I have this habit of entering old churches without even knowing if its Catholic or not. Never been in trouble yet — and I don’t plan to be in one. While I was buying some stamps I asked the shopkeeper how old is the church right across their store. “Must be 6, 7 centuries”, she said. That didn’t surprised me – after all this is Heidelberg. I checked some online sources later on and she was on target. What surprised me was that the church was used by both Catholics and Protestants in the past. They were sharing it and was conducting activities simultaneously. This was made possible by a division built inside to accommodate both religion. Well, this harmonious coexistence did last for awhile but eventually the church became exclusively Protestant.
A German royalty, Rupert III, the founder of the church, was buried there in 1410. A stone sculpture made for this German king and his wife can be found inside the church. The guy comes from a long line of royalties. I tried understanding a chart about German nobility before but gave up. That was one complex family tree. What’s fascinating is that almost all of these European royalties are related. Reason why conspiracy theories flourish around how the world is ruled by these lineages of European elites.
Not far from this church is another church. The Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirch). One of the most impressive baroque building I’ve ever seen. It was built in the 1700′s. The church was trying to win back the townspeople they lost to Protestantism during its founding. They thought that such a monumental art piece would help the cause. I don’t know if it did but I’m glad they constructed the church anyway.
Such examples of architectural excellence is easily recognizable for us Filipinos because it exists in our country. Four of the UNESCO declared “world heritage” are Philippine baroque churches. But our baroque churches are unique because the Friars, learning from experience, made structural adjustments and enhancements. Since we’re often visited by earthquakes and typhoons, they focused on the foundations and structural support. This is the reason why ours is referred to as “earthquake baroque”. In some of the churches, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, designs were adapted to make the church a citadel in times of attacks from Moro raiders. Fascinating historical facts that are no longer mentioned in our history books these days.