St. Pantaleon (Cologne)

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Cologne, St. Pantaleon (2006)

St. Pantaleon is an early Romanesque church building in Cologne in the area of ​​the southern old town . It is one of the twelve large Romanesque basilicas in Cologne's old town, the preservation of which is supported by the Association of Roman Churches in Cologne . The church is dedicated to St. Pantaleon (Latin form of name) as well as Cosmas and Damian . The original Greek name of the late ancient martyr St. Pantaleon is Panteleímon (Παντελεήμων) and means all merciful. The church served monks from the Benedictine abbey of the same name until the monastery was secularized at the end of the 18th century as an abbey church.


Roman times

A Roman timber construction phase in the 1st century was followed by the use of the hill on which the current church stands by an estate outside the city walls ( villa suburbana ) . Remains of the Roman buildings, which, like all subsequent buildings, deviate by 31 ° from the exact east direction , have been found under the choir and outside of St. Pantaleon. This Roman villa in the south-west of Cologne existed between the 2nd and 4th centuries. After that, the use of the site is initially canceled. Fritz Fremersdorf and most recently Sven Schütte accepted that the villa would be used as part of the Christian cult. Archaeological or historical evidence for such an assumption is completely lacking.

middle Ages

Abbey around 1625
Gothic rood screen in the Church of St. Pantaleon
Bruno's sarcophagus in the crypt
Pieta from the Middle Ages

In the next phase of use of the site, graves from the 6th / 7th centuries are to be found. Century. Even in the late Merovingian period , some richly furnished graves were placed in trapezoidal limestone sarcophagi at this point, underlining the importance of the architecture that already existed here at that time. The church was first mentioned in writing as early as 866 in the so-called Gunthar property description. Archbishop Brun (Bruno) of Cologne, the brother of Emperor Otto the Great , founded a Benedictine monastery here in 955 and made the construction of St. Pantaleon possible through a foundation in 957. During the following construction work, the bones of Saint Maurinus of Cologne were found. In the archaeological evidence, these are two Carolingian and Ottonian building phases, the richness of which is partly known. Annex buildings and a crypt system were built. Fragments of monumental sculptures have survived from the 10th century. According to D. Hochkirchen, remains of an angel and a dragon are said to be Carolingian. Foundation walls of a central building excavated west of the church with eight alternating sides may belong to a memoria or a baptistery . The hypothesis that it was Archbishop Bruno's mausoleum is invalid because of the finds that point the building to the 9th century.

Probably under the Empress Theophanu or a little later, the westwork was rebuilt and later in 980 with the monumental sculpture cycle on the west facade. Under a Majestas Domini flanked by three angels stood monumental saints of the titular saints Cosmas and Damian and Pantaleons, as well as other saints underneath (Albanus / Quirinus and Maurinus - attribution uncertain). Today's west building is a construction from the late 10th or early 11th century with a vestibule reconstructed in the 19th century based on the older structure.

St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia , today's İzmit . St. Pantaleon in Cologne is the oldest Pantaleon church west of Byzantium. The first relics were either transferred via Aachen in the Carolingian period or earlier. This relationship to the Eastern Roman Empire is also expressed in another fact: Empress Theophanu , the wife of Emperor Otto II , is buried in the church as she wishes. Theophanu was the niece of the Eastern Roman emperor Johannes I. Tzimiskes . Theophanu brought more relics of St. Pantaleon to Cologne. With her marriage to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, after centuries of dispute, a peaceful coexistence between the two medieval Roman empires was established. Otto I's brother, the founder of the monastery, Bruno , Archbishop of Cologne, is also buried in the church's crypt , as he wished .

Otto I made many donations to the monastery he founded. In addition to stately splendor, Theophanu also brought the cult of St. Nicholas from Constantinople . She had the dominant westwork rebuilt. Around 1160, the single-aisled Carolingian and Ottonian hall church was then expanded to a three-aisled basilica under Abbot Wolbero . One of the oldest tympanum reliefs in Germany dates from around this time . Originally, the relief depicting a Deësis group was above the portal of the north transept and is now kept in the Schnütgen Museum in Cologne. In the course of the high medieval city expansion and walling of Cologne, St. Pantaleon was then included in the city area.

In the time of Annos II , the abbey was forcibly redesigned in line with the Siegburg reform . This led to violent unrest in Cologne.

