St. Lorenz (Nuremberg)

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Towers of the Lorenzkirche, view from the west

St. Lorenz is a Gothic church in Nuremberg . The Lorenzkirche was the parish church of the medieval settlement core of the former imperial city of Nuremberg, south of the Pegnitz , and in terms of urban planning it forms the counterpart to the older St. Sebald church in the northern part of the city. Construction of the three-aisled basilica began around 1250, the late Gothic hall choir was completed in 1477. The patron saint of the church is St. Lawrence . The building, which was badly damaged in World War II , was rebuilt according to the old model. Since the Reformation , the Lorenzkirche has been one of the two large Protestant city churches in Nuremberg alongside the Sebalduskirche, both of which belong to the Nuremberg deanery of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria . The Lorenzkirche is the seat of the Nuremberg city dean and traditionally the introduction of the newly elected regional bishop takes place in it.

Building history

Iron scale from the 15th century on the west facade. The unit of measurement is six Nuremberg factory shoes (corresponds to 6 × 27.84 cm = 167.04 cm)

A Laurentius Chapel in Nuremberg was first mentioned in the years 1235 and 1258; During an excavation in 1929 it turned out that the previous Romanesque building was a smaller three-aisled pillar basilica . Parts of this building from the early 13th century have been reused in the rising masonry .

The building history of the Lorenz Church has always been influenced by the model and competition from the Sebaldus Church, which was more important in the Middle Ages. Construction experts date the start of construction on the three-aisled basilica to around 1250 (St. Sebald around 1230/40). The dating of the sculpture on the west facade plays a key role, the workshop of which in Nuremberg can also be seen on the tomb of Konrad Groß . The three-aisled basilica was completed around 1390. The exact construction sequence has not yet been clarified.

As early as 1400, the side aisles were expanded (again based on the model of St. Sebald) by moving their outer walls so far outward that the buttresses now inside the church formed small private chapels for the councilors.

The last major construction phase was the erection of the hall choir above the Deocarus altar, after the Sebalduskirche had received a hall choir above the grave of St. Sebald between 1361 and 1379. The St. Lorenz Hall Choir was first started from 1439 to 1477 by Konrad Heinzelmann von Rothenburg and completed by Konrad Roritzer and Matthäus Roritzer (1462–1466) and Jakob Grimm.

Air raids on Nuremberg and the final battle for the city in April 1945 led to severe destruction of the church building , which was rebuilt from 1949. Mainly the roof and the vault were destroyed. The roof structure was completely redesigned, whereby the roof structure over the nave was made of steel due to material shortages. Over 1.5 km of vault struts and new keystones had to be installed.


View around 1700

At least the previous building of the Lorenzkirche, mentioned in the first half of the 13th century, was subordinate to the Bamberg parish in Fürth , while St. Sebald originally belonged to Poppenreuth . During the entire Middle Ages, St. Lorenz never achieved the significance of the sister church, although the climax of this development was reached in 1425 with the public canonization of the local saint Sebald , who had been venerated for two centuries by the curia. St. Laurentius, patron of the Lorenz Church, did not offer the same identification, especially since neither his body nor any part of the body are present here. This explains the growing veneration of Saint Deocarus , confessor of Charlemagne , in the 15th century, whose relics have been kept in the Lorenz Church since 1316. The church fathers had the late Gothic hall choir built in the east of the church over the altar donated in 1436/37, as evidenced by the means of Nuremberg citizens.

Not only for the construction of the hall choir (1439–1477), but also for the entire construction, it is likely that wealthy citizens or the city council will finance it. The same applies to the sometimes very valuable inventory, in some cases a specific benefactor from the patriciate can be identified (as in the case of the sacraments and the English greeting). This may also have been the reason why the art treasures of St. Lorenz were spared from iconoclasms during the Reformation. St. Lorenz was one of the first churches in Germany to become Evangelical Lutheran as a result of the Reformation (1525). The citizens of Nuremberg wanted to honor the memory of their ancestors and therefore left the sculptures they donated to exist.

Well-known personalities can be found in the further history of the church: Among others, Andreas Osiander worked as a preacher in St. Lorenz - his picture hangs in the Lorenz sacristy.

Building design

Aerial view of the Lorenzkirche, view from the north

The west facade is very richly structured for a parish church, which reflects the high standards of the Nuremberg citizens, who essentially financed the building. The façade is dominated by the two towers, the model of which can be found in St. Sebald and thus indirectly in Bamberg Cathedral . In addition, the soaring vestibule portal , the richly structured rose window with a diameter of nine meters and the finely perforated tracery gable determine the Gothic appearance of the church.

