is the youngest of the Twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne
The twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne are twelve landmark churches in the Old town of Cologne, Germany. All twelve churches are Roman Catholic.- Churches :The twelve churches are1:* St. Andreas in Altstadt-Nord, est. 974...
and was consecrated 1247, one year before work on the Gothic Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...
A small church located at a burial ground north of the Roman city was founded or renewed by Cunibert, ninth Bishop of Cologne. Cunibert was also buried there. After 690 the Two Ewalds were buried in the church as well.
The church was originally dedicated to Saint Clement
Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians as a fellow laborer in Christ.While in the mid-19th century it was customary to identify him as a freedman of Titus Flavius Clemens, who was consul with his cousin, the Emperor...
, but Cunibert was adored alongside him at least since the ninth century and a monastery Saint Kunibert
was first mentioned in records 866. Around the middle of the eleventh century the direct predecessor of the current church was build. Later a parish with the dean as parson was allocated to the monastery. The church became a pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...
site after the Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...
of the Two Ewalds in 1074 and of Cunibert in 1168.
Between 1210 and 1215 the erection of the current building started. The choir was finished 1226 and the church consecrated in 1247. Until 1261 a transept and a tower were added to the west.
The monastery ceased to exist in 1802 as a result of the secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...
under Napoleonic reign and the monastery buildings were eventually torn down in 1821. However the church remained in use by the local parish.
The western spire collapsed during a storm in 1830 for static reasons, as this tower was not part of the original plan and the structure of the building was not designed for it. Tower and westwork were newly erected until 1860.
The church suffered severe damage during the second world war. The roof was destroyed by fire, the western tower was hit by a bomb, collapsed and destroyed large parts of the westwork. Reconstruction of choir and nave were finished 1955, however rebuilding of transept and western tower were only started in the late 1970s. Reconstruction work was finished in 1985.
The original shrines of Cunibert and The Ewalds were destroyed during secularization and only the wooden cores with the relics remained. Today's shrines are from the second half of the 19th century.
The eight medieval glass windows in the apse area were made between 1220 and 1230. The upper three windows show Saint Clement, the original patron of the site, the Tree of Jesse
The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the Ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David; the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy...
and Saint Cunibert. The windows of the lower band show Saint Ursula
Saint Ursula is a British Christian saint. Her feast day in the extraordinary form calendar of the Catholic Church is October 21...
, Saint Cordula, Saint Catherine
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius...
, Saint Cecilia
Saint Cecilia is the patroness of musicians and Church music because as she was dying she sang to God. It is also written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". St. Cecilia was an only child. Her feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican,...
and John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...
- Hiltrud Kier: Via Sacra zu Fuß, Kölns Städtebau und die Romanischen Kirchen. Bachem Verlag, Köln 2003 (²/2005) ISBN 3-7616-1704-6.
- Ulrich Krings, Otmar Schwab: Köln: Die Romanischen Kirchen – Zerstörung und Wiederherstellung. Reihe Stadtspuren Bd. 2, Köln, Bachem Verlag, 2007 (712 S. mit CD Chronologie des Wiederaufbaus).
- Sybille Fraquelli: Zwölf Tore zum Himmel. Kinder entdecken: Die Romanischen Kirchen in Köln. J.P. Bachem Verlag, Köln 2007. ISBN 978-3-7616-2148-6
- Hiltrud Kier und Ulrich Krings: Die Romanischen Kirchen in Köln, Köln, 3.Auflage 1986.
- Sabine Czymmek: Die Kölner Romanischen Kirchen, Schatzkunst, Bd. 1, Köln 2008, Bd. 2, Köln 2009 (= Colonia Romanica, Jahrbuch des Fördervereins Romanische Kirchen Köln e. V. Bd. 22, 2007 und 23, 2008)