The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, located in Old Jerusalem near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was built by architect Paul Ferdinand Groth following the designs of Friedrich Adler between 1892 and 1898 in a land donated to King William (Wilhelm) I of Prussia by Sultan Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire in 1869.
Church of the Redeemer an important landmark in Old Jerusalem
Inaugurated in 1898
In 1898, Kaiser Wilhelm II and his wife, Augusta Victoria, daughter of England's Queen Victoria, became the first western rulers to come to Jerusalem for the inauguration, and entered the city on horseback through two special arches built especially for their arrival, one a gift of the Ottoman Empire and the second a gift of the local Jewish Community.
At the occasion Wilhelm II said:
“From Jerusalem came the light in splendor from which the German nation became great and glorious; and what the Germanic peoples have become, they became under the banner of the cross, the emblem of self-sacrificing charity”
It is a property of the Evangelical Jerusalem Foundation a wing of the Evangelical Church of Germany. It currently houses Lutheran Congregations worshiping in Arabic, German, Danish and English. It also serves as the headquarters of the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, since this Arabic-speaking (Palestinian) church became independent from the German provost in 1979.
Interior of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
Brief History of the Church
The Redeemer Church was built on the site of the medieval church of St Mary La Latine, which was ruined and then a second St Mary’s Church and a St John’s Church where built adjacent to them to become a large complex called then the “Muristan” meaning hospital in Persian, and a hospice for western pilgrims near the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
During the Crusaders era in the 12th century it was developed as a hospital caring for pilgrims who visited Jerusalem and the Muristan became the headquarters of the Knights of St. John
When Turkish ruler Saladin conquered Jerusalem in 1187, the hospital continued as an Islamic Institution until the 16th century when the hospital fell into ruins and most of the churches of Jerusalem were forgotten by the west.
At the beginning of the 19th century when pilgrims started to come back to the Holy Land, European nations started to rebuild the churches in order to be represented in Jerusalem.
The Archaeological site in the church
Archaeological Park “Durch die Zeiten”
Meaning “Through the Times” in German, opened in 2012, below the church. It offers an experience of more than 2000 years of history of the City of Jerusalem by walking through the archaeological excavations performed from 1970 to 1974 by the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology.
Attractions of the Church of the Redeemer
sculpture of the medieval northern gate, decorated with the signs of the Zodiac
and symbols of the months.
· The modern entrance to the neo-Romanesque church is on the west from Frederick William Street.
· You can climb 177 steps up the bell tower, the tallest in the vicinity, for a fine view over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and as far as the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion.
· In the garden next to the church is a memorial marking the location of the crusader headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. John.
Zodiac Signs at the entrance to the Church
Sunday Morning Worship
At 9:00 am, every Sunday morning (with few exceptions), the church bells toll with melodic tones heard all over the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem calling for Sunday services presented in Arabic and English, the German services are offered at 10:30 am.
Copyright Tuchman Israel Guide
2015 - 2018