Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem

Coordinates: 31°46′40″N 35°13′50″E / 31.77778°N 35.23056°E / 31.77778; 35.23056
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The interior of the Church of the Redeemer

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (Hebrew: כנסיית הגואל, Arabic: الكنيسة اللوثرية في القدس, German: Erlöserkirche) is the second Protestant church in Jerusalem (the first being Christ Church near Jaffa Gate). It is a property of the Evangelical Jerusalem Foundation, one of the three foundations of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) in the Holy Land. Built between 1893 and 1898 by the architect Paul Ferdinand Groth following the designs of Friedrich Adler, the Church of the Redeemer currently houses Lutheran congregations that worship in Arabic, German, Danish, and English. The Church, together with the adjoining provost building, is the seat of the Provost of the German Protestant Ministries in the Holy Land ("Evangelisch in Jerusalem"). It also serves as the headquarters of the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, since this Arabic-speaking (Palestinian) church became independent from the German provost in 1979.[1]

Built on land given to King William I of Prussia (after 1870 Kaiser Wilhelm I) on the occasion of the latter's participation at the inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1869 by Sultan Abdülhamid of the Ottoman Empire, the church was constructed from 1892 to 1898. The location had been the site of the old church of St. Mary Minor.[2] In 1898, Kaiser Wilhelm II made a trip to Jerusalem to personally dedicate the new church.[3] For the dedication of the church, the Kaiser entered the city on horse back through two specially made ceremonial arches, one a gift of the Ottoman Empire and one a gift from the local Jewish community.[4] The church was dedicated on Reformation Day, 1898. At the dedication, Wilhelm said:

From Jerusalem came the light in splendor from which the German nation became great and glorious; and what the Germanic peoples have become, they became under the banner of the cross, the emblem of self-sacrificing charity.[5]

Redeemer Church was closed for services from the end of May 1940 until 1950, when first the Palestinian Lutheran congregation resumed services, and later the Evangelical congregation of German language followed.[6]

In the garden next to the church is a memorial marking the location of the crusader headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. John.[7]

The Church of the Redeemer around 1900.
Emperor Wilhelm II, who was the Supreme Governor of the Evangelical Church of Prussia's older Provinces, and Empress Augusta Victoria after the inauguration of the Evangelical Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem (Reformation Day, 31 October 1898).

Archaeological park[edit]

The archaeological park "Durch die Zeiten" ("Through the centuries") below the nave of the Church of the Redeemer, opened in November 2012, offers the possibility to experience more than 2,000 years of history of the city of Jerusalem by walking through it. The archaeological excavations, conducted by Conrad Schick and Ute Wagner-Lux (the former director of German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land (GPIA)) in 1893, and then Karl Vriezen from 1970 to 1974, have been prepared by the (GPIA) in 2009–2012 to present to visitors the different stages of development and building of Jerusalem.

The adjoining cloister of the vicarage maintains a museum for more information and exhibits on the city's history.

Pastors and provosts[edit]

Beginning in 1852, a pastor served the German-speaking Protestant congregation in Jerusalem. Starting in 1871, the congregation convened in the Muristan Chapel, moving to Redeemer Church upon its opening. These pastors are ranked provost. The congregation shares Mount Zion Cemetery for their deceased. Between 1903 and 1940 the provostry was located in its own building in #42 Street of the Prophets (today's Jerusalem ORT campus); it is now next to Redeemer Church. Today the provost serves the German-speaking Protestant congregation and is simultaneously the representative of the Evangelical Church in Germany in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. In this capacity, he oversees the properties of the Evangelical Jerusalem Foundation and the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria-Foundation in Jerusalem as well as the German Protestant Community Center in Amman, Jordan.

