Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jesuitenkirche, Heidelberg

Another classic church post from the archives!
Jesuitenkirche, Heidelberg

The Jesuit church in Heidelberg has an interesting blend of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Built in the early 1700s when the Jesuits came to town, in many ways it looks like a counter-Reformation boast of the greatness of Catholicism. You don't like statues or saints? Here's some of the best saints in glorious golden garb:

St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church and highly brilliant and influential theologian

St. Ambrose, who taught St. Augustine and brought him into the church

St. Juliana, the original Happy Catholic

St. Hubert, book up his sleeve and beloved by golden animals

Don't like sacred music or showy light fixtures? Look how easy it is to see our organ lit by this chandelier:

We even keep the ancient tradition of marking the church door with the initials of the three wise men who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus (see bullet point 4 here):

Not everything is so great. Off to the left of the main door is a little alcove where a small shrine to Our Lady is set up. The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary may not be the best representation:

This made me grimace; not sure why I took the picture

The meditation garden just outside the church is full of wonderful plants and blessed silence. If you wander too far into it, the silence is interrupted by the sound of this fountain:

There was a character like this on Doctor Who

You can't tell from the picture, but the water drips from the eyes. I'm sure the artist and his mum think it's a lovely work, but it definitely took me out of the meditative state. If it was meant to make the viewer smile, then I definitely did, though not with the most Christian attitude, I fear.

Overall, visiting the Jesuitenkirche is a great experience, one that made me smile in good, bad, and ugly ways.

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