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Vicelin-Kirche is located in Ratekau, a village in Schleswig-Holstein about 4 miles south-east from the famous seaside resort Timmendorfer Strand on the Baltic Sea coast.
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Visiting Vicelinkirche Ratekau
The church in Ratekau is also one of the so-called Vicelin churches, which was built in the late 12th century as a late Romanesque fieldstone building with a western round tower. Here too, Bishop Vicelin certainly did not live to see the consecration of the church, as he had already died in 1154. But he will have at least still planned or commissioned the construction of this church. What distinguishes it from the other Vicelin churches with round towers in Pronstorf and Neukirchen, however, is that it is usually locked. On my first visit, I had researched this beforehand, and a friendly gentleman unlocked the church for me. Unfortunately, I then only took a few interior photos in a kind of fast-forward through the church (“…the main thing is that I have taken a couple”…), and this with my old digital camera. Therefore, both the quality and quantity of these photos are, well, modest… On our second attempt, we were able to take quite nice photos of the outside, but the church was locked, and the phone number listed in the showcase on the street was unfortunately not answered. So the old photos are still to be seen in the slideshow. Therefore, this is a church we definitely have visit again. The church website says that the congregation is trying to keep it open more often now. Let’s hope that this is the case.
The start of the church’s construction is dated – as with many Vicelin churches – to 1154, with the first documented mention dating from 1234/1235, when the apse arch and vaulting were renewed. The external structure is initially that of a “traditional” Vicelin church: round west tower, rectangular nave, adjoining choir with, in this case, still preserved semicircular apse. Unusual, however, is the extension at the north-east corner of the nave and the north-west corner of the choir. This is a sacristy from 1913. The – slightly leaning – tower has a total height of 48 metres including the pointed spire, and probably served as a defence tower in the past. The gable roof of the nave is covered with shingles.
One enters the church through the west wall of the tower, and first reaches the square tower hall, in which remains of a groined vault can still be seen. You enter the main rooms through another door in the east wall of the tower. Under the west gallery with the Marcussen organ from 1891, which replaced the older organ from the 16th or 17th century, one finally enters the nave. In the southwest corner is the pulpit from 1824. The chancel arch is decorated with tendril work. The crucifix with its 16th century corpus is suspended in the round arch. In the choir there are round-arched windows decorated with tendrils in the north and south walls, furthermore the altar, and in the apse a modern stained glass window also in round arch form. Between 2008 and 2011, the church was renovated and modernised, and parts of the original brick floor and stone benches from the time of construction were found on both sides of the nave.