During the late Middle Ages, other monasteries in and around Cologne received considerably more foundations.

There is a pieta from the Middle Ages that was acquired from the art trade in 1965 and whose Jesus head was probably carved over, as well as a Madonna with child and crown, both works of art from the 15th century and made of wood.

The Maurinusschrein and the Albinusschrein date from the 2nd half of the 12th century and show the influence of Nicholas of Verdun.

The choir stalls (14th century) and a crucifix from the 15th century also date from this period.

View from the water tower
Indoor shot

Modern times

At the beginning of the 16th century the late Gothic rood screen was built, which today bears the organ. From around 1520 there is a representation of the Calvary in the style of the Cologne School of Painting. At the foot of the painting, the artist depicted himself with a brush and a color palette. It is a Franciscan . Among other things, St. Francis of Assisi is shown holding the holy chalice to catch the blood of Christ. The work was acquired in the 19th century. From 1618 the church was baroque in several phases. The organ front from 1652 and the choir furnishings and pulpit from 1747 are still preserved today. At the same time there was a rich painting of the net vault and the choir, which showed scenes from the life of Mary, St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. This was not restored after the destruction of the Second World War. There may still be fragments of this painting under the white paint in the choir. Dilapidation led to the collapse of one of the two side towers in 1757 and then to the renewal of the central tower and the two side towers in a reduced size with baroque tower ends.

The French occupation of Cologne in 1794 brought about the dissolution of the monastery. The church was first used as a stable, and then after 1815 as a Protestant garrison church during the Prussian period . An optical telegraph was installed on the central tower to enable messages to be sent quickly to and from Berlin .

Contemporary representation of the St. Pantaleon station, Cologne
Calvary representation detail with artist

After this facility was no longer needed due to the development of electrical telegraphy, the westwork was restored in Romanesque style in 1890–92. The restoration was financed by the Prussian War Ministry, as St. Pantaleon, as a garrison church, was owned by the army. The artist Alexander Linnemann and his son Otto Linnemann from Frankfurt created glass windows for the church . Two of the old church windows were restored by the Cologne-Lindenthal glass painting company Schneider and Schmolz .

After the demilitarization of the Rhineland, the Protestant community exchanged St. Pantaleon in 1922 for the Carthusian Church with its monastery buildings a few hundred meters away with the Prussian state. St. Pantaleon then became a Catholic parish church.

During the Second World War, the roof, parts of the outer walls and much of the interior were destroyed. More valuable parts, such as the shrines, the high altar and the rood screen, were previously protected or relocated. The reconstruction attempted largely to restore the Romanesque architecture. At the same time, excavations took place between 1955 and 1962. The vaulted ceiling was replaced by a flat ceiling. Their 94 cassettes were designed by the Cologne glass painter Dieter Hartmann. A new organ from the Klais company has been located in the baroque organ case since 1963 . The wall behind the rood screen was designed by the Cologne painter Clemens Fischer in light fresco secco painting .

In the left side apse, a chapel designed by Prof. Elmar Hillebrand and Clemens Hillebrand was set up for St. Josemaría , founder of Opus Dei , which was inaugurated on August 10, 2006 by the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Meisner .

In the wreath of Cologne's twelve large Romanesque churches, St. Pantaleon is not only the oldest, but also the one with the richest interiors from pre-war times.

The parish is headed by priests from the Opus Dei personal prelature .

Memory of Theophanu

Theophanu sarcophagus in St. Pantaleon

Empress Theophanu died at a young age on June 15, 991 at a Reichstag in Nijmegen . She was probably hardly older than 31 years; her date of birth has not been recorded. A birth around 960 is more likely than the - still often quoted - date around 955. She was buried in St. Pantaleon according to her wishes. A commemorative mass in honor of Theophanus was celebrated on June 15 each year for eight centuries until Napoleon abolished the abbey in 1803. The parish resumed the tradition in 1991 on the thousandth anniversary of death with a European celebration. Theophanu is buried in a sarcophagus made of white Greek marble , which the sculptor Sepp Hürten created in 1965 and which is now in the westwork of the church.


