I never quite finished posting my tour of the churches in the neighborhood. So here goes:
Sts. Peter und Paul
Peter und Paul was the local parish church for the village of Allach (just to the north of me) from sometime in the 8th century until Maria Himmelfahrt (“Church of the Assumption,” or by my literal translation, “Mary Rides to Heaven”) was built in, ahem, 1955. Accordingly, it’s been through several architectural incarnations, and today maintains a mixed Gothic and Baroque exterior with a very Baroque interior.
Parking “my” bike. I borrow N’s, so I go everywhere with a babyseat on the back. 🙂
Peter und Paul, like St Martin, still has its cemetery, which I greatly appreciate… Those windows are big enough that they probably date from the 18th century at the earliest. I couldn’t find much information about this church, so I’m just winging it.
Also notice the sundial. And if you look closely at the door, you’ll see these letter written on it in white chalk. That’s the “C + M + B” blessing. On Ephiphany, which commemorates the coming of the Three Wise Men, doors are blessed with the initials of the (legendary) names of the wise men, plus the year. This church was last blessed in 2011, so it is: “20 + C + M + B + 11”.
Beautiful crucifix on the exterior wall.
It’s fun to see Baroque on the parish level, since so much of my vision of the style is taken from big, huge churches. Here you can also take a good look at the ceiling —
See how different it is from Gothic ceilings? It doesn’t try to give you that airy, organic impression of great height. It is solid and steady, with a barely curving barrel vault and neat, broad patterns painted on. They do retain a little bit of the medieval aesthetic of multiplicity with the smaller vaults around the windows of the apse. But it’s all a more restrained style of “structural logic” and classical proportions and simplicity. The Baroque style took those Renaissance architectural values and added more dramatic lighting and decoration and attempted to convey a sense of the harmony and power of the Church, post-Reformation. Of course we’ll see this much more dramatically in the huge Renaissance Baroque churches that were built downtown – I’ll show you some soon.
Here’s the Baroque high altar with the modern freestanding altar in the foreground. (To get into liturgical quibbles, I wish there weren’t a microphone smack in the middle of the altar, and I have NO idea what those big black vases are supposed to be there for.) BUT they get points for keeping the tabernacle (German is very charmingly straightforward and calls it a “Sakramentshaus”) in its position behind on the high altar, and — be still my beating heart —
they kept their altar cards.
Mary and John at the foot of the Cross.
They also kept a medieval statue of Mary and Christ. This painted statue where Mary has that strangely shaped face with the high forehead is VERY medieval and very German. I hope to post more about it at some point.
This is the church of Peter and Paul, of course, so on the high altar we have statues of Peter (on the left, holding “the Church”), Paul (on the right, holding a book), and the two of them together in the middle, holding a key and a sword respectively, and hugging like buddies. These are all traditional iconographic depictions.
In the back there was this extra niche/little room with a Baroque statue of Jesus being scourged at the pillar. I laughed out loud when I saw this, because I wasn’t aware of it in the first place, and I was pleased this parish church had preserved it, and Jesus had a kind of crazy look in his eyes. But it seems to be called a “Heilands an der Geißelsäule” or “Geißelheiland,” and in Googling it I can find several other instances of this devotional practice in Bavaria in the 16th-18th centuries – the most famous one at Wieskirche, where the statue purportedly wept tears and became a big pilgrimage site.
THEN I WENT UP IN THE CHOIRLOFT, but I didn’t get very interesting pictures. Sorry.
Ah, modernity. Very large but undifferentiated, highly mural (that means it has lots of wall space) but unadorned, square and “clean” and unfortunately very reminiscent of the building styles of warehouses, barns, casinos (in the northwest, anyway), and so on. One of the things that makes it look so bulging is the abandonment of classical proportions (just look at the size and placement of those windows!) and a lack of structural hierarchy. Not any one part of the building takes precedence over the others, or tells you where to draw your eyes – not even the entrance, which is hidden under a completely flat overhang. It looks (and is supposed to look) like some big, blobby, indistinguishable thing. It is supposed to be egalitarian and communal.
It is probably obvious that I don’t love it! Alas, the architectural unclarity continues inside.
This is taken from liturgical east.¹ Yes, FROM liturgical east, but there is the altar chilling in the middle of what is properly the nave. You still come in (or, I did) from the west, that dark entryway against the wall (it’s a glass door), and this is part of why it was so difficult to get a well framed picture of the whole interior. The internal framing was off.
