The Jesuit Church in Heidelberg, Germany was built by the Jesuits between 1712 and 1759. The bell tower was added between 1866 and 1872.
|The Jesuit Church is in the center of the photo. The Church of the Holy Spirit is to the far right.|
|A closer view of the Jesuit Church. The bell tower is on the left side and the Baroque front facade is on the right side. The Neckar River is to the back right.|
|The Jesuit Church is hidden back among small alleys.|
|It is difficult to find an angle to photograph the church all at once.|
|Here is the view of the front facade as the street opens up onto the church.|
|This photo captures more of the facade.|
|This saint is squashing a dragon. I like how the dragon's claw is carved into the different type of stone below the dragon itself.|
|The square near the front of the church has some beautiful fun buildings fronted by cobbled streets.|
|This particular building is right across the street and has a fun figure inserted in the corner.|
|I'm not sure who this represents, but the little fella is putting the hurt into the devil at his feet.|
The Jesuits are members of the Society of Jesus, founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and four other men who made vows of poverty and chastity. The Society's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 and the Society's patron is the Virgin Mary. The Jesuits often work in education, founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries. Interestingly, the current Pope Francis, is the first Jesuit to become a pope.
The Jesuit involvement in Heidelberg relates to Heidelberg University which was founded in 1386 by Rupert I of Wittelsbach, after gaining permission from Pope Urban VI, and modeled after the University of Paris. On April 25, 1518, Martin Luther held what is known as the Heidelberg Disputation at the lecture hall of the Augustinians at Heidelberg University. This was Luther's first opportunity to explain his views of his 95 Theses to his fellow monks (which he had posted on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517). Soon after the Disputation, many of the masters and scholars of Heidelberg University became Reformationists and Heidelberg University was converted to a Calvinist institution. Later, as part of the Thirty Years' War, Heidelberg was destroyed by King Louis XIV and as a result of the Counter-Reformation, Heidelberg University lost its Protestant character and was placed in the hands of the Jesuits. The Jesuits did everything they could to try to win back over to Catholicism this primarily Protestant town. It was during this period that the Jesuit Church was built.
|Inside the church the walls are painted a glossy white and accentuated with gaudy gold. This is a view of the altar from the front of the church.|
|This is a view of the front of the church, and the organ pipes above it, from back near the altar.|
|The space around and behind the altar is fabulous: rose and white marble, gilded gold statutes and pillar caps and marvelous paintings.|
|This is the mural at the top and is very ethereal. A faint cross is in the background. It appears that the Father is placing a crown on his son. Those at their feet are looking down below.|
|The Holy Ghost in the form of a dove looks down at Mary who is pregnant.|
|The figures right beneath the dove are ethereal, although not as ethereal as the Father and Son above.|
|Some in the group below are looking above, but some are focused on something going on in the center. A young man and woman with a child.|
|The altar. Peter and Paul and the mural are behind and above.|
|Green and gold capitals.|
|At the top is Mary.|
|Below are old men, some worshiping.|
The Jesuits also erected the Madonna statue in 1718 in the Corn Market (Kornmarkt), the oldest square in Heidelberg. The Baroque statue was created by Peter von den Branden. The statue is a copy of the original. The original is now in the Kurpfaelzische Museum.
|Madonna statue in the Corn Market|