Friday, April 23, 2010

Murten's Churches - Catholic, Protestant

There are two main churches in Murten: a Catholic, Late French Gothic (about 1478), and a Baroque Protestant German Church about 1710, the Deutsche Kirche (no surprise there).

Find a history of protestantism in Germany and Switzerland at ://  In this town, they coexisted.  The Zurich theologian, Zwingli, shared the same motivations as Martin Luther, says the site.

In investigating old churches, watch in the later ones for the influx of ordinary people, bodies, faces.  It looks like the 1400's marked a change: regular folk replacing the saints, that had peopled the churches in the centuries before the 1400's or so.  Individual expressions, tastes on clothing, headwear.  Hardly inspiring in the sense of recalling to a worshipper the story of the martyrdom or whatever; but far more interesting.  This is not just a protestant trend:  look at this Catholic church in Sibenik, Croatia, with its human faces circling the exterior, at Sibenik, Cathedral of St. James, Croatia.

First, the German protestant church:  It had been a chapel dedicated to Saint Mary from 1518, and was repurposed. See

Choir Stalls est. 1494, German Church, Murten, Switzerland

The pulpit in the Deutsche Kirche is hewn from a single tree trunk, oak we understand.  It dates from about 1484. Note the three dimensional areas. The pulpit looks alive, with branchings.

Then see the French Gothic church (Roman Catholic), dating from about 1481. It replaced an earlier St. Catherine's Chapel and has some replacement stained glass windows that are modern and very bright.

French Church, Roman Catholic, modern stained glass, Murten, Switzerland

Interior, Catholic French church, Murten.

French Gothic (Catholic) Church, interior, Murten, Switzerland

Ceiling medallion - researching which church.  See the Bern bear in the middle.