Visiting Munich has many privileges itself. Restaurants, bars, sports buildings, carnivals, breweries, and other facilities are available to see in town. But, what we are going to focus on now are churches in Munich.
It is well known for my side that I am an atheist. Regardless, I always liked visiting churches everywhere I go. In my humble opinion, churches in Munich has a very big significance in German history.
They always provide some special feeling since you cross your first step into it. No matter if you are a believer or not, we are all the same in the end.
And because of that, I will always be very pleased to visit these places, especially across Munich.
Theatiner Kirche’s founders and style
The Theatiner Church is located in southern Germany in Munich. Certainly, it is one of the most famous among the churches in Munich.
The construction from this Catholic church was from 1663 to 1690, almost full three decades. In the year of 1662, a long-awaited heir to the Bavarian crown, Prince Max Emanuel is born. And for the honor of that, the church’s founders Henriette Adelaide of Savoy and Ferdinand Maria founded it.
This church is also known as the Dominican Priory of St. Cajetan because it is administered nowadays by the Dominican Friars.
The one whose idea came to realization is the Italian architect Agostino Barelli. Barelli was a Baroque-style architect. This church gained his style too.
As I know, he gained inspiration from Sant’Andrea Della Valle in Rome.
Theatiner Church has 71 meters high dome and two 66 meters high towers which weren’t originally planned. They were added on later by Enrico Zuccalli, the successor of the architect Barelli.
This building is almost 16 meters wide and 72 meters long. So, I’m sure you’ll be astonished seeing it.
Do you know why this church has so big significance in Munich?
It is because after its construction the colors of it became a worldwide known symbol for the city. Its Mediterranean appearance and yellow coloring have a big impact and influence on Southern German Baroque architecture. That influence never stopped its presence.
When you see this church for the first time, these colors will not leave your head and thoughts for a long time. That’s how astonishing it is.
And that’s why this church is so special.
History of the Theatiner Church
A lot of places worthy of visiting Munich has a huge background and long history. That is also the case with the churches in Munich too.
Throughout history, this church gained a good reputation. That reputation was going only uphill, but that unfortunately changed in the late 18th century.
During that period, an increasing decline of religious discipline and the monastery finances became visible.
Because of that, the monastery had to finish closed by the Elector Max IV Joseph, later King Max I Joseph. The official date of closing is on the 26th of October 1801, before the secularization.
For those who don’t know perhaps what it is, secularization is a process of converting something from religious to secular possession or use. Also, in some places, it can occur as disassociation or separation from religious or spiritual concerns.
Nevertheless, the Theatiner Church remained Collegiate Church and the convent attracted the remaining 3 electoral departments. Justice, Finance and Spiritual Affairs.
Before the dissolution of the monastery, in 1799, one of the departments moved into the Theatiner monastery. It was the Department of Foreign Affairs of course.
Like many other facilities in Munich, this church also went unfortunate during World War II. Particularly in the final years of the war, the church was the target from bombs. They destroyed the west wing.
Also, the altarpiece of the foundation of the church was wiped out.
But I assume that some ‘paranormal force’ looked up this church and it shined once more. Its restoration from 1946 finished nearly 10 years later.
Since then, the Dominicans have ministered at St. Cajetan. From 2001 until now, a massive rebuild has been in progress in which the Theatiner Church will get a new sanctuary design.
Interior of the church and its tombs
One of the first impressions you will possibly get from this church is from its appearance. When I looked it for the first time, I just stood in awe.
The 71 meters high cupola gives a grandiose feeling of space. It is also richly decorated with stucco and this is something that really can take the breath away.
The dark wood of the pulpit has 1681 contrasts with the white and grey tones that dominate elsewhere.
And that contrast is something I like the most when it is about this church. It is truly fascinating how it is all embedded. I can’t forget the amount of excitement I have every time I remember it.
A whole interior of the church is in white stucco. That provides a very bright appearance and sets it apart from most of the other Munich churches. The ones who are responsible for creating the statues and stucco decorations are German sculptor Wolfgang Leutner and Italian Nicolo Petri.
Around the great black altar inside, from Andreas Faistenberger, are numerous paintings. Carlo Cignani, George Desmarees, Caspar de Crayer, and Joachim Sandrart are all the names you could find up there.
When it comes to tombs at this church, many people are inside Theatiner Kirche. The first ones I got on my mind are the members of the Wittelsbach family.
There is a small chapel which contains the remains of King Maximilian II and his wife. Also, there is a crypt where their son, the prince, laid his remains.
Charles VII the Holy Roman Emperor is another person who remains laying here. The sepulture from the exiled King Otto of Greece about who I was writing is also here.
My vision of churches in Munich and religion
As I already mentioned, I am an atheist. But that is not much important indeed. What I would like to achieve is just understanding and mutual respect about everything in life.
So, religion is the same.
I know how religion is important in every person’s life. Many find their peace and inspiration to move on in it. I really don’t have anything against it.
I am aware of how big influence can it provide in people’s lives and I am always trying to understand it in the best possible way.
Hopefully, I can get that from you too. Because I think that no matter what your religion status is, what’s the most important is how people behave. And, what is in their heart.
All the Christians, Orthodox or Catholic, share the same religion. Others are Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Some are atheists like me or gnostic perhaps, but all that is every person’s private choice.
Nobody can’t take that from us and I am glad it is like that.
What I deeply want from you, my readers is to understand other’s feelings and choices they make. Regardless of their religious determination. Because everyone deserves a chance to show his qualities and eventually become your friend or maybe a partner.
No matter if they are a part of other religions or are not religious at all.
I would like to achieve that mutual respect in every part of this world, not only in Munich. Unfortunately, probably I will not be able to travel that long.
In the end, we are all humans and we will end up the same. Whether we are believers or not, hetero or homosexuals, rich or poor. So, if anyone can learn about this from me, my heart will be fulfilled with joy and peace.
Short guide around the Theatiner Church
As I have some personal experiences from visiting churches in Munich, I will try to provide you a short one for this too.
What will you find here is a delightful Rococo style exterior with creamy yellow colors. The facade is two-tiered, flanked by two towers with clock faces and rich ornamentation.
The church interior is a high Baroque style. The nave’s design is Corinthian-style columns and more stucco ornamentation. The delicately carved Baroque style pulpit is worth a look-see as are the side chapels.
You can allow yourself 10-20 minutes for visiting Theatiner Church. For nice photos of the church facade, you should walk across Odeonplatz, standing in front of Residenz.
From here, you should be able to cover the entire church in your camera lens.