Guide to the church of St. Andreas

Historical survey



Archbishop Bruno, Duke, the brother of Emperor Otto I (the Great) founded the collegial-church of St. Andrew in the second half of the 10th century. It was an early Romanesque church with a crypt, of which parts may still be seen in today's crypt. His second successor, Archbishop Gero, consecrated the church on the 3rd of May 974, dedicating it to St. Andrew and all the Apostles of Christ. There had already been a church on the same site in the 9th century dedicated to St. Matthew.
The building of the present church in late Romanesque style was begun about the year 1200. It was erected as a basilica with three aisles and supporting piers, with a western facade situated in front, a tower at the crossing and a long choir. The transepts end in apses, which were at one time connected to vestibules on the east side through which the faithful entered the church.
In the 14th century the walls of the side aisles were broken through and Gothic chapels were added. In the 15th century the Romanesque eastern choir was pulled down and the crypt demolished as a new choir was built in high Gothic style.

Romanesque style


Romanesque churches are typified by the cross-form of the ground plan, as well as a variety of structural forms, the great number of towers and with elements of fortification. The heavenly Jerusalem is reflected as a sacred castle. The western facade in particular has a fortress-like character, because the side of the setting sun was regarded as a gateway of darkness and the forces of evil.
The strong walls stand for the temporal powers, whose purpose is to protect the Church. To the east, towards the rising sun, the altar rises, representing Christ, the light of the world. In the nave, between the western facade and the eastern choir, protected by the temporal and spiritual powers, the congregation is seated.
Through the use of animal and foliage motifs in the architecture, the whole of creation is drawn into the church; thus freed from idolatry and demonism, nature is dedicated to the praise and glorification of God the creator. An increasing veneration of saints led to the construction of crypts which were to facilitate direct access to their graves and relics.

Gothic style



In St. Andrew's Church there are Romanesque as well as gothic elements. The side chapels were added in gothic style. When viewing the whole church the two different styles are easily distinguishable. The gotic style seem lighter than the Romanesque style. The high choir is built in the gothic style. Gothic style tries to transmit to the senses an experience of the heavenly Jerusalem. Heaven with its multitude of angels and saints is brought into the world by "dissolution" of the walls, light transparent windows.

(Ground plan: Pop-Up; please place the two windows the one next the other)

Mural paintings


During the Middle Ages, when most people were not able to read, the pictures on walls, altars and windows served as a means of transmitting bible knowledge and the teachings of the church. St. Andrews possesses several mural paintings. They are now only partially preserved, for instance, in the second chapel of the north side aisle and in the chapels of the south side aisle. Particularly worth noting are (1) the depiction of the Redeemer and Judge, (2) the Coronation of the Virgin, (3) the Last Judgement and (4) the head of St. Paul. An excellent example can be seen in the first chapel of the north side aisle:

(5) In this Gothic mural of about 1325 the Life of the Virgin is depicted in four panels, one above the other. At the bottom one can see the Crucified Christ, on His right the Virgin Mary supported by St. John the Evangelist, next to her St. Peter and St. Ursula. To the left of Christ the apostle Philippus, next to him St. Lambertus and St. George. The picture above shows the Adoration of the three Magi, with servants and their horses behind them. The next picture above this is divided into three scenes: The Annunciation, the Virgin visiting Elisabeth and the Birth of Christ. The uppermost picture in the pointed arch shows the Coronation of the Virgin by Jesus Christ, surrounded by angels.


(6) Madonna of the Rosary
The Madonna of the Rosary, a statue originating from the former Dominican Priory is placed on the pillar of the crossing and is one of the first figurative representations of the rosary motif, a Cologne work dated 1474.
(7) Crucifix Jesus on the cross, his mother and John the Evangelist (15th century)
(8) St. Michel, the archangel. The statue is a 15th century piece by the Cologne wood-carver Tilman.
(9) St. Christopher A larger-than-life statue of St. Christopher, the protector of travellers, stands at the entrance. It is also thougt to be one of Tilman's pieces (about 1490).
(10) Crucifix A wooden crucifix from the early 16th century which is venerated by many visitors.
(11) St. Andrew Sculpture of the patron saint of the church, the apostle St. Andrew, 18th century.
(12) According to the inscription on the so-called reservoir of St. Ursula, her blood flowed over its sides (15th century).
(13) The Entrance Porch was designed by Karl M. Winter in 1963. The Nativity and the Passion of Christ are represented in the centre encircled by the peoples of the world. The octagon represents figures from the Old Testament with whom God had made a convenant.



