Berlin Cathedral in Berlin

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Berlin Cathedral is the colloquial name for the Evangelical Oberpfarr- und Domkirche (English analogously: Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church, literally Supreme Parish and Cathedral Church) in Berlin, Germany. It is the parish church of the Evangelical congregation Gemeinde der Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin, a member of the umbrella organisation Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia. Its present building is located on Museum Island in the Mitte borough.

The Berlin Cathedral had never been a cathedral in the actual sense of that term since it has never been the seat of a bishop. The bishop of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg (under this name 1945–2003) is based in St. Mary's Church, Berlin, and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. St. Hedwig's Cathedral serves as seat of Berlin's Roman Catholic metropolitan bishop.

Establishment of a Collegiate Church in Berlin (1451–1536)

The history of today's Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church and its community dates back to 1451. In that year Prince-Elector Frederick II Irontooth of Brandenburg moved with his residence from Brandenburg upon Havel to Cölln (today's Fishers' Island, the southern part of Museum Island) into the newly erected Berlin Castle, which also housed a Catholic castle chapel. In 1454 Frederick Irontooth, after having returned – via Rome – from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, elevated the castle chapel to become a parish church, richly endowing it with relics and altars. Pope Nicholas V ordered Stephan Bodecker, then Prince-Bishop of Brandenburg, to consecrate the Chapel to Erasmus of Formiae.

On 7 April 1465 – at Frederick Irontooth's request – Pope Paul II attributed to St Erasmus Chapel a canon-law College named Stift zu Ehren Unserer Lieben Frauen, des heiligen Kreuzes, St. Petri und Pauli, St. Erasmi und St. Nicolai dedicated to Mary(am) of Nazareth, the Holy Cross, Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, Erasmus of Formiae, and Nicholas of Myra. A collegiate church is a church endowed with revenues and earning estates, in order to provide a number of canons, called in canon law a College, with prebendaries. In 1613 John Sigismund publicly confessed his Calvinist faith (in Germany usually called Reformed Church), but waived his privilege to demand the same of his subjects (Cuius regio, eius religio). So he and his family, except of his steadfastly Lutheran wife Anna, converted, while most of his subjects remained Lutherans. While Berlin's other churches, subject to Lutheran city-council jurisdiction, remained Lutheran, the Supreme Parish Church of St. Trinity, the Hohenzollern's house church, became Berlin's first, and until 1695 only Calvinist church, serving from 1632 on as the parish for all Calvinists in town. Being now a Calvinist church the patronage of the Holy Trinity was increasingly skipped.

In 1667 the dilapidated double-tower façade was torn down and in 1717 Martin Böhme erected a new baroque façade with two towers. With effect of 1 January 1710 Cölln was united with Berlin under the latter name. In 1747 the Supreme Parish Church was completely demolished to clear space for the baroque extension of the Berlin Castle.

The Supreme Parish Church Residing in its new Building north of the Castle (1750–1893)

On 6 September 1750 the new baroque Calvinist Supreme Parish Church was inaugurated, built by Johann Boumann the Elder in 1747–1750. The electoral tombs were translated to the new building. The new structure covered a space north of the castle, which is still covered by the present building.

In 1940 the blast waves of Allied bombing blew part of the windows away. On 24 May 1944, a bomb of combustible liquids entered the roof lantern of the dome. The fire could not be extinguished at that unreachable section of the dome. So the lantern burnt out and collapsed into the main floor. Between 1949 and 1953 a temporary roof was built to enclose the building. On 9 May 1967 the then still undivided Evangelical Church of the Union decided a committee for the reconstruction of the Supreme Parish and Cathedral Church, then located in East Berlin. The government of the Eastern German Democratic Republic did not oppose the work of the committee due to the concomitant inflow of Deutsche Marks. In 1975 reconstruction started, simplifying the building's original design and tearing down the northern wing (the memorial hall). In 1980 the baptistery and wedding church was reopened for services. The restoration of the main prayer hall was begun in 1984. On 6 June 1993 the big prayer hall was reinaugurated in an event attended by Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and televised nationwide in Germany.

