The Hospital Chapel of St. John in Kelheim

The Hospital Chapel of St. John

in Kelheim in the national park Altmuehl valley

A dreary event was reason for building this chapel. When in 1231 Duke Ludwig was on his way from the market-place to the castle, he was assassinated by an unknown man under the vault of the gate-tower. The duke immediately died.
Otto the Noble, his son and successor, ordered the bridge to be pulled down and the gate to be made a chapel. This chapel was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and a hospital was founded. Duke Henry, grandson of the assassinated duke, transferred chapel and hospital together with some appropriate endowment to St. James´ Abbey in Ratisbon. The abbot founded a priory which existed until 1862 when St. James´ Abbey was dissolved after the last monk had died.
The chapel as we see it now was built in 1600; the old construction was enlarged and a small nave was added to the choir. At the northern side of the aisle there is a Romanesque porch which was part of the old building and was placed here when the building was remodelled. In its tympanum there is a Romanesque Head of our Lord.

The inscription reads:

A. D. 1231 Duke Ludwig, the first of this name in Bavaria, had reigned 47 years. He had built Landshut, Straubing, Landau. This prince was stabbed in this chapel by a madman, and so the Dukes of Bavaria founded the chapel and the priory. His father, Duke Otto, is buried in Scheyern Abbey.
Founding of hospital a. D. 1501, restored A. D. 1829 and 1883.

The interior of the small church may be the most interesting piece of architecture in Kelheim. The magnificent Renaissance stucco of the vaulted choir dates back to 1603. The baroque high altar was constructed in 1713.

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Zuletzt aktualisiert am 10.02.2017