The nave has the shape of a three-aisled pillar basilica with eight bays . In the central nave, pointed arch arcades on bundle pillars support the high nave wall, and a pointed arch window per yoke breaks through the upper aisle wall . The service bundles presented bear a ribbed vault , the ribs of which are drawn down to the level of the upper facade window sills. The peculiarity of the much lower aisles is the small family chapels that were created by moving the outer walls to the outer edge of the buttresses .

The late Gothic hall choir , mirror of the architectural fashion of its time, is seamlessly connected to the main nave. It is characterized above all by its playful reticulated vault and the splendid two-story tracery windows in the corridor. A two-story sacristy is inserted on the south side .

Dimensions of the church Central nave Aisle Hall choir
Length: 91.20 m Height: 24.20 m Height: 11.50 m Height: 24.20 m
Width: 30.00 m Width: 10.40 m Width: 5.90 m Width: 28.60 m

The towers are 80.8 m and 81 m high.


Inside view

Works of art

Nuremberg, St. Lorenz, north side, corner of nave and transept: vestibule with Mount of Olives
Sacrament house by Adam Kraft
Angel greeting (1517/1518) by Veit Stoss

Not all movable pieces of the rich furnishings originally come from St. Lorenz. Many of the cultural assets came from secularized or destroyed monasteries in Nuremberg and the surrounding area.

Of particular note are two masterpieces of late Gothic sculpture belonging to the original decoration of the church:
The first is that of Adam Kraft created 1493-1496 tabernacle (donated by Hans Imhoff the Elder..), A nearly 20-meter-high sandstone - Tabernacle .

The second work of late Gothic art is the English greeting hung in the choir (also: Angel's greeting in the rosary ), which the patrician Anton Tucher had commissioned from the carver Veit Stoss in 1517/1518 . It shows the oversized, colored and largely gilded lime wood figures of Maria and Gabriel at the Annunciation, surrounded by a wreath of 55 golden roses (372 × 320 cm). The blessing God the Father is enthroned above the scene, angels making music buzz around the heads of the protagonists , at the lower end there is a snake with a bitten apple in its mouth. Seven medallions show the seven joys of Mary. Almost completely destroyed by a crash on April 2, 1817, the English greeting had to be extensively restored. Included are the twelve candlestick angels above the choir stalls and the central Mary chandelier.


As one of the few dated altar works, the Deocarus Altar from 1436/1437 is of great importance for the history of Nuremberg painting and carving. From 1316 to the 19th century, the Lorenzkirche housed relics of Saint Deocarus, the legendary founder and first abbot of the city of Herrieden, in the Deocarus altar . On the right wing of the Predella it is shown how Ludwig the Bavarian hands over the relics of the saint to the city of Nuremberg.

In the right nave is the Rochus Altar , a foundation of the Nuremberg Imhoff family . When the construction of the altar began cannot be clearly established, probably around 1485, when the plague raged in Nuremberg and any solution was welcome. The Imhoff family knew their way around Venice very well: Peter Imhoff the Elder managed the benefices for the altar of St. Sebald in the church of San Bartolomeo by the Rialto Bridge, which was the altar of German merchants, and is responsible for that In 1499 he was appointed consul of the Germans in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi . Franz Imhoff was a member of the Brotherhood of Saint Roch in Venice and was very familiar with the customs there and the success of this cult of saints. So it made sense for the Imhoffs to make Rochus known at home in Nuremberg. In 1484, the year of the plague, the parish celebrated the feast of Saint Roch in the Lorenz Church in Nuremberg on August 16; a little later the Imhoffs probably began building the altar. The Rochus altar contains not only the image of Rochus, but also of Sebastian, the other plague saint, and is one of the most striking signs of the early spread of the Rochus cult from Venice north of the Alps, even before 1500. In the lower area are the coats of arms of the Imhoffs as well as that of the Holzschuher, another Nuremberg family.

Numerous altars with carvings and paintings, sculptures made of wood and stone, glass paintings, some wall paintings, bells, epitaphs , death shields and a choir stalls from the end of the 15th century complete the equipment. There are also numerous sculptures attached to the exterior, some of which have since had to be replaced by copies.


Laurentia (prayer bell)
Day measuring and fire bell

The ringing of the Lorenz Church consists of a total of 16 bells , making it the second most bell-rich ring of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Ten bells form the main ring, six the cymbal ring; The new silver bell hangs in the silver tower on the west facade . All bells hang in wooden bell chairs on wooden yokes. During the last renovations in the 20th century, the larger bells were given upper weights on the yokes and clapper with counterweights.