(14) Altarpiece of the Rosary - Brotherhood, also called "the Madonna with the mantle" (by the Master of St. Severin, about 1510-1515). The picture was painted at the inspiration of the Emperor Maximilian at that time as gratitude for the delivery of the city from a threatening siege. At the same time it commemorates the reestablishment of the Rosary-Brotherhood by the Dominicans on September the 8th, 1474, who had urgently exhorted the city councillors and citizens to beseech the help of Mary through the prayer of the Rosary. Mary is shown on the Altarpiece as Queen of the Rosary and protectress of the Rosary brotherhood. The child in her arms is playing with the rosary she is wearing round her neck. Angels are holding three wreaths of red and white roses over her head as a crown. Her wide spread mantle is being held on the left by St. Dominic and on the right by St. Peter of Milan, the patron saint of the Cologne brewer's guild. On the left there are the religious members of The Rosary-Brotherhood together with the Pope. On the right there are the secular members together with the Emperor's family and the representatives of the brewer's guild, all being under the protective cover of Mary's mantle. St. Dorothy is depicted on the far left and St. Cecilia on the far right.
(26) Triptychon by Barthel Bruyn, (1493-1555). Centre panel: Crucifixion; left wing: Pope Urban and St. Ulrich; right wing: Martyrdom of St. Andrew.
(27) Resurrection of Christ (1551) Centre panel: Resurrection of Christ, with donor kneeling below; left wing: Ascension of Christ; right wing: The Holy Spirit descending
(15) Representation of the Last judgement (1573) in restoration
(16) Crucifixion of St. Andrew (1658). Altarpiece from the former baroque high altar. The saint is tied to the diagonal cross.
(18) Albert the Great as bishop (by J. Hülsmann, mid 17th century). The saint is depicted in the foreground wearing the vestments of a bishop, pointing to the destroyed Dominican Holy Cross Priory in which he had commissioned the choir.


(19) The Apostle Reliquary in Gothic style from the end of the 14th century. Apostles can be seen around it with Christ and St. Mary. It contains a relic of St. Andrew's arm.

(20) The Maccabees Reliquary houses the skulls of the seven Maccabean brothers and their mother who were martyred in the 2nd century BC for their faith in the Jewish law. The reliquary was created by Peter Hanemann between 1520 and 1527 for the preservation of the remains of the Maccabean brothers. It shows scenes of their sufferings parallel to the life of Jesus: the story of the transport of their relics from Milan to Cologne; Christ's Ascension to heaven and the Assumption of the Maccabean brothers with their mother; the coronation of their mother and also of the Virgin Mary; the four evangelists, Christ, the Virgin Mary and St. Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, who was responsible for the exhumation of the relics; and Bishop Reinald von Dassel, who had the relics transported to Cologne.


Other things of interest

(21) St. Albert's Window executed in 1954 depicts scenes from St. Albert's life (1200-1280), as a Dominican, a philosopher, a theologian, a naturalist, from his childhood up to his death, including his activities as a professor, as a provincial of his order, as a peacemaker and as a bishop.
(22) The Tabernacle dates from the l0th century and depicts the Gift of Manna, the Last Supper and St. Matthew and St. Andrew, the church's patron saints.
(23) The Sanctuary Lamp from the 18th century is in the Rococo style and ornamented with dragons. The Sanctuary Lamp is rekindled annually from the Easter Candle and it signifies the presence of the Risen Christ in the Tabernacle.
(24) The Windows in the Sanctuary date back to 1895 and 1918 and are depicting the effects of participation in the Eucharist: the adoration of the Holy Trinity; works of compassion, both in the spiritual and in the physical realms; its effects on souls in purgatory; protection and salvation for those suffering and dying (apostles, martyrs and the Cologne saints).
(25) The Choir Stalls date from 1480 and depict prophets, dressed in Burgundian costumes, the Cologne saints, grotesque hybrid animal faces. Above the choir stalls there are groups of prophets and angelic musicians depicted on stone consoles.




(28) Pièta
The Pièta, a woodcarving from the beginning of the 14th century. It originates from the former Dominican Priory Holy Cross. Many people come here trusting their troubles to the sorrowing Mother.

The crypt

The crypt belongs to the oldest part of the church. Having been destroyed in the 15th century, it sank into oblivion, until it was rediscovered in 1953. The style of the fifties marks the character of the crypt today. Only the part around the grave of St. Albert gives us some idea of its original appearance. On the eastern pilaster of the burial chapel, remains of medieval murals can be seen (canons at prayer). The altar, ambo and the stele of the tabernacle were created by Egino Weinert. In the middle of the northern wall, there is a relief with the representation of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Triptychon (1560) group of the Crucifixion before a landscape of Jerusalem, the kneeling figure in front of the Virgin is the donor; left wing: St. Jerome; right wing: St. Francis


The burial chapel of St. Albert

A Roman sarcophagus from the 3rd century AD holds the relics of St. Albert (1200-1280). In the west of the chapel a Latin inscription has been put up which in translation reads:
Here lies St. Albert the Great, doctor of the Church, born 1200, received into the order of preachers 1223, Professor of theology in Paris and Cologne 1248, Bishop of Regensburg 1260-62, died on 15th November 1280, canonized by Pope Pius XI on 16th October 1931.
Rejoice, happy and holy Cologne, above all other places you alone deserved to hold within your walls the radiating light and fame of all Germany.

On 15th November 1980, the 700th anniversary of the death of St. Albert, Pope John Paul II undertook a pilgrimage to Cologne to the grave of the saint, whom he highly venerates.







Edited by the Dominicans of St. Andrews
Komödienstrasse 6-8, 50667 Köln
Tel. +49 (0)221 / 1 60 66 - 0
Fax +49 (0)221 / 1 60 66 - 18

Graphics: Renate Friedländer

Cologne, December 2002