Collegiate Church (Pfaffen-Schwabenheim)

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Collegiate Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, late Romanesque choir
Look into the choir
West facade

The Catholic collegiate church of St. Mary's Assumption (so-called monastery church) is a listed church building in Marien - pilgrimage site Pfaffen-Schwabenheim . Its powerful eastern building, which defines the townscape, is one of the most remarkable in Rhineland-Palatinate . It combines the Upper and Lower Rhine late Romanesque with elements of the Gothic style from France to create a harmonious spatial effect. The late Romanesque eastern parts are therefore also under the protection of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflicts and have also been a funding project of the German Foundation for Monument Protection since 2012 . Related buildings are the Protestant Church (Offenbach am Glan) and the Marienkirche (Gelnhausen) . All three churches are on the old trade route between Metz and Leipzig .


Count Eberhard VI , revered as blessed . von Nellenburg and his mother Hedwig, niece of Emperor Heinrich II. , founded the monastery on their own property around 1040, initially as a Benedictine monastery . Hedwig retired here as a consecrated widow . The first church consecration took place by Pope Leo IX. , a cousin of Hedwig. This probably happened around October 17, 1049, when he was passing from the Synod in Reims to the Synod in Mainz.

In 1130, as part of the Worms Concordat , the monastery was handed over to the Archbishop of Mainz with the stipulation that it was converted into an Augustinian canon monastery.

Work on the late Romanesque church building began around 1230 when Simon I , Count of the Front County of Sponheim, took office, but came to a standstill in 1260 at the end of his reign after the transept was completed; a first consecration took place in the year Simons died, 1264. The final consecration of the unfinished church did not take place until his grandson Johann II. on April 23, 1308. A nave was never built in the Middle Ages.

In 1566 the Augustinian canons opposed the introduction of the Reformation , whereupon they were expelled and the tower and transept of the church were demolished. From then on, the church was used exclusively by the Reformed community.

Image of grace Sancta Maria De Pace. Caption: True illustration of the miraculous grace image Queen of Peace at CARMEL. DISCAL. (Discalced Carmelites) in Cologne

When the Electoral Palatinate was occupied by French troops in 1688 as part of the War of the Palatinate Succession , the Catholic denomination was reintroduced. After the end of the war and the return of the occupied territories to Elector Johann Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg in 1697, the Canons' Monastery was re-established and a Simultaneum was established . The renewed prosperity of the monastery in the 18th century led to the convent growing to 50 members and building activity. In 1712 the restoration of today's choir was completed, in 1714 the new baroque high altar was consecrated, in 1716 the choir stalls (both not yet in their current location in the later completed nave), the pulpit built around 1720, the sacristy added in 1723 and the same with a magnificent one in 1730 Built-in wardrobe. In 1760 the pilgrimage to the miraculous image of Mary, Queen of Peace began, and in 1766 the choir was expanded to include a simple nave in baroque style.

Miraculous image of Sancta Maria De Pace, detail

In 1802 the monastery was dissolved in the course of secularization under Napoleon Bonaparte . In 1808, as part of the second reorganization of the Diocese of Mainz after the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss , the Simultankirche was assigned as a branch church to both the Catholic parish of Badenheim and the Protestant parish of Bosenheim .

According to a contract of 1904, sole ownership was transferred to the Catholic parish in 1910. After a restoration, the church was consecrated again on August 5, 1912. The Protestant community received a settlement of 20,000 gold marks and built its own church according to plans by Friedrich Pützer , which they moved into in 1908 and which was named Gustav-Adolf- Church in 2008 .


A late - Romanesque choir with a little indented apse , which was built between 1230 and 1248, is attached to a late baroque hall-shaped nave . This consists of five sides of an octagon . Three of these sides have a window, the other two are flanked by round towers. The exterior is structured by pilaster strips and arched friezes. The apse has large, arched windows; the choir already has ogival windows. The transept , begun around 1248 and completed around 1260, has now disappeared. The capitals are remarkable evidence of the early re-use of the toothed iron , which was only used again by stonemasons and sculptors in Central Europe from the 13th century . The late baroque hall was added to the late Romanesque choir in 1762–1766 and a roof turret was added in 1848 .

