Once outside the city walls, it can now be found in the heart of downtown Cologne: St. Apostles. As a contemporary witness of Romanesque culture in Central Europe, it is now celebrating its 1000th anniversary. Cathedral chaplain Meiering on this special Cologne church.
Interviewer: In 1000 years, there must have been quite a few art-historical treasures in St. Petersburg. apostles accumulated, or?
Cathedral Chaplain Dr. Dominik Meiering (parish priest at St. Aposteln, Cologne and a doctor of art history): Yes, of course. The first church that stood there, of which there is not so much anymore. But what has developed from this is one of the best things we have in Romanesque culture in Central Europe. And we are totally proud of it. St. St. Apostles is really a special flower in the large colorful bouquet of Romanesque architecture in Cologne and far beyond.
Interviewer: And there are not only many art treasures and a great architecture with you, but also many saints. The church is, after all, dedicated to the twelve apostles. Most churches have a patron saint. What does it have to do with St. St. Apostles on itself? Is that a special distinction or where does that come from in the church?
Meiering: This is already an exciting story. Originally, the church stood directly behind the Roman city wall, similar to Rome St. Paul outside the walls. The old patronage was also St. Paul. But then at some point they changed it to all the apostles. And we hold this up to this day. That does not exist in many catholic churches. But we keep it high, because on every feast of the Apostles we always have a festive Mass with the Schola, there is always Gregorian chant, for which we are famous in Apostles for the Latin High Mass every Sunday at 9 a.m.30 and then on the feasts of the apostles. So this is really also very celebrated and solemnized. And also in this feast year.
Interviewer: So you could say, in St. Apostles can celebrate twelve fairs in one year?
Meiering: This is exactly how we do it. We also have Kirchweihfest, there is then the parish festival, where also the appropriate celebration takes place around it. But liturgically, all apostles' feasts are really quite special.
Interviewer: This year is really once again very special. I was allowed to take a peek at the festschrift that will be published on Ash Wednesday. There are some exciting features of St. Apostles listed.
Meiering: We have fantastic, wonderful little corners. And in the commemorative publication there is indeed an article called "Discovering corners". We have selected 20 places that are somehow either something to smile about or somehow historically interesting or theologically interesting. We are very much looking forward to it. It will have more than 80 pages, it is just on the home stretch and the whole colorful program will be published there.
We really have a lot – from big church services with prime ministers and so on, more than 70 concerts, panel discussions, lectures, tours, events, charitable ones for the socially disadvantaged, an exhibition and things like that. Things will then start on Palm Sunday, we hope that corona-wise it will also work out to some extent, and then we look forward to a great year that will last until New Year's Eve.
Interviewer: So how does it look for you in St. The twelve apostles, when you walk through the church or look at the art-historical treasures? Do you have a favorite corner or a favorite piece?
Meiering: There is a quite nice picture, that is relatively new by Gerd Mosbach. This is a painting of the twelve apostles, a contemporary painter, and he paints these twelve apostles very differently there. Really different types, just like we get that reported in the Gospel as well. There is the customs officer and there are the fishermen and there is the zealot, the politician.
And as colorful as the troop is painted there, so colorful is actually the life at apostles and the people who are engaged there. Every single person who sings in the choirs or in the charity circle or in the St. Mark's community or what I don't know where. There are the most different people. But I am always reminded by this image, nevertheless they have a common vocation and a common mission – to somehow be on the road with the dear God and to tell of his presence.
The interview was conducted by Gerald Mayer.