Schwelm St Marien

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What you need to know about this church

St Marien-Kirche Schwelm

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Marien-Kirche is located in Schwelm, a town in Nordrhein-Westfalen to the east of the world famous City of Wuppertal.

This church is usually locked, but the Werktagskapelle is open daily with good views into the church

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St Marien Schwelm
Round nave and tower
St Marien Schwelm
Round tower from the main road
St Marien Schwelm
Werktagskapelle

Visiting Schwelm St Marien

The Church of St Mary in Schwelm is the youngest of all the churches on this website, even though there is evidence of a Catholic church in Schwelm as early as 1684. The various predecessor churches of today’s modern church made of bricks and concrete burnt down again and again. The immediate predecessor church was badly damaged in 1945, rebuilt, and finally blown up in 1968. Construction of the current church began in 1969 (laying of the foundation stone), and it was finally consecrated on 20 December 1970.

This modern church also has little in common with the mostly medieval churches on this website except for the round tower, and it too is included here for completeness. The ground plan is particularly unusual in that not only the tower but also the nave is built in an (almost) round shape, for the east wall of the nave is straight. This is the main front seen from the street, it is full height glass. Two portals with metal doors form the entrances. The tower of exposed concrete is attached to the nave to the southeast, and has a height of 46 metres. It still houses the four bells of the previous church. The nave was built of red facing bricks.

The church is usually locked, but if you turn right from the main entrance, a sign points to the working-day chapel, which is probably always open, and from which you have a very good view into the nave of the main church.

The wide, closed interior receives light through the 3-metre-diameter glass dome in the roof above the altar island and through the glass wall of the portal front. The altar, ambo (reading desk) and tabernacle on the raised altar island are made of Roman travertine. The relics of the holy martyrs Christianus, Pius and Laurentius have been embedded in the altar stone for centuries. The tabernacle and altar cross have adorned the church since 1980. The leaded glass in the working-day chapel is worth seeing and dates from 1981.

The tower is connected to the church building only by a small corridor. The lower room of the tower is designed as a space for silence and prayer. Unfortunately, I could not photograph it because the main church was not open. In summary, I must say that the church has a surprisingly nice atmosphere for such a large, modern building.

I have taken these information largely from the “Illustrierte Pfarrgeschichte“ by Klaus Peter Schmitz linked above.

Conclusion: spectacular modern church with a surprisingly nice atmosphere

St Marien Schwelm
View into the nave
St Marien Schwelm
Organ
St Marien Schwelm
Window detail