During a renovation in 1963, historicizing tendril paintings and an electoral coat of arms of Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz were exposed in the choir vaults . The chronodistichon below refers to the year 1712, in which "by divine grace and with the consent of Count Palatine Johann Wilhelm the venerable basilica was restored".

Tumba cover depicting Count Johann II of Sponheim († 1340)


In the parish church there is a monumental high altar in Main Franconian Baroque from 1714. It is the oldest verifiable specimen from the workshop of the Kreuznach Carmelite monastery and related to the high altars in the Catholic parish church of St. Michael in Kirchberg (Hunsrück), the former collegiate church in Ravengiersburg and the side altars of the Catholic parish church St. Josef in Simmern / Hunsrück . The choir stalls from 1716 and the sacristy cabinet from around 1730 with its splendid acanthus carving both come from another, as yet unknown, workshop. The pulpit with lime wood figures of the four evangelists and a statue of the good shepherd on the sound cover was made around 1720 in the style of Electoral Palatinate sculptors, the confessionals were made around 1770, the early classicist, strict eternal light lamp around 1780. The sculptures include two works by the Mainz artist The sculptor Johann Georg Biterich (* 1724, Mainz; † 1789, Mainz) deserves special mention: an Immaculate from around 1780 , which is traditionally carried in the candlelight procession on the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary , and a Holy Mother Anna , unfortunately by a modern Color version is disfigured.

Tumba cover depicting Count Walram von Sponheim († 1380)

The collegiate church was the burial place of the Counts of Sponheim-Kreuznach . Buried here are Count Simon I, called the Elder († 1264), Count Johann I, called the Lame († 1291), Count Johann II. († 1340) and Count Walram († 1380). The monumental Tumba covers (approx. 2.15 m × 1.15 m) of the last two counts are still preserved.

The Pfaffen-Schwabenheimer Deesis , created around 1240, is of great importance as one of the oldest stone altarpieces in Germany .

The sacristy attached to the south of the choir was completed in 1723. Two walls are almost entirely taken up by an L-shaped oak sacristy cabinet with elaborate acanthus carvings and a built-in confessional around 1730. On the walls and on the ceiling are stucco reliefs by Marx Greibner (also: Greupner), a master of the Mainz Bandelwerkschule , which show the life of Christ . In the oratory above the sacristy , a series of portraits from the late 18th century shows the provosts since 1468.


The organ is by far the most important piece of equipment from the Baroque era . It is the only surviving organ from the workshop of Matthäus Heilmann (* 1744; † 1817), a master of the Mainz organ building school. Since the Mainz organ building school was based on Bohemian models, the Heilmann organ, which was built from 1777 to 1779 and largely spared from romanticizing alterations, represents a valuable enrichment of the Rhine-Hessian organ landscape, which, among other things, is due to the works of the organ building families Stumm from Rhaunen-Sulzbach; Onimus and Kohlhaas from Mainz, Geib from Saarbrücken and Frankenthal as well as the Mainz organ builders Johann Jakob Dahm and Johann Anton Ignaz Will. The Heilmann organ is one of the few baroque organs in the region that still has over 80 percent original pipes , including all prospect pipes . The case, the play and register mechanism, the play system and the wind chest have also been preserved from the historical inventory.

The Heilmann organ was in 1847 from the cath. Parish Church of St. Aureus and Justina in Bingen-Büdesheim for the then simultaneously acquired used Collegiate Church and by the eminent Heilbronner organ builder Johann Heinrich Schäfer (* 1810, † 1877) built in Pfaffen-Schwabenheim. Both the Protestant, the Catholic and even the political community of Pfaffen-Schwabenheim merged for the purchase.

On October 2, 1967, recordings were made with the organist Wilhelm Krumbach for the Südwestfunk radio, Landesstudio Mainz. The monument restoration of the Heilmann organ is one of the major projects of the sponsorship community for churches, monasteries and cultural monuments Pfaffen-Schwabenheim e. V. (see web links)

I main work C – f 3
1. Principal 8th'
2. Viol 8th'
3. Big Thought 8th'
4th octave 4 ′
5. Salicional 4 ′
6th octave 2 ′
7th Mixture III
8th. Fifth 2 23
9. Cymbel IV
10. Trumpet 8th'
II breastwork C – f 3
11. Dumped 8th'
12. Principal 4 ′
13. Smalled up 4 ′
14th octave 2 ′
15th Sesquialtera II
16. Krummhorn 8th'
17th Mixture IV
Pedals C – f 1
18th Sub bass 16 ′
19th Quintad bass 16 ′
20th Principal bass 8th'
21st violoncello 8th'
22nd Flute bass 4 ′


In 2013, funds from the Special Protection Program IV of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media , State Minister Bernd Neumann , were made available for conservation measures on the facade of the late Romanesque east choir .

