Friday, August 12, 2011
Churches of Cologne: Gross St Martin
This church was constructed in 1150 as a Benedictine Abbey Church on the site of a former 2nd century Roman storehouse. It was not completed until the 13th century and the spire dates from the 15th century. The interior is very Romanesque, with later Gothic additions (you can see the Gothic arches in the background and the Roman arches in the foreground).
Although the church was heavily damaged in World War II between 1942 - 1945, the locals carefully returned the church to its former glory after 40 years of restoration efforts (we Americans could learn something from this).
It is now the home of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem, which is a monastic organization founded in 1975 to bring monastic life into the heart of the city. We had the privilege to attend a vespers service during our visit.