Klais organ in St. Pantaleon

The organ on the rood screen was built in 1963 by Johannes Klais (Bonn). The seven-axis organ prospect from 1652 in the early Baroque style goes back to an unspecified master Balthasar and is the oldest preserved prospect in Cologne. The round central tower, which is decorated with a crown on the case, is flanked by two-story flat fields. Convex fields adjoin the narrow pointed towers on the outside. The blind wings have gilded volutes and angel heads; gilded veil closes the pipe fields at the top.

I Hauptwerk C – g 3
Gedacktpommer 0 16 ′
Principal 08th'
Gemshorn 08th'
Octav 04 ′
Reed flute 04 ′
Fifth 02 23
Super octave 02 ′
Cornett III
Mixture IV-VI
Trumpet 08th'
II Swell C – g 3
Wooden flute 08th'
Quintadena 08th'
Principal 04 ′
Viol flute 04 ′
Forest flute 02 ′
Sif flute 01 13
Scharff III – IV
Dulcian 16 ′
Trumpet 04 ′
III Breastwork C – g 3
Dumped 8th'
Coupling flute 0 4 ′
Principal 2 ′
Night horn 1'
Cymbel II
Vox humana 8th'
Pedal C – f 1
Principal 16 ′
Sub-bass 16 ′
Gedacktpommer 0 16 ′
Octave bass 08th'
Pommer 08th'
Chorale bass 04 ′
Tubular truss 02 ′
Rauschpfeife IV
trombone 16 ′
  • Coupling : II / I, III / I, III / II, I / P, II / P, III / P


The history of what was once the largest and most important ringing of the cathedral bells in Cologne goes back to the end of the 11th century. In the bell storey of the westwork, three large bells were hung, which formed the bell for Sundays and public holidays. The large Christina bell, also known as the Albinus bell, requires special attention, because if the bell is re-cast, not only are the inscriptions of the respective predecessor adopted, but their size (around 4,000 kilograms) and pitch b have also been retained. Their fourth new cast can be dated to the year 1313. It had to be cast again in 1523 by Albertus Haychmann, then in 1764 by Martin Legros in baroque form and finally in 1858 by Joseph Beduwe even as a facsimile of the baroque predecessor. After the bell had been melted down for armament purposes in 1917, the Otto bell foundry from Hemelingen / Bremen cast three new bronze bells (b 0 - c ′ - b ′) for St. Pantaleon in 1926 . On the largest of these (3,950 kilograms with a diameter of 1.75 meters) at least the traditional inscription texts have been repeated. Two of the three bells were melted down during World War II, and the big bell fell from the burning belfry during the war.

The middle bell, dedicated to the Mother of God , can be traced back to the end of the 11th century. In 1303, 1559 and 1892 the bell was cast over. In 1926, together with the large bell, a new casting was made weighing around 2,850 kilograms and measuring 1.55 meters in diameter. Their pitch c ′ was not changed until the end. The small bell, consecrated to St. Quirin , was last cast in 1571 by Theodorus and Henricus Gnaviter. It was destroyed in the Second World War, but individual bell fragments have been preserved. The bell with the approximate pitch d ′ weighed about 1,500 kilograms and was 1.35 meters in diameter. The bell sounded in the same disposition ut – re – mi as the old cathedral bell, but a minor third higher.

A small bell is said to have hung over the eastern eaves of the central tower.

In a baroque ridge turret above the presbytery , a small choir bell was hung, which was intended for the ringing of the daily hours of prayer and during the change or elevation . Two bells were cast by Johann Lehr in Cologne in 1663 with diameters of 82 and 65 centimeters in the tones h ′ and dis ″. They were sold to St. Anna zu Windberg in the 18th century , where they are still to this day.

Bell room (from left: Michael, Bruno, Marien and Pantaleon bell)

Another bell was cast for the third time by Martin Legros in 1768. As a replacement for the choir bells after the First World War, a smaller bell, 480 kilograms and 85 centimeters in diameter, was cast in tone b ′ together with the two large bells in 1926 and hung in the southern flank tower. It was the only bell that remained after the Second World War and was melted down for the four-part bell designed in 1956/57 and cast by the bell foundry Petit & Gebr. Edelbrock . Except for the pitch of the two large bells, this ringing is no longer traditionally related to the old bell:

No. Surname Diameter
(mm, approx.)
(kg, approx.)
Strike tone
(a ′ = 435 Hz)
1 Pantaleon 1,700 3,000 b + 5 / 16 O St. Pantaleon in tribulation, fear and suffering be ready for us as a helper and patron as a good doctor
2 Michael 1,480 2,000 c '+ 6 / 16 Sancte Michael Archangele defende nos in praelio: ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio
3 Bruno 1,420 1,800 the '+ 6 / 16 St. Bruno see the great misery that threatens our fatherland + Divided Germany soon unite let the whole of Europe be a protective wall
4th Maria 1,080 0.750 f '+ 5 / 16 Mary - Every day sing and say praise to the queen of heaven + virgin, mother of Jesus mine, let me be completely your own


List of Abbots

Surname from to
1. Christianus 963/964 1001
2. Heinrich 1052 1066
3. Hermann 1091
4th Wolbero 1147 1167
5. Heinrich 1200
Surname from to
6th Lockpick 1286
7th Johann von Forst 1447 1452
8th. Wilhelm von Bocholtz around 1487
9. Johann von Enstingen 1502 1516
10. Heinrich Spichernagel before 1641
Surname from to
11. Aegidius Romanus 1646 1684
12. Reinhold Bahnen 1717
14th Wilhelm von Jülich


  • Hiltrud Kier : The Romanesque churches in Cologne: Guide to history and furnishings. Second edition. JP Bachem, Cologne 2014, ISBN 978-3-7616-2842-3 , pp. 162-177.
  • Jürgen Kaiser (text), Florian Monheim (photos): The large Romanesque churches in Cologne. Greven Verlag, Cologne 2013, ISBN 978-3-7743-0615-8 , pp. 140–151.
  • Sebastian Ristow: St. Pantaleon in Cologne. Excavations, building and research history of the favorite church of Empress Theophanu. In M. Altripp (Ed.): Byzanz in Europa. Europe's eastern heritage. Files from the colloquium 'Byzantine in Europe' from December 11th to 15th, 2007 in Greifswald (Studies in Byzantine History and Civilization (SBHC 2)). Brepols, Turnhout 2012, ISBN 978-2-503-54153-2 .
  • Sabine Czymmek: The Cologne Romanesque Churches, Treasure Art, Vol. 2 (= Colonia Romanica, yearbook of the Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln e.V. , Vol. XXIII, 2008). Cologne 2009, ISBN 978-3-7743-0422-2 , pp. 127-176.
  • Sebastian Ristow : The excavations of St. Pantaleon in Cologne (supplement 21 of the journal for archeology of the Middle Ages ). Rudolf Habelt Verlag, Bonn 2009, ISBN 3-7749-3585-8 (cf. Habilitation thesis Univ. Cologne 2008).
  • Ulrich Krings, Otmar Schwab: Cologne: The Romanesque churches. Destruction and restoration (series Stadtspuren - Monuments in Cologne, Vol. 2). JP Bachem, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-7616-1964-3 .
  • Förderverein Romanischer Kirchen Köln eV (Ed.): New research on the history, building history and furnishings of St. Pantaleon in Cologne Contributions to the 2006 Colloquium (= Colonia Romanica XXI, yearbook of the Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln eV). Greven Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-7743-0364-5 . In it: Marianne Gechter: St. Pantaleon in the early written sources ; Sven Schütte : History and building history of the St. Pantaleon Church ; Dorothea Hochkirchen: The choir screen of St. Pantaleon and numerous other contributions.
  • Stefan Samerski: The Cologne pantaleon worship: context - function - development . In the series of researches on folklore . Norderstedt 2005, ISBN 3-8334-3041-9 ( online, pdf ).
  • Peter von Steinitz: Pantaleon the doctor . Roman, Freundeskreis St. Pantaleon, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-9805197-3-2 .
  • Anne Behrend-Krebs: The Ottonian and Romanesque wall paintings in St. Gereon, St. Maria in the Capitol and St. Pantaleon in Cologne (diss.). Münster 1994, ISBN 3-929207-16-8 .
  • Fried Mühlberg : St. Pantaleon and its place in Carolingian and Ottonian architecture (series Stadtspuren - Monuments in Cologne, vol. 17). JP Bachem, Cologne 1989, ISBN 3-8053-0601-6 .
  • Karl Heinz Bergmann: St. Pantaleon in Cologne (Rheinische Kunststätten, 146). Neusser Druckerei und Verlag, Neuss 1986, ISBN 3-88094-518-7
  • Helmut Fußbroich: The excavations in St. Pantaleon in Cologne . Von Zabern, Mainz 1983, ISBN 3-8053-0601-6 .
  • Hans J. Kracht: History of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Pantaleon in Cologne 965-1250 . Franz Schmitt, Siegburg 1975, ISBN 3-87710-067-8 .