On July 6, 2014, Deutschlandfunk and the German Foundation for Monument Protection hosted a keynote D benefit concert with jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær and the vocal sextet Nordic Voices in the monastery church, which was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk on October 20, 2014.

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven (the Assumption) on 15 August a pilgrimage to the miraculous image takes place every year "Sancta Maria de Pace (Mary, Queen of Peace)."

On the federal highway 61 , tourist signs point to the building.


  • Reclam's Art Guide Germany III, Monuments, Rhineland and Westphalia . Stuttgart 1975, ISBN 3-15-008401-6
  • Franz Bösken : Sources and research on the organ history of the Middle Rhine . Volume 1, Verlag B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1967
  • Paul-Georg Custodis: Pfaffen-Schwabenheim. (= Rheinische Kunststätten 501). Rhenish Association for Monument Preservation and Landscape Protection, Cologne 2008, ISBN 978-3-86526-019-2 .
  • Ludwig Baron Döry-Jobahaza: The Mainz sculptor Johann Georg Biterich (1724–1789) , In: Mainzer Zeitschrift, year 76, 1981, pp. 59–75 as well as panels 3 and 7
  • Clemens Jöckle : Pfaffen-Schwabenheim (= Little Art Guide No. 1355). Schnell und Steiner publishing house, Munich / Zurich 1982
  • Handbook of German Art Monuments , Rhineland-Palatinate & Saarland, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 2nd edition 1984, ISBN 3-422-00382-7
  • Manfred Fath : The architecture of the early Gothic in the Middle Rhine region . In: Mainzer Zeitschrift, year 65, 1970, pp. 59–66
  • Achim Seip: Old and New Organs in the Diocese of Mainz , Mainz 2003, ISBN 3-8053-2838-9
  • Alexander Wißmann: Baroque sculpture in the Sprendlingen parish group , parish letter of the Sprendlingen parish group, 2014, No. 3

Web links

Commons : St. Mariä Himmelfahrt (Pfaffen-Schwabenheim)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. according to a message from the 14th century. See source Wilhelm Fabricius : The dominions of the lower Nahe area. The Nahegau and its surroundings . (Explanations to the Historical Atlas of the Rhine Province 6). Behrend, Bonn 1914, p. 53f, cf. P. 38–43 ( digitized version of the State Library Center Rhineland-Palatinate Koblenz), p. 42
  2. ^ The series of bishops from 1254 to 1455 . Walter de Gruyter, 1969, ISBN 978-3-11-001291-0 ( [accessed on November 27, 2015]).
  3. according to the dedication document that can be viewed on site
  4. ^ Ludwig Baron Döry-Jobahaza, The Mainz sculptor Johann Georg Biterich (1724–1789), Mainzer Zeitschrift, year 76, 1981, pp. 62, 69, 74; Panels 3 and 7
  5. Alexander Wißmann MA, baroque sculpture in the parish group Sprendlingen, parish letter of the parish group Sprendlingen, 2014, No. 3
  6. ^ Manfred Fath, The architecture of the early Gothic in the Middle Rhine region, Mainzer Zeitschrift, year 65, 1970; P. 66
  7. Collegiate Church (Pfaffen-Schwabenheim)
  8. Reclam's Art Guide Germany III, Monuments, Rhineland and Westphalia, 1975, ISBN 3-15-008401-6 , page 609
  9. ^ Achim Seip: Old and new organs in the diocese of Mainz , Mainz 2003, ISBN 3-8053-2838-9 , pp. 94, 95 and p. 120.
  10. ^ Franz Bösken : Sources and research on the organ history of the Middle Rhine, Volume I , Verlag B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1967, p. 259 and p. 427–429
  11. To the disposition

Coordinates: 49 ° 51 ′ 0.1 ″  N , 7 ° 57 ′ 12.2 ″  E