St. Johannis (Göttingen)

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St. Johannis
St. Johannis

St. Johannis

place Goettingen
Architectural style Gothic
Construction year 1300-1348
height 62 m

The St. Johannis Church in Göttingen's old town is a three-aisled Gothic hall church from the 14th century . With its towers that can be seen from afar, it is one of the city's landmarks. Their patron is John the Baptist .


Interior view to the east
Altar area

A Romanesque basilica once stood on the site of the church , the foundations of which were partially exposed in 1927. It is first mentioned in a document in 1272. The north portal, a round arch portal with a Cistercian jagged arch, is the only one to have survived from it. It was integrated into the new Gothic building. It is assumed that the lower part of today's west portal also dates from the Romanesque period.

The oldest part of today's church is the base of the tower made of limestone .

Around 1300 the Gothic choir began with a five-eighth closing, which was originally higher than it is today. As a result, the nave and the two towers were also built. The model for the interior, which was designed as a relay hall with eight octagonal pillars, was probably the nearby Paulinerkirche .

The beams of the roof structure date back to 1348 , so it can be assumed that the nave was completed at that time. An old church bell also came from the same year, but was cast in 1828. Therefore, at this point in time, the construction of the octagonal towers on the monumental west building had to have progressed to the bell chamber, which is located between the towers.

The towers were not completed until the second half of the 14th century. They were used by the city for a long time. The 62 meter high north tower served as a dwelling for the tower keeper , while the 56.5 meter high south tower housed the city clock with a chiming bell. The towers have only been administered by the parish since the end of the 20th century. A bridge is said to have once been between the towers, but it was destroyed in a storm.

The church cemetery was originally located right around the church. After the Bartholomäus cemetery was established north outside the old town in 1747, it was abandoned.

In 1529 St. Johannis became Evangelical-Lutheran .

After 1544, all medieval furnishings were removed.

In 1636 a winged altar by the Mündener painter Ludolph Büsinck came into the church, of which the central panel was preserved. It shows a Calvary scene.

From 1791 the church was completely redesigned in line with early classicism . All windows were stripped of their tracery , the choir was walled up towards the nave and reduced to its current height. From then on it served as a sacristy . The original two-storey sacristy on the north side of the choir was removed. A high pulpit altar was erected in front of the partition wall of the choir . Two galleries were also drawn in. The benches were rearranged, rising towards the west, because the aim was that all worshipers could see the preacher.

In 1895 Conrad Wilhelm Hase was commissioned to restore the church in the neo-Gothic style and thus restore the original spatial impression. All classicism modifications were removed. The windows received new tracery. From now on there was only one gallery, the parapet of which was behind the pillars, so that they could come into their own again. The benches were arranged at ground level again. Furthermore, a pulpit with the portraits of the four evangelists and a high sound cover was attached to the southwestern choir pillar. The choir was also reintegrated into the church interior and newly vaulted. Since it was to continue to serve as a sacristy, the two columns at the east end were added. Behind them, a wooden wall decorated with tracery separated the sacristy from the choir. These fixtures were so high that the apse windows were not covered. The new altar found its place between the pillars. The essay was adorned with a crucifix that is still preserved today and four reliefs of protagonists from the Old Testament . In addition, the room was richly painted.

During a renovation in the 1930s, the wooden sacristy wall was replaced by a curtain and the church interior was given a simpler painting.

During an air raid on Göttingen on November 24, 1944, the church was damaged by the pressure wave from an air mine struck in the Paulinerkirche. Among other things, the entire roof was covered.

During a further renovation in the 1960s, the remains of the high-quality neo-Gothic furnishings were removed and replaced with a modern one. The new gallery was based on the height of its predecessor.

In 2014 the renovation and redesign of the church interior began. The church interior should appear brighter and friendlier and the parquet floor should be replaced by sandstone slabs. The benches in the main nave should give way to seating. In the course of this renovation, the church received a window by the glass artist Günter Grohs in 2017 , which is located above the Romanesque north portal. The other windows of the nave are also to be redesigned by Grohs. In addition, the parish would also like to open its church for profane events such as theater performances, annual receptions and buffets. Therefore, the new items of equipment should be designed as mobile as possible so that they can be put away for such events. In February 2018, the new pieces of equipment designed by the Leipzig artist duo Zink & Gensichen - altar with baptismal opportunity, pulpit and ambo - were inaugurated. In addition, there is to be an installation made of metal pipes, which should point to the central choir window, which shows a historicist crucifixion group. An originally planned glass cube, with which the south portal was to be built over, was deleted from the planning in the course of the renovation for financial reasons and because of objections from the preservation of monuments.

A special feature of the church are the many pastor portraits, which show all pastors serving in St. Johannis from 1736 to 1977, including Theodor Berckelmann . In recent times this tradition has been abandoned.

Church music plays an important role at the Johanniskirche, thanks to the Stadtkantorei, which has existed since 1930, and the Ott organ from 1954/60. In addition, every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until the clock strikes 11:15 a.m., a volunteer church musician plays chorales and other hymns on a flugelhorn.