Individual evidence

  1. Sven Schütte: History and building history of the Church of St. Pantaleon. In: Förderverein Romanischer Kirchen Köln eV (Ed.): New research on the history, building history and furnishings of St. Pantaleon in Cologne . Contributions to the colloquium 2006 (= Colonia Romanica 21, yearbook of the Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln eV). Greven Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-7743-0364-5 , pp. 81-136.
  2. ^ Sebastian Ristow: Early Christianity in the Rhineland. The evidence of the archaeological and historical sources on the Rhine, Meuse and Moselle. Cologne 2007, pp. 144–145.
  3. Yvonne Leiverkus: Cologne: pictures of a late medieval city. 2005, p. 51.
  4. ^ Clemens Kosch: Cologne's Romanesque Churches . 2nd Edition. Verlag Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2005, ISBN 3-7954-1264-1 , p. 87.
  5. ^ Dorothea Hochkirchen: Two sculpture fragments of the Carolingian Church of St. Pantaleon. In: New research on the history, building history and furnishings of St. Pantaleon in Cologne. Contributions to the colloquium 2006 (= Colonia Romanica 21, yearbook of the Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln eV). Greven Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-7743-0364-5 , pp. 149–158.
  6. Eva-Amria Schnurr: Between the Worlds. Special volume Der Spiegel Geschichte 1/2014, pp. 94, 95.
  7. Klaus Wolf: Imperial memory and partial decay. The Abbey of St. Pantaleon, its buildings and their equipment in the public consciousness during the Enlightenment and secularization. In: Förderverein Romanischer Kirchen Köln eV (Ed.): New research on the history, building history and furnishings of St. Pantaleon in Cologne. Contributions to the 2006 Colloquium (= Colonia Romanica XXI, yearbook of the Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln eV). Greven Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-7743-0364-5 , pp. 149–158.
  8. Kunst-Glasmalerei Schneiders & Schmolz GmbH Koeln-Lindenthal: List of a number of already executed glass paintings together with a few illustrations . Cologne 1902, p. 18 .
  9. Jewelry from the Cardinal . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 1991, pp. 298-300 ( online - 30 September 1991 ).
  10. Cardinal Meisner: Der hl. Josemaría gave a taste for God , August 12, 2006.
  11. For a discussion of this cf. z. B. Gunther Wolf : Again to the question: Who was Theophanu? In: ders. (Ed.): Empress Theophanu. Princess from abroad - the Great Empress of the Western Empire. Cologne 1991, p. 59–78, here p. 67, and Hans K. Schulze: The marriage certificate of Empress Theophanu. The Greek Empress and the Roman-German Empire 972–991. Hanover 2007, p. 42.
  12. ^ Marion Bayer: A history of Germany in 100 buildings. Cologne 2015, p. 45.
  13. Friends of Romanesque Churches Cologne: St. Pantaleon - Equipment , accessed on February 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Gerhard Reinhold: Otto bells. Family and company history of the Otto bell foundry dynasty . Self-published, Essen 2019, ISBN 978-3-00-063109-2 , p. 588, in particular pages 72, 527 .
  15. Gerhard Reinhold: Church bells - Christian world cultural heritage, illustrated using the example of the bell founder Otto, Hemelingen / Bremen . Nijmegen / NL 2019, p. 556, in particular pp. 88, 489 , urn : nbn: nl: ui: 22-2066 / 204770 (dissertation at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen).
  16. a b c Gerhard Hoffs (edit.): Bells of Catholic churches in Cologne . S. 190-195 .
  17. a b c d Martin Seidler: Cologne bells and peals . In: Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln eV (Ed.): Colonia Romanica . tape IV . Greven-Verlag, Cologne 1989, p. 9-29 .
  18. a b Norbert Jachtmann (edit.): Bells in the Mönchengladbach region . S. 184 .
  19. "Benedictine Monastery St. Pantaleon, Cologne" (GSN: 50218), In: Germania Sacra , accessed on February 29, 2020

Web links

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

Coordinates: 50 ° 55 ′ 43 ″  N , 6 ° 56 ′ 53 ″  E