Donnerstag, 15. Januar 2009

Colomanskirche, Schwangau, Bavaria



I was intrigued by this picture of a Roman Catholic church in Germany with an onion dome. I recall seeing pictures of churches like this before, and apparently these domes are a ubiquitous feature of baroque church architecture in Bavaria and Swabia. Of course, baroque architecture in so many other respects, and particularly in its interiors, can scarcely be called Orthodox at all!

This church is dedicated to St Coloman of Stockerau, and is located in the village of Schwangau in southern Bavaria near the Austrian border, 1.5 km from the famous Neuschwanstein Castle of Ludwig II of Bavaria. St Coloman was an 11th-c. Irish monk who embarked upon a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was accused of being a spy at Stockerau, near Vienna, and being unable to speak German in order to clear his name, he was tortured and hanged. His body is said to have been incorrupt, hanging on the gallows, for a year and a half, and the scaffolding to have taken root and blossomed. Three years after his death, St Coloman’s relics were taken to the Benedictine Abbey of Melk on the Danube (the home of Adso in The Name of the Rose!), in what is now Austria.

The Saint is believed to have rested, preached, and pastured his cattle at Schwangau during as travels (see this site). There has been a market day in Schwangau in connection with the feast (Colomansfest) since the 16th c., and the current church was consecrated in 1685. Apparently, at Melk and at Schwangau, horses and cattle are blessed on the day of Colomansfest.

2 comments:

orrologion hat gesagt…

Do you know anything about the development of the onion dome, architecturally? Was it borrowed from the West, from Islam or East Asia? Was it simply an adaptation for snow of the Greek or western Mediterranean domes? It has always seemed odd to me that such an iconic figure as the onion dome is primarily a Russian or Slavic Orthodox phenomenon, within Orthodoxy. I have noticed these same onion domes in the eastern Alps and Central Europe, in general, but I'm not sure which way the influence went - west to east, or east to west (or independent of each other).

Alana hat gesagt…

I recognize this church building as gracing an old record album cover of German Christmas music which my parents own and which I fondly remember from my childhood.

Ah, memories....