Main bell

Surname Casting year Caster Diameter
( HT - 1 / 16 )
Christ bell 1953 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling 1,815 4,407 h 0 −4 North tower
Laurentia (prayer bell) 1409 Hainrich Grunwalt 1,608 ≈2,600 e 1 −1 South tower
Day measuring and fire bell 1552 Hans ( III) bell founder 1,490 2.006 d 1 −1 North tower
Memorial bell 1953 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling 1,180 1,153 f sharp 1 ± 0 South tower
Final bell around 1400 anonymous (Hermann Kessler) 1,040 ≈700 g sharp 1 +2 South tower
Paulus Bell (Our Father Bell) 1953 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling 988 668 a 1 −1 South tower
Luther bell 885 480 h 1 +1 South tower octagon
Osiander bell 802 377 d 2 ± 0 South tower octagon
Lazarus-Spengler bell 705 253 e 2 −1 South tower octagon
Youth thanksgiving bell 630 185 f sharp 2 −1 South tower octagon

Silver bell in the silver turret

Surname Casting year Caster Diameter
(HT- 1 / 16 )
Silver bell 1960 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling 389 39 d 3 +6

Cymbals in the north tower octagon

Surname Casting year Caster Diameter
(HT- 1 / 16 )
Laudation 1954 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling 505 90 a 2 +4
Magnificat 454 64 h 2 +5
Benedictus 410 39 c sharp 3 +5
Nunc Dimittis 355 35 e 3 +5
Adorate 325 28 f sharp 3 +4

Bells in the main nave

Surname Casting year Caster Diameter
(HT- 1 / 16 )
Old silver bell 2nd half of the 14th century anonymous (Hermann Kessler) 375 ≈30 d 3 +6 hangs in the east choir
Feyer's bell 1st half of the 14th century 1,504 2,637 e 1 +0.5 parked at the west portal

Ringing order

The bells are made to ring according to a ringing order. To prayer rings every morning at 8 and in the evening at 21 o'clock the Tagmessglocke , at 12 am the Laurentia , depending on Sunset 16-20 pm Garausglocke to Garausläuten and every Friday at 15 o'clock the Christ bell for Jesus' crucifixion. The Paul Bell is rung during the Lord's Prayer . Every Saturday at 2 p.m., the ringing of the end of the day sounds as a Sunday ring with the bells Tagmess, Totengedenk, Paulus, Luther and Osiander . The number and composition of the bells vary depending on the type of service, the degree of celebration and the church season :

  • Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost, confirmation: main bell + silver bell + cymbal bell
  • Maundy Thursday: Christ, daily mass and commemoration of the dead
  • Good Friday: Christ, Tagmess, Laurentia and commemoration of the dead
  • Sundays during Easter: main bells without daily mass and finishing off
  • Sundays in Advent, Christmas and Lent: Christ, Laurentia, Commemoration of the Dead, Finishing, Luther and Lazarus Spengler
  • Sundays during Epiphany and Trinity: Tagmess, Laurentia, commemoration of the dead, Paul, Luther and Osiander
  • Baptismal service: memorial to the dead, Paul, Luther, Osiander and Lazarus Spengler
  • Weekly service, wedding ceremony: memorial of the dead, Paul, Luther and Osiander
  • Morning prayer: Paul, Luther and Osiander


The Lorenzkirche has three organs with a total of over 12,000 pipes: the main organ (on the main gallery under the rose window), the Laurentius organ ( swallow's nest organ in the nave) and the Stephanus organ (choir organ in the upper hall choir passage). With 162 sounding registers , the Lorenzkirche Nuremberg houses the second largest organ in Germany (in Passau is the largest organ in Germany ) and the largest organ of a Protestant church in Germany. The organ system of the Lorenzkirche is thus one of the largest organs in the world. All three organs can be played via two electronic central console tables in the nave and on the west gallery. The Laurentius organ and the Stephanus organ have separate, mechanical console tables.


Lorenz Cantor Matthias Ank

St. Lorenz is an active Evangelical Lutheran parish. It is the seat of the Vice Dean's Office in Nuremberg-Mitte; Dean Jürgen Körnlein has been working there since September 17, 2006. In addition to the Lorenz Church, this community also has a chapel in the Heilig-Geist-Saal. Until 1994 the Heilig-Geist-Saal also belonged to the parish, but was sold to the city of Nuremberg for cost reasons. In addition, the parish in the city center runs a kindergarten, a youth club and several parish choirs ( Bach choir , schola, vocal ensemble). The church is often used for church music concerts. This also includes the brass ensemble Lorenz Brass . The line has church music director Matthias Ank , by its commitment to new music has been known.