Tower house

The former tower house in the north tower of the church was a national attraction until 2001. In addition to the Bismarckhäuschen , Karzer , old student pubs, it was one of the sights of the university city of Göttingen. It was the highest student apartment in Germany. In the northern, higher tower, the city guards ( Türmer ) lived in a small apartment 238 steps high for over 500 years . These had visual contact from the tower with some of the 20 outside control rooms in the area and were thus able to warn the city population of approaching enemies in good time. The horn call also sounded if they had seen a fire somewhere in the city (watchman's telescope and trumpet can now be seen in the city museum). When the last tower keeper, Franz Kerl, died in 1921, members of the German Academic Guild became the first student residents of the old tower house. Up to the renovation work in 2001, up to five students lived there, interrupted from 1937 to 1946. One of them was the writer and later fairytale researcher Walter Scherf , who lived in the tower keeper's apartment after the war. The apartment was rent free on condition that visitors to the tower were received for two hours every Saturday. When it became clear that the renovation of the tower required almost complete replacement of the supporting beams of the tower house, the residents had to move out. Renewed letting after the end of the renovation was no longer possible due to the lack of escape routes , which were prescribed by the building regulations. According to the last residents, numerous carvings by the last tower keeper, Franz Kerl, came to light during the renovation work, which he had carved into the oak beams in hidden places during the renovation of the tower in 1906.

Fire 2005

Burning north tower of St. John's Church (approx. 20 minutes after the fire was reported)

The historic helmet of the north tower was destroyed by fire on January 23, 2005 , causing damage of several million euros. The nave was also damaged by extinguishing water . At first the spire threatened to collapse; The 500 kilogram copper ball , also known as the document capsule , attached to the top of the tower therefore had to be removed. With special cranes the dangerous parts and the charred beams were lifted on the day of the fire until late in the evening and dismantled on the ground.

Just one day after the fire, the police arrested two alleged arsonists , young people aged 19 and 15, who made a confession. However, a motive could not be determined. The young people had entered the tower via scaffolding: the church had been extensively renovated for a long time, and the renovation work was about to be completed when the fire broke out.

The reconstruction work was completed in February 2006. The former tower house has been used as a chapel ever since.


Ott organ (1960)

The main organ of St. Johanniskirche was built between 1954 and 1960 by Paul Ott (Göttingen). It was renovated and expanded by Rudolf Janke between 1999 and 2000 . The instrument, comprising four manuals and pedals , has fully mechanical playing and register actions and no playing aids .

I Rückpositiv C – f 3
1. Dumped 8th'
2. Quintadena 8th'
3. Principal 4 ′
4th Gemshorn 4 ′
5. Octave 2 ′
6th Sesquialtera II 2 23
7th Nasat 1 13
8th. Sharp IV – VI
9. Dulcian 16 ′
10. Krummhorn 8th'
II Hauptwerk C – f 3
11. Quintad 16 ′
12. Principal 8th'
13. Hollow flute 8th'
14th Octave 4 ′
15th Gemshorn 4 ′
16. Fifth 2 23
17th Sesquialtera III J
18th Octave 2 ′
19th Gemshorn 2 ′
20th Mixture VI – VIII
21st Third cymbal III
22nd Trumpet 16 ′
23. Trumpet 8th'
III Oberwerk C – f 3
24. Wooden flute 8th'
25th Salicional 8th' J
26th Principal 4 ′
27. Reed flute 4 ′
28. Nasat 2 23
29 Capstan flute 2 ′
30th Octave 1'
31. Terzian II
32. Sharp III – IV
33. Vox humana 8th'
34. Trumpet 4 ′
IV substation C – f 3
35. Drone 16 ′ J
36. Wooden principal 8th' J
37. Made music. 8th'
38. Viol 8th' J
39. Unda maris 8th' J
40. Octave 4 ′ J
41. recorder 4 ′
42. Fifth 2 23
43. Octave 2 ′
44. third 1 35
45. Zimbel III
46. oboe 8th' J
47. Hopper shelf 8th'
Pedal C – f 1
48. Pedestal 32 ′ J
49. Principal 16 ′
50. Sub bass 16 ′
51. Octave 8th'
52. Dumped 8th'
53. Octave 4 ′
54. Night horn 2 ′
55. Rauschpfeife II
56. Mixture VI – VIII
57. Cymbal Bass III
58. trombone 16 ′
59. Trumpet 8th'
60. Trumpet 4 ′
61. zinc 2 ′
  • Coupling : I / II, III / II, IV / II, IV / III, I / P, II / P
J = subsequent register by Janke (2000)


Bell jar Casting year Caster
(16th note)
Note /
special use
1 1828 Andreas Lange, Hildesheim about 180 approx. 3500 b 0 Largest church bell in Göttingen, * /
2 1616 Thomas Simon, Francoy Breutel 143 circa 1600 d 1 * / Baptism
3 1958 Rincker , Sinn 118 981 f 1

* Delivered to the bell cemetery in Hamburg in 1942 , returned in 1947.


Web links

Commons : St. Johannis Church (Göttingen)  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus Wettig: Searching for traces and finds: Göttinger histories , Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 2007, pages 83-85
  2. Fire damage: Göttingen Johannis church tower threatens to collapse. In: Spiegel Online . January 23, 2005, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  3. More details on the great Ott organ , as seen on November 20, 2016.
  4. Michael Schäfer: "Flowed through the Fewer by God's grace" . In: Göttinger Tageblatt . Göttingen August 3, 2010.

Coordinates: 51 ° 31 '59 "  N , 9 ° 56' 1.7"  E