(¹For a very long time, all Christian churches were built on an east-west axis, with the altar at the eastern end, so that when the priest and the people turned there and prayed, they would face Jerusalem and the physical site of the Resurrection – among many other theological reasons. People were also buried with their feet pointing east, presumably so that when Christ returned and they were resurrected, they could be facing Him when they stood up! That’s the most fun explanation, anyway. Not all churches could be built exactly east, however, so when I say “liturgical east” or “liturgical west” I just mean the part of the church that has the altar (east) or the main entrance (west).)
What’s weird is that the apse is built-in, so the church must have been originally arranged, or at least designed to be arranged, in the traditional way. So at some point somebody decided to shake things up a little. The result is that the choir sings from where the altar was, the people turn 90 degrees to face the broad side of the nave, and it creates literally a more “horizontal” than “vertical” arrangement. It was probably intended to guide the worshippers to be more aware of their fellow worshippers, and perhaps feel closer to the priest celebrating the Eucharist at the altar.
Yet my issue with it is connected to my issue with the exterior design. It’s anti-hierarchical only by way of introducing a blurriness and non-directionality that I find really non-conducive to liturgical, Eucharistic worship. The traditional floorplan of a church (and there are various kinds, not just the long, cruciform plan that is most common) is built around and for the liturgy, a liturgy where Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and the sacramental reenactment of His sacrifice takes precedence over the congregation. It takes precedence, but it doesn’t overwhelm or negate the other parts — architectural hierarchy has the ability to keep differing parts in harmonious tension. When differences in height, size, and distance are all put into play (not to mention color, light, shadow, depth, and decoration), they can create contrast and a sense of unity of parts. Here, instead of getting the long and high sense of the vaults and interior space, and instead of looking along the aisle where the priest processes up to the altar like Christ into Jerusalem, you look straight at a big flat wall. Overall it is flatter, more dispersed, and certainly more mundane. I don’t think it’s being overly critical to say that, because that is what the designer most likely had in mind. Turning a church sideways to accomplish this goal is just the liturgical reformer hitting things right on the nose. 🙂
They did have a beautiful sacrament canopy.
And a traditional-style statue of Mary and Jesus.
And old-ish (19th century?) Stations of the Cross.
And a very stoic modern crucifix. There are instances of this style that I like, but in this one Jesus looks more snobby than suffering, don’t you think??
PHEW, anyway. This church was not at all my least favorite I’ve ever seen – it didn’t have everything made out of scrap metal, or have odd sculptures hanging from the ceiling above the altar! I’m just kidding. (But those do exist.) I stopped here for a while to pray by the tabernacle and consult my map about where to go next. Then I biked back to Schloss Blutenburg and its chapel, and took pictures of that (some of which you’ve already seen.) And THEN I stopped over to see:
Until two minutes ago I THOUGHT it was St Wolfgang (in Pipping), which is nearby, but the internet just told me that it isn’t, which makes me SO HAPPY, because the internet also tells me that St Wolfgang is the last fully preserved late-Gothic church in Munich. I shall visit it forthwith!!!!
This church, while it is a functioning parish church (I think), is also kind of half-community centre (as they would say on Mr Dressup). It’s really quite beautiful from across the fields at Schloss Blutenburg.
Don’t worry, this will be short. My camera ran of out juice about two minutes after I went inside.
And the inside. Although the walls look quite bare, they’ve preserved the east-west arrangement, and as you walk around the outer aisles, there is a lot of artwork preserved, medieval, Baroque, and more. There was also a beautiful modern Pieta, in memory of local people killed in WWII (I think), but like I said, my camera died. I’ll have to go back.
And now, if you have stuck with me this long, you get a special bonus!!
This a tower right next to the Allach S-Bahn station. When is it from? What was it for? I don’t know.
I was right across from St Georg and saw this huge group of kids, with their teachers, gathered around on the street. Then I saw there was a very confused, very scared baby squirrel on the ground. He would run into the middle of the pack of kids, get confused, and run into the middle of the street, and then back. I thought the teachers were trying to shepherd him back into the tree on the side of the road, but then I saw THIS:
To which I say: WHAT?? That squirrel could have diseases! The public schoolteachers of Washington State would never pull these kinds of antics!
This ordeal went on and on. The kids just scurried around and freaked out. Some lady walking her dog stopped to watch, and the squirrel ran under the dog and freaked the DOG out. Finally I left, feeling very sorry for those baby squirrels.