In 1523, St. Anne's Church in Eisleben became the first church in Mansfeld county to be officially Protestant. It is dedicated to Anne, the patron saint of miners (Luther's father's profession).
History of St. Anne's Church
St. Anne's Church is in the Neustadt (New Town) of Eisleben, which was built to house the families who worked in the mines that made the town prosper. Martin Luther's father, Hans Luder, was a miner by trade.
St. Anne is the patron saint of miners, and the church dedicated to her was built in the 1510s to serve both the Neustadt mining community and a small community of Augustinian monks (Luther's monastic order), who lived in the adjacent houses.
St. Anne's was consecrated in 1516, and in 1523, with only a chancel in place, it became the first in the county of Mansfeld to embrace Protestantism. Construction on the rest of the church stalled until 1585, when the widowed Countess Margarete finally commissioned its completion.
Unlike several other places in Eisleben, Martin Luther is not known to have spent any time in St. Anne's Church. However, it was to St. Anne that he called out in fear during a thunderstorm near Erfurt, pledging to become a monk if she saw him through safely. Surviving the storm, Luther kept his word, joining the Augustinian order at Erfurt to the consternation of his miner father. In the seclusion of his monastic cell, he began to study the scriptures closely. The rest, of course, is history!
What to See at St. Anne's Church
St. Anne's Church in Eisleben is a classic example of the Lutheran Renaissance style - a spacious hall made for preaching. It has a spectacular coffered ceiling, whose central section features paintings of the Trinity and the Apostles.
Also of note is the remarkable Steinbilder-Bibel (Stone Bible), a work with no known parallel in Europe. Commissioned by Countess Margarete in 1585 from the Münster sculptor Hans Uttendrup, this is a set of 39 sandstone reliefs arranged in the format of a poor man's Bible and placed in front of the choir stalls.
The reliefs are almost entirely of Old Testament scenes, with the exception of the first two scenes of the Passion and the symbols of the four Evangelists at the end. It was carved for the miners who were unable to read.
Created slightly later than the Bibel is the nearby polychromed stucco pulpit, which illustrates New Testament scenes with a jolly sense of humor.
Outside, the picturesque row of gabled houses alongside the church once houses the Augustinians who shared the use of St. Annes. While in the heart of the Neustadt, be sure to pay a visit to the statue of an Eisleben miner popularly known as Kamerad Martin (from 1590).
Quick Facts on St. Anne's Church
|Names:||St. Anne's Church|
|Categories:||Reformation history sites|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||51.529105° N, 11.536970° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near St. Anne's Church|
Map of St. Anne's Church, Eisleben
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