St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Severus’ Church

From monk to priest

A flight of 70 steps takes you from Domplatz (Cathedral Square) to the Domberg (Cathedral Hill) with its two former collegiate churches. These two churches, St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Severus’ Church, are examples of the International Gothic style of church architecture and are closely linked to the city of Erfurt and its history.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was built in the 14 century, is the place where Martin Luther attended theological lectures from 1507 to 1511, was ordained as a priest and gave his inaugural lecture. Particular highlights are the Gothic choir-loft windows, the extensive choir stalls (14th century) and the Romanesque sculptures of an enthroned Madonna and a monumental candle holder in the interior. The cathedral is also famous for the “Gloriosa”, the world’s largest free-swinging medieval bell with a diameter of 2.56 m. 

Right next to the cathedral, at the top of the hill, is St. Severus’ Church. The five-nave early Gothic hall church was the collegiate church of an Augustine community of Augustinian canons. Here, you will find, in addition to the sarcophagus of St. Severus, a 15-metre-high baptismal font and an alabaster relief portraying the Archangel Michael. 

Along with the neighbouring Catholic church dedicated to St. Severus, St. Mary’s Cathedral is supposed to be a place of peace for Christians and non-Christians. Together, they tower over the large Domplatz and shape Erfurt’s wonderful cityscape as architectural gems. 

The two large churches celebrate the ecumenical St. Martin’s Festival together on 10 November every year. Thousands of children gather on Domplatz with lanterns for the festival and transform these into a sea of lights. In the city, numerous bakeries, patisseries and cafés follow the old tradition and offer – just on this one day – the popular sweet “Martinshörnchen” (St. Martin’s croissant). But before the St. Martin’s Festival on Domplatz begins, the rare, incomparable sound of the medieval “Gloriosa” bell rings out over Erfurt. This long tradition celebrates both the city’s patron saint, St. Martin of Tours, and Martin Luther. 

Another annual highlight is the DomStufen-Festspiele. In the summer, the steps between the two churches become a stage for operas or musical theatre. This special atmosphere attracts thousands of visitors every year.


Header: ©Erfurt Tourismus & Marketing GmbH

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