The Lorenz Church is the episcopal church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria . The Bavarian regional bishop is introduced into his office here. The sermon church of the regional bishop, however, is St. Matthew in Munich, which is why it is also referred to as the episcopal church in common parlance. In 1903 the Association for the Preservation of St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg eV was founded, whose members and donors take care of the preservation and restoration of the existing furnishings. Up to 400,000 euros are required annually for this  , of which the state pays around a third, the larger amount must be raised by the parish. For members and donors, the association organizes the Lorenz summer evenings once a year with guided tours or visits to the restorers.

Bible Museum

A Bible museum is to be set up in the newly built Lorenz rectory by early summer 2020. It is planned to offer five different perspectives on the Bible in a permanent exhibition. In doing so, the book is to be discovered, the social classification investigated, the meaning presented, the origins explained and answers to questions in life given. A special station is to offer an archaeological collection that was discovered during the reconstruction of the rectory and provide insights into the medieval parish life of the church.

Jewish gravestones

Already in pogroms in the Middle Ages were Jewish cemeteries vandalized . The Jewish gravestones from the Jewish cemetery in Nuremberg that had been destroyed in 1367, which had been converted into steps in the Lorenz Church, were found as early as 1970. For two years Jo-Achim Hamburger, chairman of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Nürnberg, had negotiated with the Protestant deanery about their return and, above all, the associated financial expense. In the end, the participating municipalities shared the costs, the city of Nuremberg contributed the rest. Today the stones hang in the funeral hall at the New Jewish Cemetery.

Subway station

Lorenzkirche underground station

On January 28, 1978, the underground station Lorenzkirche of the Nuremberg underground was opened; the walls show replicas of the rosette from the west facade. The foundation of the south tower is located in the immediate vicinity of the underground tunnel; it had to be secured by an elaborate construction made of underground concrete posts.

Historical illustrations


  • Gerhard Weilandt: The Wolfgang altar of the Nuremberg Lorenzkirche - image program, liturgical use and a new date , in: Hundert Jahre Verein zur Preservation of St. Lorenzkirche 1903-2003. Anthology of the presentations of the colloquium on the occasion of the association's anniversary, ed. v. Christian Schmidt and Georg Stolz (series of publications by the Association for the Preservation of St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg eV 2), Nuremberg 2004, pp. 71–79.
  • Georg Stolz: The St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg, Munich / Berlin (15) 2006 (DKV-Kunstführer 316), ISBN 978-3-422-02161-7 .
  • Corine Schleif: Donatio et memoria. Donors, foundations and motivations using examples from the Lorenz Church in Nuremberg . Munich, Berlin 1990.
  • Hermann Harrasowitz: History of church music at St. Lorenz . In: Communications from the Association for the History of the City of Nuremberg . tape 60 , 1973, ISSN  0083-5579 , pp. 1-152 ( online ).
  • Christian Schmidt and Georg Stolz: Soli deo Gloria - The organs of the Lorenz Church . In: Association for the preservation of the St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg (ed.): Series of publications of the association for the preservation of the St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg eV Volume III . Mabase, Nuremberg 2005, ISBN 3-9809649-7-3 .
  • Julius Lincke: The choir stalls of the St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg and the masters of its restoration . In: Altstadtfreunde Nürnberg e. V. (Ed.): Nuremberg Old Town Reports . No. 11 , 1986.
  • Georg Stolz: Lorenz Church . In: Michael Diefenbacher , Rudolf Endres (Hrsg.): Stadtlexikon Nürnberg . 2nd, improved edition. W. Tümmels Verlag, Nuremberg 2000, ISBN 3-921590-69-8 ( online ).

See also

Web links

Commons : St. Lorenz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Description of the Rochus Altar in: Italian Walks in Nuremberg - Volume I: Nuremberg, Venice of the North , 1st edition 2011, Verlag IT-INERARIO, Unterhaching, ISBN 978-3-9813046-3-3
  2. ^ Association for the Preservation of St. Lorenz Church in Nuremberg eV (leaflet); As of 2009
  3. Bibel-Museum-Bayern at, accessed on November 23, 2018
  4. ^ Nuremberg - The old Jewish cemeteries up to the 19th century , Alemannia Judaica. Retrieved December 17, 2019

Coordinates: 49 ° 27 ′ 3.6 ″  N , 11 ° 4 ′ 41 ″  E