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Front of the Munich court church Allerheiligen-Hofkirche.jpg
Front of the Munich court church

The Allerheiligen-Hofkirche (Court Church of All Saints) is a church in the Munich Residenz (the royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs) designed by Leo von Klenze and built between 1826 and 1837. The church was badly damaged from bombing during World War II and for decades remained a ruin before undergoing partial restoration and secularization. It is now used for concerts and events.

Munich Residenz building in Old Town, Upper Bavaria, Germany

The Residenz in central Munich is the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria. The Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and is today open to visitors for its architecture, room decorations, and displays from the former royal collections.

Leo von Klenze German architect

Leo von Klenze was a German neoclassicist architect, painter and writer. Court architect of Bavarian King Ludwig I, Leo von Klenze was one of the most prominent representatives of Greek revival style.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.



The Allerheiligen-Hofkirche was commissioned in 1825 by Ludwig I of Bavaria, inspired by the Cappella Palatina, the richly decorated Byzantine royal chapel in Palermo, where he had attended Christmas mass in 1823. [1] The commission marked a reversal of the policy of secularisation, carried out under his father Maximilian I at the beginning of the century. [2] Leo von Klenze (17841864) produced various designs between 1826 and 1828, using not only the Capella Palatina, but also St Mark's in Venice as inspiration. Even before a design had been agreed there had been a ceremonial laying of the foundation stone in 1826; and the church was completed and dedicated on October 29, 1837. [3]

Ludwig I of Bavaria King of Bavaria

Ludwig I was king of Bavaria from 1825 until the 1848 revolutions in the German states.

Cappella Palatina church

The Palatine Chapel, is the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily situated on the first floor at the center of the Palazzo Reale in Palermo, Sicily.

Byzantine architecture architectural style

Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Roman Empire.

Portal Allerheiligen-Hofkirche Muenchen-2.jpg

The church was designed with a private entrance for the king from within the Residence. [4] The public entrance faced east, towards the Marstallplatz. Above the doorway a deesis sculpted in relief is framed by a gothic wimperg, with statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on either side. [5] Inside, the nave is made up of two domes and an apse, each separated by an arch of brickwork. These, like the columns that separated the side aisles and supported the gallery, were originally richly ornamented. Heinrich von Hess with various assistants created frescoes on a gold background: the first dome had Old Testament scenes, the second Christ and the apostles, with the four evangelists in the four pendentives, and the apse showed the Trinity above a figure of Mary. [6]

Deesis artistic theme

In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis or Deisis, is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator: enthroned, carrying a book, and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and sometimes other saints and angels. Mary and John, and any other figures, are shown facing towards Christ with their hands raised in supplication on behalf of humanity.

Saint Peter apostle and first pope

Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon, or Cephas, according to the New Testament, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, leaders of the early Christian Great Church. Pope Gregory I called him repeatedly the "Prince of the Apostles". According to Catholic teaching, Jesus promised Peter in the "Rock of My Church" dialogue in Matthew 16:18 a special position in the Church. He is traditionally counted as the first Bishop of Rome‍—‌or pope‍—‌and also by Eastern Christian tradition as the first Patriarch of Antioch. The ancient Christian churches all venerate Peter as a major saint and as the founder of the Church of Antioch and the Roman Church, but differ in their attitudes regarding the authority of his present-day successors.

Apse Semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome

In architecture, an apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome, also known as an exedra. In Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic Christian church architecture, the term is applied to a semi-circular or polygonal termination of the main building at the liturgical east end, regardless of the shape of the roof, which may be flat, sloping, domed, or hemispherical. Smaller apses may also be in other locations, especially shrines.

On April 25, 1944, bombs destroyed all but the outer walls. The rich interior ornament was almost completely lost. Although other parts of the Residence were restored soon after the war, the ruined church was left to deteriorate for many years. In 1986 the decision was made to restore it. The restoration was completed in 2003, together with the recreation of an enclosed garden, the Kabinettsgarten , on its north side. [7] No attempt was made to recreate the original ornament in the restored building, which instead in its simplicity shows the architectural qualities of Klenze's design. It is now used for concerts and events, within the limits of respecting its former character as a church. [8] It is a regular concert venue for the ensemble Taschenphilharmonie.


The Kabinettsgarten is a small courtyard on the eastern side of the royal residence in Munich. The Kabinettsgarten adjoins the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche.


Taschenphilharmonie is a German orchestra, founded in 2005 by Peter Stangel. The chamber ensemble plays symphonic works in three series, with most concerts held at the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche of the Munich Residenz. In addition to concerts which juxtapose classical and contemporary music, they address children in a second series and listeners interested in the making of a composition in a third. The ensemble has styled its name first as die taschenphilharmonie.


  1. Biller and Rasp (2006), 244; according to the Bavarian palaces administration, "Allerheiligen-Hofkirche", he exclaimed, "Solch eine Schlosskapelle will ich haben!", "That's the kind of court chapel I want" (for translation see external links).
  2. Biller and Rasp (2006), 14 and 22.
  3. Biller and Rasp (2006), 244.
  4. Biller and Rasp (2006), 244.
  5. Biller and Rasp (2006), 245.
  6. Biller and Rasp (2006), 2456.
  7. Biller and Rasp (2006), 245; "Allerheiligen-Hofkirche in der Münchner Residenz wieder eröffnet", press release of the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen on the reopening of the restored church, June 3, 2003 (German).
  8. "Court Church of All Saints", information on use from the "Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen"

Further reading

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Coordinates: 48°08′26″N11°34′47″E / 48.14056°N 11.57972°E / 48.14056; 11.57972

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