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Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)

Short facts

  • Heidelberg

Founded in 1398, the Heiliggeistkirche is located in the heart of Heidelberg's Old Town.

As early as the beginning of the 13th century, a small Romanesque basilica “Zum Heiligen Geist” stood on the site of today's Heiliggeistkirche, which probably fell victim to a fire at the beginning of the 14th century. In its place, an early Gothic church was built, in which the opening mass for the founding of Heidelberg University took place on October 18, 1386. Under Ruprecht III, the choir of the church was demolished only 12 years later and replaced by a larger one. Thus, the year 1398 is considered the founding year of the Heiliggeistkirche.

The hall choir was completed in 1410, and the nave building with the substructure of the tower under Ruprecht's son Ludwig III in 1441 was added. Ludwig III laid the foundation for the later famous Palatine Library, the BIBLIOTECA PALATINA, by having the first books placed in the galleries of the Heiliggeistkirche. During the reign of Louis V (1508-1544), when the most important palace buildings were also being constructed, the tower continued to be built and completed. In the course of the Reformation, the church changed several times between Lutheran and Reformed-Calvinist denominations. In 1563, the Heidelberg Catechism emerged as the Reformed confession. With the 30 Year War and the conquest of Heidelberg by Catholic troops, the city, and the church became Catholic for many years, and as spoils of war, Pope Gregory XV had the BIBLIOTECA PALATINA brought to Rome in 1623.

In the course of the Palatine-Orléans War of Succession, the church was severely damaged in 1693. Almost all the tombstones of the Electors of the Palatinate were destroyed, only the one of Elector Ruprecht II, the founder of the church, is preserved. Of the once 5000 books and 3524 manuscripts, only 885 made it back to Heidelberg in 1816, all the rest remained in the Vatican.

In the following two centuries, both Catholics and Protestants laid claim to the church in equal measure, so that, separated by a dividing wall, Catholic mass was celebrated in the chancel and Protestant services in the nave. It was not until 1936, through the tireless efforts of the pastor of Heiliggeist and later prelate, Pastor Hermann Maas that an agreement was reached with the Catholic Church; the church passed entirely into the possession of the Protestant Church in Baden. For the feast of St. John in 1936, the Lutheran Heiliggeist congregation celebrated services for the first time again in a church without a dividing wall.

Church services:
Every Sunday/holiday 11:00 a.m. 
Noon devotions: Thursday noon (Ash Wednesday through Dead Sunday).

Monday - Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sundays and holidays 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(Special opening hours during Advent)
Guided tours of the church take place on request, please contact the parish office by phone at +49 6221 21 117.

Information desk/tower ascent:
Currently no reliable opening hours, mainly Saturdays.

Concerts in the Heiliggeistkirche
Hour of church music:
Every Saturday at 6.15 p.m.

Short organ concerts:
Currently Friday and Sunday 5.15 pm.
Normally: June to September: daily except Sat 5.15 p.m.; May+October: Fri, Sun, public holiday.

For information on dates and to order tickets, please visit the website of the Kantorat an der Heiliggeistkirche in the Altstadtgemeinde Heidelberg: www.kirchenmusik-heidelberg.de and www.studentenkantorei.de.
TIP: HeidelbergCARD holders receive a 20% discount for organ concerts and "Stunde der Kirchenmusik".

On the map

Evangelisches Pfarramt Heiliggeist-Providenz
Heiliggeiststraße 17
69117 Heidelberg

Phone: +49 6221 21117
Website: ekihd.de/html/die_heiliggeistkirche.html

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