Dominican priory and church

A brief description.

The Dominicans established themselves in Erfurt, Germany, in 1229, and commenced to build a church in 1278, which was completed between 1370 and 1380, known as the ‘Predigerkirche’  (Preacher's Church).

The General Studies of the Augustinians, Franciscans and Dominicans formed  together a University after the bulla of Pope Urban V on 4 May 1389.  From 1392 till 1520 30 Dominicans obtained there their doctorate of theology.

A famous member of this priory was Eckhart O.P. born in Tambach near Gotha (1) in Thuringia c. 1260.  He joined the Dominicans at Erfurt, and studied in Paris (1277), Köln (1280) and again Paris (1293/94) where he was scholar at faculty of theology. In 1294 he returned to Erfurt and became prior of the priory. He built the church, where he regular preached. He was also  vicar of the Dominican Province of Thüringen. In 1302/03 he is for the third time in Paris and lectured annotations on the Bible. He received there the academic title ‘Magister in Theology’, and was named ‘Meister Eckhart’.  
In ca 1303 he became provincial for Saxony, the Dominican province which reached at that time from Stralsu
nd in North Germany to Groningen (the Netherlands), Westphalia, Sachsen and Brandenburg. (1)

‘The Meister Eckhart portal’ of the church of the former priory in Erfurt with the text: ‘Das Licht leuchtet in der Finsternis und die Finsternis hat es nicht erfasst (Joh 1,5). Meister Eckhart 1260-1327‘.

In consequence of  “die Pfaffensturm” (1521) all the clerics had
to leave the city and the University declined and deteriorated. 

Since the Reformation, the Predigerkirche has been Erfurt's main Protestant church. The exterior is relatively plain, but the interior is a beautiful example of pure Gothic style and has preserved its layout and furnishings intact.

Among the interesting interior furnishings are the screen, with a beautiful sculpture group of ‘The Annunciation’ (mid-14th century); the choir screen, with niches sheltering a ‘Madonna and Child’ and painted ‘Calvary’ (mid-14th century); the choir stalls (13th century) and stained glass windows made with fragments retrieved from the war-damaged church windows (20th century). Also worth seeing are many elaborate epitaphs and a 15th-century carved and painted high altar.

Nowadays there are regular organ recitals on Wednesdays.


       (1) C.P.Jellma: Meister Eckhart. Over God wil ik zwijgen. Dl II Preken. Groningen 2001.
(2)  Boehm, L. und Müller, R.A.:  Universitäten und Hochschulen in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Hermes Handlexikon. Econ, Düsseldorf, 1983, S. 119.
(3) Baierd, Gerd: Deutsche Demokratische Republik. DuMont Kunst – und Reisefürer. Köln 19822 , S. 333.
(4)  Internet, among other wikipedia


View of Erfurt in 1520 and in 1988.    Germany (DDR) 1988, Mi 3173, Sc 2678.

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