixtus V had the prayer carved on the base of the obelisk in St. Peter's Square in Rome.
- The twelve-meter bell is tuned to the tone f, weighs 1122 kilograms and was cast in 1986 by the Bachert bell foundry in Bad Friedrichshall . On it is the image of the Romanesque crucifix of the cross altar of the basilica. The inscription reads Jesus Nazarenus rex Judaeorum titulus triumphalis defendat nos (German: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, this victorious honorific name protect us!) .
- The Immaculate Bell, or the old twelve-twelve bell, is the oldest remaining bell in the basilica. It is tuned to tone g 'and weighs 613 kilograms. It was cast in 1577 by Joachim Vollmer from Biberach . On it is a portrait of a crucifixion group with the kneeling abbot Kaspar Kindelmann and the coat of arms of the monastery. The inscription reads Jesus Nazarenus rex Judaeorum titulus triumphalis defendat nos (German: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, this victorious honorific name protect us!) .
- The Benedicta bell is tuned to tone a ', weighs 423 kilograms and was cast by the Hahn foundry in 1948. The image of St. Benedict can be seen on it. The inscription reads Benedictus Deus in Sanctis suis (Eng .: Praise be to God in his saints) .
Today the church is the main church of the Ottobeuren deanery. Services take place daily. The church is also a concert hall for the Ottobeurer concerts .
- Gabriele Dischinger: Ottobeuren - building and furnishing history of the monastery complex 1672-1802. Commentary - plan drawings - sources and registers (= studies and communications on the history of the Benedictine order and its branches; 47). EOS Verlag, St. Ottilien 2011, ISBN 978-3-8306-7467-2 .
- P. Ulrich Faust OSB: Ottobeuren Abbey - historical overview 764 until today . 2nd Edition. Kunstverlag Josef Fink, Lindenberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-89870-189-1 .
- Josef Edwin Miltschitzky: Ottobeuren: a European organ center. Organ builders, organs, and traditional organ music . Dissertation, University of Amsterdam 2012 ( full text ) - with a detailed description of the organs of the basilica and their history.
- P. Rupert Prusinovsky OSB: Ottobeuren Benedictine Abbey - Basilica of St. Alexander and Theodor . Ed .: Benedictine Abbey Ottobeuren. Ottobeuren 2008.
- Paul Smets : The organ history of the Ottobeuren abbey. Rheingold-Verlag, Mainz 1959.
- Prusinovsky, page 6
- Pius XI .: Litt. Apost. Refert ad Nos , in: AAS 18 (1926), n. 6, p. 214s.
- Floor plan of fresco No. F1
- West fresco No. F2, east fresco No. F3 in plan
- F38 in the church floor plan
- Text booklet on the CD: "Music on the three organs of the Ottobeuren Basilica - Adalbert Meier", page 4. Label: Ambitus, CD - No. 91 612
- to the disposition
- The Ottobeurer bell story. Retrieved March 9, 2009 .
- The ringing of bells in Ottobeuren ( Memento from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
- Audio sample on Youtube. Retrieved March 7, 2009 .