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Visitor information

The church "St. Marien" is the central church of the Protestants in Lübeck. It is part of the World Heritage "Lübecker Altstadt", it is the »city church« – in the midst of the shopping area, the church for urban people, for believers and for the »curious, atheists and spiritual ramblers«, as we say. The doors are open, every day, for worship and concerts, exhibitions and bible-exploring groups, devotion and silent prayers and for spiritual welfare. For the Marienkirche is a hospitable place. Seven days a week a welcoming team of volunteers is at service giving opportunity to escape from the malls of central Lübeck. The church opens at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 to 6 p.m.  We offer a daily short act of worship, the 10-minutes service at 12.00 o'clock.

You can join our services at sunday morning at 10 o´clock. This church celebrates with the classic Lutheran liturgy. Often the service is carried by a choir, but continual by the overwhelming music of the organ played by Johannes Unger. 

This church wants to be a house of God, in the city, in contact with people out of touch of their religion, unrelated to their resident parish, but seeking something gone lost for long and suddenly coming back to mind. Almost every day a pastor attending is approachable without appointment (or by appointment at any other times during the week; phone 0451 397700).

In its central location the Marienkirche hosts major ecumenical and city events as well as elaborated projects, performing extraordinary organ compositions (e.g. »Buxtehude festival« ), the annual »Christmas Concert« of the boys choir "Lübecker Knabenkantorei" under the art direction of Karl Hänsel. But all this is centered in, motivated by and focused on delivering the gospel to people God has in mind. 

For more online-information go to wikipedia.org.


About the Lübeck Dance of Death

Dance of Death in St Mary's Church in Lübeck and the St Nicholas’ Church in Reval (Tallinn) are witnesses to a type of art popular in the Middle Ages. It shows representatives of all different estates and groups dancing with death. The Dance of Death illustrates Lübeck's role as a mediator of Western European art, for both picture and text reflect the most important of all the Dances of the Dead, the Paris Danse macabre. From Lübeck the Dance of Death continued to have an influence in northern Germany and in the Baltic region as far as Denmark, Estonia and Finland. To this day painters, composers and poets have been engaged with the old Dance of Death at St Mary’s in their search for a new image of God and understanding of life. It differs from all other Dances of Death in that it combines images of the dead with a representation of the city in the East Holstein landscape. Thus the viewer is forced not only to recognize him or herself in those represented, but also to see that here and now a mirror is held before his or her eyes in which he sees him or herself in the dance with death. In 1463 the young Bernt Notke (ca. 1430/40 - 1509) created the Death Dance frieze for the confessional chapel of St Mary’s Church. Almost life-size, 24 couples dance on a 26 m long and 1.93 m high canvas covering the walls of the chapel above the former confessional. The dancers stand at the forefront of the picture; behind them extends a landscape with a wide horizon, reminiscent of the immediate surroundings of Lübeck. A flute-player and a coffin-bearer lead the row of dancers in which a death figure alternates with a representative of the different estates - from the highest to the lowest, from the pope and emperor to the mayor and merchant to the farmer and finally to the child in a cradle. In this Dance of Death the living appear rigid and reluctant, while the skeletons of the dead jump wildly and frolicsomely and drag the figures away with them grinning. In the end, however, a scythe-wielding Death mows down all life. Linked artistically to the chain of dancers in the painting the dialogue between Death and the living unfolds below the figures in verses formerly written in Low German. In the original text Death gradually invites every dying person to dance. Most react to this with fright and lamentation and often with a request for postponement. Death, on the other hand, accuses the dying person of his sins or measures him according to his merits and draws the next one into the circle with final words. It is assumed that the spread of the popular text-picture type "Dance of Death" was promoted by the plague, which afflicted Lübeck at recurring intervals since its first appearance in the middle of the 14th century. The Dance of Death reminds the observer to use his life, which death could end abruptly at any time, for the personal salvation of the soul in the hereafter and for the community in this world. In this sense the words of the Dance of Death offer comfort, and the "Dance of Death" type of art belongs to the literature of comfort. The fragile wall covering of the Dance of Death frieze had to be repaired and painted over more frequently over the centuries. In 1701 it was so badly affected that the church painter Anton Wortmann was commissioned to copy the late medieval picture onto a new canvas and thus completely replace it. The old Low German verses were not adopted at that time; they were replaced by the baroque verses of Nathanael Schlott. In 1942 the Lübeck Dance of Death finally fell victim to the flames.


About the Reval Dance of Death

The Reval Dance of Death fragment, which can still be seen today in St Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn, is related to the Lübeck Dance of Death. The late medieval painting 1.63 m high and 7.56 m long is painted on canvas using a mixed technique of tempera and oil. The initial figures, the preacher and the bagpipe-playing Death, deviate from the Lübeck Dance of Death. The following eleven figures - the coffin-bearing Death, the Pope, the Emperor, the Empress, the Cardinal, the King and the death figures accompanying them - on the other hand, almost match those of the Lübeck frieze in posture and dress. As in that frieze the dialogue between the representatives of the different estates and Death is expressed in Low German verses, which, as in the Lübeck Dance of Death, show traces of their French and Dutch originals. The landscape background of the Reval fragments, however, is different from that of the Lübeck Dance of Death: on the Reval frieze the artist has idyllically embedded amidst hills and hedges buildings in the style of Lübeck architecture. Small scenes, not influenced by the events of the death dance in the foreground, enliven the hilly landscape in autumnal splendour. The death dance figures themselves wear precious furs and colourful brocade robes in bright shades of red, gold and brown; their faces gain in strong expressiveness by means of the contrasting colours. The narrow pictorial space underlines the monumental effect of the painting. The Reval Dance of Death shows Bernt Notke's stylistic traits characteristic of his late artistic work. Notke created the Reval frieze as a replica of his Lübeck Dance of Death for St Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn. Due to its colourfulness and above all the landscape design it can be assumed that the Reval work was painted around 1500.

For more online-information go to wikipedia.


For more information or to sign up, please contact:

Pastor Robert Pfeifer, phone 0451 3977010