The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City Jerusalem, Israel close to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
What is unique about the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer:
Christians pray in the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in four different languages – Arabic, German, Danish and English. Services are conducted simultaneously in different sections of the church. After services the different language groups join together for refreshments. Some of the congregation live in East Jerusalem and even behind the security separation wall but they endeavor to reach the church for worship. There are approximately 400 members of the church congregation. The Church of the Redeemer is also the seat of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the holy Land.
What is the Lutheran Denomination
Christianity can be split into three main streams Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, Lutheran is one of the denominations within the Protestant stream. Generally speaking the Protestant movement was a rejection of the Roman Catholic Church. The Lutheran denomination follows the theology of Martin Luther the German religious reformer of the 14th and 15th century. Thus the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is sometimes referred to as a Protestant church. The church is presently under the jurisdiction of the Evangelical Church of Germany.
History of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
The church is a possible site of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified and buried but this is in dispute with several other sites in Jerusalem also thought to be the biblical one.
The current church is built on the site of the Crusader Church of Saint Mary Latina and the ruins of other churches including Saint John’s church.
The Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm received the church site as a gift from the ruler of the Ottoman Empire on his visit to Jerusalem in 1869, then later his son Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany commissioned the building of the church. The building of the Protestant church signified the cooperation of the Muslim Ottomans and the Christian Germans. In 1898 the Kaiser was present at the dedication of the church.
What to see on a visit to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
- Climb the 177 stair spiral staircase to the top of the church’s square bell tower to get an amazing view of the Old City.
- The large church organ is thought to be one of the best in the region and recitals are held regularly.
- The northern gate built in the medieval period has sculptured reliefs of zodiac signs and motifs depicting the months of the year.
- Take a look into the adjoining garden where the Order of the Knights of Saint John had their headquarters in the Crusader era.
- Part of an original Crusader gate can be seen incorporated into the northern entrance of the church the church architecture also includes other elements rescued from the original crusader structure.
- Above the entrance to the church is a carving of the “lamb of God” a Lutheran symbol. On the left is a carving of an eagle a symbol of the German Empire and on the right is the Maltese cross a symbol of the Crusader Order of Saint John. Above the entrance you can also see the Greek letters Alpha and Omega – the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet this symbolizes Gods eternity.
For a spectacular panoramic view of Jerusalem and a glimpse into one of the few Lutheran churches in Jerusalem visit the Church of the Redeemer where Christians of all nations and languages gather in worship of Jesus Christ.