An example of religious tolerance: St. Hedwig's Cathedral fascinates with its striking dome and the modern, simple interior, which is currently being rebuilt.
St. Hedwig's Cathedral to be rebuilt by 2023
St. Hedwig's Cathedral in the middle of Berlin - a church that has stood for religious tolerance throughout history. The Bishop's Church of the Archdiocese of Berlin adorns the Bebelplatz with its striking dome. The simple interior of the circular building is now being renovated and redesigned in order to be able to celebrate future church services according to the liturgical guidelines of the Second Vatican Council.
The first Catholic church building in Reformed Berlin
St. Hedwig's Cathedral is the first Catholic church after the Reformation in Protestant Berlin. The Prussian King Frederick the Great allowed the construction of the rotunda after the model of the Pantheon in order to provide a reference for the Catholic Silesians in Berlin. Friedrich also donated the building site on the Forum Friderizianum, the new representative square next to the opera house and library. Between 1747 and 1773, St. Hedwig was built by Johann Boumann the Elder according to plans by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff.
The diocese of Berlin is founded in 1930. St. Hedwig becomes a bishop's church and its interior is redesigned in an expressionist style. After the destruction of the rotunda after an air raid in World War II, reconstruction begins in 1952. The interior is redesigned by the architect Hanns Schwippert.
Since 2010, the cathedral has been in increasing need of renovation. Today's liturgical celebration of the services according to the specifications of the Second Vatican Council is complicated by the wide floor opening with wide stairs in the centre of the cathedral. In November 2013, the Archdiocese of Berlin therefore launched a competition for a new spatial concept. Among the 169 designs received, the jury decided in favour of the proposal by Sichau & Walter Architekten GmbH/Fulda and Leo Zogmayer/Vienna. The new church will no longer have a wide circular floor opening, but the altar in the centre, around which the community will gather. An archaic but convincing thought.
Resistance under National Socialism: Cathedral provost Bernhard Lichtenberg
Bernhard Lichtenberg has been provost of the cathedral since 1938. He opposes National Socialist terror, prays publicly for persecuted Jews and condemns the euthanasia program. After his arrest, he dies after two years in prison when he is transferred to a concentration camp. In 1996 Pope John Paul II beatified Bernhard Lichtenberg during his visit to Berlin. In 2004, the Yad Vashem memorial honoured him as a "righteous among the nations".
The Cathedral Forum: Open for visitors
The Bernhard-Lichtenberg-House is located right next to the church. Here is the Cathedralforum St. Hedwig, a meeting place for Berliners and their guests. Discussions and meditations, grief counseling and retreats as well as a permanent exhibition invite you to meet and get to know each other. The small bookshop offers Christian books and gifts and visitors can talk to the volunteers over a cup of coffee.
The Forum will remain open for the time being during the construction phase (Mon-Sat from 11-17.30) and will also provide information about the conversion.
Services of the congregation St. Hedwig in St. Joseph
Until the end of the reconstruction measures in 2023, the services of the Metropolitan Chapter will be celebrated in the church of St. Joseph im Wedding in Berlin Mitte.
Sankt Joseph, Müllerstraße 161, 13353 Berlin, Near S+U Wedding (S41, S42, U6)
Mon - Fri 08.00 am
Mon - Fri 06.00 pm
Sa | Sat 08.00 am
Sun 08:00 a.m.
*) on the 1st Sunday of each month in Latin.
Friday: 05.00 p.m.- 05.45 p.m.
Organ concerts and church music
The cathedral music is also temporarily at home in Sankt Joseph im Wedding. The wide repertoire of the choir of St. Hedwig's Cathedral ranges from classical vocal polyphony to modern music. The focus is on the Mass settings of the Classical and Romantic periods.
Every 1st Sunday of the month an organ evening takes place at 7.30 p.m. and on Saturdays an organ matinee of half an hour takes place in St. Joseph at 12 noon. (Admission free)
Further concerts and performances of the choir of St. Hedwig's Cathedral in St. Joseph's Church can be found on the website.
Sights near St. Hedwig's Cathedral
Memorial to the burning of books by Micha Ulmann
State Opera Unter den Linden
Under the lime trees
Find further information here