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Matthias church at Bad Sobernheim

The St. Matthias (=Mathew) Church was built around the year 1000 by Archbishop Willigis of Mainz. Five hundred years ago its construction in late Gothic style was completed (total building period 1383-1482) with the erection of the Rubens tower with stone spire roof on the west side. Parts of the old Romanesque church are still visible in the Willigisturm. Between these two dates, the chancel (14th century) and the nave (15th century) were built to form a hall with four pilings. Additionally there is the trilateral chancel with two pilings to the East, the northern aisle with three gables and a gable end roof, the hall-like northern main entrance and the sacristy attached in the south. The figures attached to the support columns, the baptistery, different relics of wall paintings as well as tombstones dating from the 15th -17th centuries are precious details in art history. Between 1959-1969 numerous renewal and safety works were carried out. The modern tracery windows by Georg Meistermann are of special artistical importance and worth a visit. Details of the many historical artefacts can be found in brochures available in the church. Every third Wednesday of the month there is a tour at 3 p.m.

A unique attraction is the Stumm-Organ installed in the west gallery of the Matthias Church in 1738. Johann Michael Stumm (1683-1747), was an organ builder of Hunsrück who was well known far beyond his own region of Sulzbach in the Idar forest. He founded an organ building dynasty that produced more than 200 beautifully handmade instruments of excellent sound quality. The regular organ concerts in the Matthias Church are an important element in the unforgettable experience of a visit to Bad Sobernheim. Internationally renowned soloists play this full but clear sounding instrument. The artistic highlight of the year is always the Matthias Church Summer Academy's festival week. Worth seeing is also the Knights Hospitallers' "Maltesian Chapel". This was built between 1456-1465 with a little chancel and a tower and today is used as a Catholic clubhouse. Directly next to this is the Knights Hospitallers' "Maltesian Commandery" (1427), which accommodated a secondary/Latin school after 1821, then a grammar school, and since 1960 the district court. The late Gothic "Disibodenberg Chapel" dating from the 1st half of the 15th century, which belonged to the Sobernheim courtyard of the Cisterian monastery on Disibodenberg, is interesting to art historians. This chapel has the only medieval outside tympanon (a square area above the brow piece of the doorway, decorated with ornamental figures) of the region, depicting a crucifixion scene well worth seeing.

For further information: 1000 Jahre Matthiaskirche zu Sobernheim; Kunstgeschichte, Kirchengeschichte, 1000 Jahre Romanik. Presseverband der Evangelischen Kirche im Rheinland e.V. 1998
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