From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Jerusalem Church of the Redeemer 100 years old

Date 22 Oct 1998 06:51:53

Lutheran church built on the ruins of a crusaders' church

JERUSALEM, Israel/GENEVA, 19 October 1998 (lwi) - On October 31, the
Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem will celebrate its
100th anniversary. Located not far from the Church of the Tomb and
Resurrection in the middle of the Palestinian part of the city, the
Lutheran church is the nucleus of the German-speaking congregation in
Jerusalem and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan (ELCJ),
originally the Arabic Lutheran Church, founded in 1959 and an independent
sister church since 1979. The church is also home to the English and Danish
Lutheran congregations.

In 1869 the Ottoman government gave the Prussian crown prince Frederick
William a part of the Muristan plot in the old city as a present. On the
property were ruins of a crusaders' church and a medieval monastery
building. Twenty years later, Emperor William II decided to have a new
church built there. The cornerstone stone was laid in 1893, and the
building completed in 1898 on Reformation Day. Emperor William II himself
was present at the consecration of the edifice. Whether this journey was an
expression of the emperor's religiosity or a piously disguised form of
imperialism is still controversial among historians. On the day of the
consecration, the Ottoman government gave the emperor another plot which
the emperor then designated for building the (Roman Catholic) Benedictine
abbey Dormitio Mariae. This deed  provided the roots of the ecumenical
relations, stronger than ever today, between the Dormition Abbey and the
Church of the Redeemer.

At the closing service the pastors David Reich from Perm and Alexander
Scheiermann from Satarov were installed as provosts; the preacher Leonid
Zwicki from Witebsk was ordained to the pastoral ministry and Wera Sauer
from Astrakhan was ordained as preacher of her congregation.

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Lutheran World Information
Editorial Assistant: Janet Bond-Nash

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