Mannheim Palace Church

The Mannheim Palace Church (German: Mannheimer Schlosskirche), founded as a court chapel, was built in the 18th century and is part of the Mannheim Palace. The church served as court chapel for the prince-electors of the Electorate of the Palatinate between 1731 and 1777 and belongs to the oldest parish churches of the Old Catholic diocese in Germany.

Elector Carl Philipp moved the residence of the Electoral Palatinate from Heidelberg to Mannheim in 1720 and laid the foundation stone for the Mannheim Palace in the same year on 2 July. The first planning was carried out by Johann Kaspar Herwarthel . After his death in November 1720 Johann Clemens Froimon (also “Froimont”) took over the construction management. He was released in 1726 and replaced by Guillaume d’Hauberat . It is unclear how large the respective share of the master builders was at the castle church, because pre-planning and trades already under construction had to be taken over. With the consecration of the church on May 6, 1731 on the name of ” Visitation ” by the Witness Auxiliary Bishop John Anton Wallreuther ended the first stage of construction of the castle.

The castle church served for the daily services of the court. The church music was played by the then famous Hoforchester, which developed the Mannheim School . In 1777 the messiah of George Frideric Handel was performed very early. Court organist was Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler . During his visits to Mannheim Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played the organ in the church.

After the departure of the court to Munich in 1778, the castle church led a shadowy existence. In 1803 Mannheim fell to Baden and Karl Friedrich handed the church to the Reformed and from 1809 it was used by Reformed and Catholics simultaneously . In 1819, Grand Duchess Stephanie took her widow’s seat in Mannheim, and the castle and castle church again had a small court house until her death in 1860. After that, the church was no longer used for worship services and the Red Cross set up a depot in 1870 in the German-French War .

In 1874, Grand Duke Frederick I handed over the church to the newly founded old Catholic community of Mannheim, which celebrated the first service in the castle church on April 5 and reached its historic peak in 1902 with 2,003 members.

The Second World War survived only the Kurfürstendrab almost undamaged. Although the church was only damaged by atmospheric pressure in 1940, in 1943 and 1945 it was destroyed, like the entire castle, down to the walls. Between 1952 and 1956, the reconstruction was carried out by the State Building Authority, which was praised as a model of German heritage preservation, although the pseudo-dome behind the high altar was not rebuilt and the organ was replaced by the Elector’s Lodge. On July 1, 1956, the castle church was re-consecrated in honor of the Most Holy Trinity by the old-Catholic bishop Johann Josef Demmel .

The castle church is located at the corner of the western court of honor and west wing of the castle. On the city side, the seven-axis architecture resembles the rest of the castle and reveals itself as a church only through the two-storey arched windows . The three-axle entrance façade corresponds in design to the library on the opposite side of the main courtyard.

The external appearance of the baroque church is, like the castle as a whole, characterized by the interplay between red sandstone and light yellow painted surfaces. The not undisputed yellow replaced the color white only at the recent renovation of the castle (2000-2007).

The gable relief above the entrance shows the Holy Trinity and was by court sculptor Paul Egell , it is one of his largest reliefs .

In the interior, the layout defined by the windows is supported on the sides by marbled pilasters . The window frames have stuccoed putti instead of keystones . On the left wall there are entrances to the lodges, formerly used by the higher-ranking members of the court. More than 120 stucco work in banded style decorate the walls.

In the choir today is a recreated in Rococo forms Altaraufbau . The altar painting is a copy after the painting “The Adoration of the Three Kings”. The original created in 1753 Giovanni Battista Tiepolo for the monastery Schwarzach ; It is now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.

Ceiling painting
Originally created in 1728 by Cosmas Damian Asam , the ceiling painting in the nave vault shows the triumph of the church and on the choir side the Visitation of Mary. It covers an area of 224 square meters and is today a re-creation of the painter Carolus Vocke . The pseudo-domes in the choir, the altarpiece and the music gallery behind the altar were not reconstructed during the reconstruction.

Behind the altar is the sacristy, from where you enter the electoral tomb . Carl Philipp and his third wife, Countess Violantha von Thurn und Taxis, are buried here in magnificent sarcophagi. They were broken up in 1946. During the police investigation it was found that the embalmed body of the Elector was relatively well preserved, but only his bones were preserved by his wife. The found Order of the Golden Fleece and the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Hubert were handed over to the Baden State Museum. On the sarcophagus of Carl Philipp, two putti originally wore a large medallion bearing the portrait of the Elector. It is now located in the Reiss-Engelhorn museums .

The Electoral Lodge above the entrance was not rebuilt after the Second World War. Here is now the organ loft with an organ prospectus designed in Baroque forms. The organ is a 1953 built three-manual instrument of the company Steinmeyer (Oettingen) with 34 registers (3 transmissions in the pedal ) and electropneumatic action (pocket shop). On the balustrade is the Rückpositiv , which is decorated with the arms of Carl Philipp. As part of the “Schlosskonzerte Mannheim” several internationally renowned organists performed on the organ.

Source from Wikipedia