The Main Organ in the Supreme Parish and Cathedral Church

The pipe organ, built by Wilhelm Sauer, was fully restored during reconstruction. It has 113 stops, including three ranks of 32' pipes on the pedal division, played by a 4-manual console:<ref name="Sauer" />

I Hauptwerk C–a3
Prinzipal 16′
Majorbaß 16′
Prinzipal 8′′
Doppelflöte 8
Prinzipal amabile 8′
Flute harmonique 8′
Viola di Gamba 8′
Bordun 8′
Gemshorn 8′
Quintatön 8′
Harmonika 8′
Gedacktquinte 51/3
Oktave 4′
Flute octaviante 4′
Fugara 4′
Rohrflöte 4′
Oktave 2′
Rauschquinte II
Gosscymbel III
Scharff III–V
Kornett III–IV
Bombarde 16′
Trompete 8′
Clairon 4′
II Brustwerk C–a3
Prinzipal 16′
Quintatön 16′
Prinzipal 8′
Doppelflöte 8′
Geigenprinzipal 8′
Spitzflöte 8′
Salicional 8′
Soloflöte 8′
Dulciana 8′
Rohrflöte 8′
Oktave 4′
Spitzflöte 4′′
Salicional 4
Flauto Dolce 4′
Quinte 22/3
Piccolo 2′
Mixtur IV
Cymbel III
Kornett III
Tuba 8′
Klarinette 8′
III Schwellwerk C–a3
Salicional 16′
Bordun 16′
Prinzipal 8′
Hohlflöte 8′
Gemshorn 8′
Schalmei 8′
Konzertflöte 8′
Dolce 8′
Gedeckt 8′
Unda maris 8′
Oktave 4′
Gemshorn 4′
Quintatön 4′
Traversflöte 4′
Nasard 22/3
Waldflöte 2′
Terz 23/5
Mixtur III
Trompete 8′
Cor anglais 8′


Flötenprinzipal 8′
Flöte 8′
Gedackt 8′
Dulciana 8′
Zartflöte 4′
IV Schwellwerk C–a3
Lieblich Gedackt 16′
Prinzipal 8′
Traversflöte 8′
Spitzflöte 8′
Lieblich Gedackt 8′
Quintatön 8′
Aeoline 8′
Voix céleste 8′
Prestant 4′
Fernflöte 4′
Violine 4′
Gemshornquinte 22/3
Flautino 2′
Harmonia aetheria III
Trompete 8′
Oboe 8′
Vox Humana 8′
Tremolo zu Vox humana
Pedal C–f1
Prinzipal 32′
Untersatz 32′
Prinzipal 16′
Offenbaß 16′
Violon 16′
Subbaß 16′
Gemshorn 16′
Liebliche Gedackt 16′
Quintbaß 102/3
Prinzipal 8′
Flötenbaß 8′
Violoncello 8′
Gedackt 8′
Dulciana 8′
Quinte 51/3
Oktave 4′
Terz 31/5
Quinte 22/3
Septime 22/7
Oktave 2′
Mixtur III
Kontraposaune 32′
Posaune 16′
Fagott 16′
Trompete 8′
Clairon 4′
  • II/I, III/I, IV/I, Super I, III/II, IV/II, Super II, IV/III, I/P, II/P, III/P, IV/P
  • 3 Freie Kombinationen, Mezzoforte, Forte, Tutti, Rohrwerke, Jalousieschweller III. Manual, Jalousieschweller IV. Manual, Jalousieschweller Vox humana, Handregister ab, Rückpositiv ab.


  • Wolfgang Gottschalk, Altberliner Kirchen in historischen Ansichten, Würzburg: Weidlich, 1985. .
  • Arno Hach, Alt-Berlin im Spiegel seiner Kirchen: Rückblicke in die versunkene Altstadt (11933), Ammerbuch: Beggerow, 22002. .
  • Günther Kühne and Elisabeth Stephani, Evangelische Kirchen in Berlin (11978), Berlin: CZV-Verlag, 21986. .
  • Ingo Materna and Wolfgang Ribbe, Geschichte in Daten – Brandenburg, Munich and Berlin: Koehler & Amelang, 1995. .
  • Michael Pohl, Die Grosse Sauer-Orgel im Berliner Dom [CD]. Ursina Motette. ISSN 4-008950-117812.


External links