Cathedral of Saint Hedwig 

A brief description.


After the introduction of the Reformation in Prussia it was forbidden priests and monks to stay in Berlin. When Frederick William (reigned 1640-1688) considered in his capital to open a France and Austrian embassy, he must permit that roman catholic priests were allowed to stay there for the Roman Catholic pastoral care of the personnel.

The Dominicans of the priory of Halberstadt became chaplains to the embassies and so Father Bruhns, O.P. Stephan Fels, O.P. and Pierre, O.P. were active in building chapels for the personnel of these embassies in and around Berlin (1681). Though the Roman Catholic people were forbidden to visit the worship in these chapels, it was allowed in 1701.

In 1743 father Mecenati, joined to the Embassy of Italy, suggested to Frederick II the Great (reigned 1740-1786), King of Prussia. to build a great church.

As a sign of the religious tolerance, he gave permission for it to be built, financed by donations from all over Europe. The church, behind the Staatsoper on Bebelplatz, was built from 13. July 1747– 1. November 1773 to plans by Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, who drew inspiration from the Pantheon in Roma (25 B.C).

Italy 1978, Mi 1608, Sc 1322.  Pantheon in Roma, 25 B.C.


The church, inaugurated by Ignatius Krasicki, Prince-Bishop of Ermeland (later ArchBishop of Gnesen) on 1 November 1773, was named after the patron saint of Silesia and Brandenburg, St. Hedwig of Andechs (1174-15.10.1243). The first chaplain of the church was Dean Henry Elberfeld, O.P. But Augustin Wegerich, O.P., Dean in 1790, resigned from his function in 1806 and so the Dominican relation ends. The St Hedwig has served as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Berlin since 1929.

Under the leadership of Dean Bernhard Lichtenberg (1873-05.11.1943), the St. Hedwig's Cathedral became one of the centres of Catholic resistance. Lichtenberg was captured and died during his transport to the concentration camp Dachau on 5 November 1943. He is buried in a chapel of the cathedral, and beatified by Pope John Paul II on 23 June 1996.

Badly damaged in the Second World War, in the night of 1. till 2 Mai 1943, the cathedral was rebuilt from 1952–1963 to plans by Hans Schwippert (1899-1973), at which time a new, reinforced concrete dome was added. The interior was also extended and modernized during reconstruction.In the cathedral a Madonna from the 16th century and the Pietà from 1420.

Sources: Berlin Tourismus Marketing GmBh
            : Sybille-Gröger: St.-Hedwigs-Kathedrale Berlin. Verlag Schnell Steiner. Mïmchen.      

              Kunstführer Nr. 1900.



Hedwig (1174-15.10.1243), patron saint of the cathedral.In her hand the model of the church in Berlin.


        Germany (Berlin) 1955, Mi 133, Sc 9NB15.


        Germany 1993,  Mi
        Idem: Poland 1993, Mi 3470, Sc 3176.






The Cathedral of Saint Hedwig.


Germany (Berlin) 1963, Mi 228, Sc 9N206.








The Cathedral of Saint Hedwig, the Roman
Catholic Episcopal See  for Berlin.
Cardinal Count Johann Konrad von Preysing


Germany, Berlin West 1980, Mi BW 624; Sc 9N452.




750th Anniversary of Berlin.

Sight with at the right the cathedral of Saint Hedwig.


Germany 1987, Mi 1306, Sc 1496.







The cathedral of Saint Hedwig.


Germany 1996. Postmark Berlin 23.06.1996.







Air-stamp-exhibition (lUPOSTA '77) in Berlin 1977.                   On order.MM 50,--

Sight on the cathedral of Saint Hedwig.


Paraguay 1977, Mi Bl 299, Sc 735.



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