Königsberg Cathedral

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Photo by Georg11 on Pixabay

The cathedral in Kaliningrad is a German heritage preserved by the Soviet regime, a monument of a world scale. After World War II, the destroyed Konigsberg, located in East Prussia, became part of the USSR and became Kaliningrad.

From the history of the Cathedral

The birthday of the cathedral is September 13, 1333 . Until the 16th century, the cathedral was the main Catholic church in Konigsberg, dedicated to the Highly Sacred Body of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and All Saints, Saint Adalbert.

For several centuries the life of the Kaliningrad Cathedral was closely linked with the secular spiritual life of East Prussia. Since the XIV-XIX centuries, over a hundred tombstones and epitaphs have been placed on the territory; masters of the Teutonic Order, bishops and nobles are buried here.

The Teutonic Order is a community of knights whose motto is: “Help, heal, protect.” The German spiritual knightly order was founded in the XII century during the third crusade against the Muslims. It was organized by monks from Bremen to help the wounded German knights.

Created in the form of a ship’s tent, the “German hospital” soon came under the patronage of the church. The German emperor Henry VI transformed the hospital brotherhood into the knightly order of St. Mary of Teutonic, turning it into an independent organization. A distinctive sign of the Teutonic knights is a black cross on white robes.

The cathedral is located in the center of Kaliningrad, on the island of Kant, built in the brick Gothic style. During its existence, it served as a Lutheran temple in Prussia. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant is buried here .

After the Second World War, burnt ruins remained from the building. The rich centuries-old decoration has completely burned out. The cathedral was bombed by aircraft. The British pilots tried especially hard: at the end of the war, it became clear that East Prussia would go to the Soviet Union.

The building, which lies in ruins, was not razed to the ground after the war only because Kant was buried near its walls.

Cathedral – a cultural place of Kaliningrad

Church services are not held in the oldest church in the city. Three chapels are organized for believers: Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant. Next to the cathedral is the building of the Prussian University of Albertina, where the philosopher Immanuel Kant worked.

On a permanent basis, the cathedral operates:

  • concert hall;
  • hall space;
  • museum expositions;
  • chapels;
  • Kant Museum.

Concert hall

The main hall of the Cathedral is an exquisite and frequently visited place in Kaliningrad, with a capacity of 700 people. There is a unique organ complex consisting of two organs: a large and a small one, therefore the hall is called Organ.

The organs of the cathedral are mechanical instruments with the addition of electronics. The large organ, installed in 2008, is the largest in Russia.

The staff of the cathedral – two organists, daily daily organ mini-concerts (40 minutes). Once or twice a week, evening concerts are held by invited Russian and European musicians.

Every year the hall hosts an organ competition named after Mikael Tariverdiev, as well as international festivals and competitions.

Cathedral – a cultural place of Kaliningrad

Church services are not held in the oldest church in the city. Three chapels are organized for believers: Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant. Next to the cathedral is the building of the Prussian University of Albertina, where the philosopher Immanuel Kant worked.

On a permanent basis, the cathedral operates:

  • concert hall;
  • hall space;
  • museum expositions;
  • chapels;
  • Kant Museum.

Concert hall

The main hall of the Cathedral is an exquisite and frequently visited place in Kaliningrad, with a capacity of 700 people. There is a unique organ complex consisting of two organs: a large and a small one, therefore the hall is called Organ.

The organs of the cathedral are mechanical instruments with the addition of electronics. The large organ, installed in 2008, is the largest in Russia.

The staff of the cathedral – two organists, daily daily organ mini-concerts (40 minutes). Once or twice a week, evening concerts are held by invited Russian and European musicians.

Every year the hall hosts an organ competition named after Mikael Tariverdiev, as well as international festivals and competitions.

Zaaltarnoe space

The altar space of the cathedral has three epitaphs – gravestone inscriptions. The central part of the eastern side is occupied by an epitaph to Duke Albrecht I – the first king of East Prussia. The tombstone is richly decorated with sculptures, columns and coats of arms.

During the Second World War, the Cathedral was plundered, the statues from Albrecht’s tombstone were sold, and the epitaph was bricked up and covered with paint.

In 2009, the 14-meter tombstone for the tomb of the first Duke of Prussia was restored by the Dutchman Cornelius Flores. In the lower part of the epitaph, the master depicted sculptures of two boys with torches lowered down – a symbol of the end of earthly life and the beginning of divine life.

On the side walls of the cathedral there are more modest epitaphs of the duke’s wives. The first – Herzegovina Dorothea and the second wife – Herzegovina Anna Maria.

Kant Museum

Immanuel Kant died on February 12, 1804 at the age of 79. Buried on the east side of the Cathedral. The body rests in an oak coffin, which is placed in a sarcophagus underground. Above the burial of the philosopher there is an open hall of columns.

The museum occupies three floors of the Cathedral. In the first hall there is a model of Koenigsberg in 1937 with the Royal Castle by the architect of the museum Dyryshchev A.M. There are also elements of the old tower clock of the Cathedral.

The second hall is dedicated to the history of the cathedral in the pre-war period and the Soviet period, and the course of restoration work is also reflected. A special place in the museum is given to the Wallenrod Library , recreated in 2005. It is a collection of 2,000 books, as well as a collection of coins, paintings, sculptures and antiques.

The third room is dedicated to Immanuel Kant, here they demonstrate:

  • a recreated costume of a philosopher who followed fashion impeccably;
  • color portrait of Kant;
  • painting “Kant in the circle of friends” by master N. Frolov, 1998;
  • a copy of Kant’s death mask, taken from the original;
  • certificate dedicated to Countess Marion Heddy Ilse Dönhof, who assisted in the restoration of the Cathedral.

In the hall of the cathedral there is a relic – the Baptismal Cup-font , in which Kant was baptized. The baptismal font, 113 cm high, is made of limestone in the Romanov style. The octagonal bowl is placed on a volumetric pedestal. The sides of the support and the bowl are with convex patterns.

Renovation work

The restoration of the Cathedral in Kaliningrad lasted from 1992 to 2005. The spire was mounted using helicopters from the Baltic fleet. In the fall of 1995, a clock was installed on the tower of the cathedral – the most accurate in the city . Behind the façade, there is a state-of-the-art clock mechanism that checks the time by satellite.

On May 7, 1995, a general service of three Christian denominations took place: Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants. The cathedral regularly hosts concerts of classical and religious music, international organ competition, as well as children’s entertainment, cultural and educational events.