The church ordained the first Palestinian woman pastor in the Holy Land, Sally Azar, on 22 January 2023.[8] Azar will head the English-speaking congregation in the church and be one of five ordained female leaders in the Middle East.[8]

Church of the Redeemer 1937

List of pastors and provosts with their terms:[9][10]

  • 1852–1866 Friedrich Peter Valentiner (*1817–1894*)
  • 1866–1869 Carl Hoffmann (*1836–1903*), nephew of Christoph Hoffmann
  • 1870–1876 Hermann Weser (*1842–1911*)
  • 1876–1884 Carl Reinicke (*1850–1915*)
  • 1885–1895 Carl Schlicht (*1855–1930*)
  • 1895–1903 Paul Hoppe (*1856–1937*), ranked provost since 1898
  • 1903–1910 Wilhelm Bussmann (*1864–1936*)
  • 1910–1921 Friedrich Jeremias (*1868–1945*), interned by the British forces since 1918, later exiled, father of Joachim Jeremias
  • 1921–1921 Gustaf Dalman (per pro)
  • 1921–1922 Albrecht Alt
  • 1923–1930 Hans Wilhelm Hertzberg (*1895–1965*)
  • 1930–1938 Ernst Rhein (*1885–1969*)
  • 1938–1954 Johannes Doering (*1900–1969*), interned by the British forces by end of May 1940 till 1945
  • 1954–1960 Joachim Weigelt
  • 1960–1965 Carl Malsch (*1916–2001*), simultaneously spiritual head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan (and the Holy Land) (ELCJ)
  • 1965–1971 Hansgeorg Köhler, simultaneously spiritual head of ELCJ
  • 1971–1979 Helmut Glatte, until 1977 simultaneously spiritual head of ELCJ
  • 1979–1985 Jürgen Wehrmann
  • 1985–1991 Johannes Friedrich
  • 1991–2001 Karl-Heinz Ronecker
  • 2001–2006 Martin Reyer
  • 2006–2012 Uwe Gräbe
  • 2012– Wolfgang Schmidt

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ronecker, Karl-Heinz, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Jerusalem, Verlag Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 1997, p. 2
  2. ^ Adrian J. Boas, Jerusalem in the Time of the Crusaders, (Routledge, 2001), p.125.
  3. ^ Marian Kent, Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire, (Routledge, 1996) p.112.
  4. ^ Paul Charles Merkley, The Politics of Christian Zionism, (Routledge, 1998) p.32
  5. ^ Alfred Sidney Johnson, et al., The Cyclopedic review of current history, (Garretson, Cox & Co., 1898) p. 935
  6. ^ Dem Erlöser der Welt zur Ehre: Festschrift zum hundertjährigen Jubiläum der Einweihung der evangelischen Erlöserkirche in Jerusalem, Karl-Heinz Ronecker (ed.) on behalf of the 'Jerusalem-Stiftung' and 'Jerusalemsverein', Leipzig: Evangelische Verlags-Anstalt, 1998, p. 247. ISBN 3-374-01706-1.
  7. ^ Abraham Ezra Millgram, Jerusalem Curiosities, (Jewish Publication Society, 1990) p.30.
  8. ^ a b "Lutherans ordain first Palestinian woman pastor in Holy Land". AP NEWS. 2023-01-22. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  9. ^ Gottfried Mehnert, Der Englisch-Deutsche Zionsfriedhof in Jerusalem und die Deutsche Evangelische Gemeinde Jerusalem. Ein Beitrag zur Ökumenischen Kirchengeschichte Jerusalems, (= Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte [de], Beihefte; vol. XV), Leiden: Brill, 1971, p. 51.
  10. ^ August Strobel, Deine Mauern stehen vor mir allezeit. Bauten und Denkmäler der deutschen Siedlungs- und Forschungsgeschichte im Heiligen Land, Gießen: Brunnen, 1998, (Biblische Archäologie und Zeitgeschichte; vol. 7), pp. 86seq. ISBN 3-7655-9807-0.

External links[edit]

Media related to Lutheran Church of the Redeemer at Wikimedia Commons

31°46′40″N 35°13′50″E / 31.77778°N 35.23056°E / 31.77778; 35.23056