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Mainz Cathedral

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Mainz Cathedral

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Date Posted:July 30th, 2005
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Description: The Cathedral of the Archbishops of Mainz Additional Info from Piranha: From Wikipedia: Mainz Cathedral, formally known in English as St. Martin Cathedral; in German Mainzer Dom, is located near the historical center and pedestrianized market square of the city of Mainz, Germany. Its red-sandstone, six-towered body commands prominence in the skyline of Mainz. This Roman Catholic cathedral is the site of the episcopal see for the Bishop of Mainz. Mainz Cathedral is predominantly Romanesque in style, later exterior additions over many centuries has resulted in the appearance of various architectural influences seen today. The interior of the cathedral houses tombs and funerary monuments of former powerful prince-archbishops of the diocese and contains religious works of art spanning a millennium. The cathedral also has a central courtyard and statues of St. Boniface and The Madonna on its grounds. History Mainz is one of the oldest episcopal sees in Germany; its first Christian community dates back as early as 200. The first cathedral of the time, during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine, was under the walls of St. John, a present-day protestant church (visible in the illustration above, sitting to the left). The construction of the medieval cathedral dates back to Archbishop Willigis (975-1010), who fostered the commerce of Mainz, an important medieval trade center. Building commenced in 975. Tragically, the cathedral burned down on the day of its inauguration in 1009. Archbishop Bardo von Oppertshafen (1031-1051) presided over the completion of the cathedral begun under Willigis. By 1037 the main portions of the body of Mainz Cathedral were complete. Most of the present day cathedral was built before the 14th century. In its prime the cathedral saw the coronation of German kings, who were subsequently crowned emperors by the Pope through the traditional political process of the Holy Roman Empire. The coronation of German kings was a rite afforded to the Archbishop of Mainz during city's status as an archdiocese from 747 until 1802 (when much of Germany was reorganized politically under Napoleonic rule). The Archbishop of Mainz held considerable secular power as a Prince-Elector within the Holy Roman Empire. It was at Mainz Cathedral on March 27, 1188, that Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, known as Frederick Barbarossa, symbolically took up the Cross and enlisted the military of the Holy Roman Empire in the Third Crusade called by Pope Gregory VIII. Mainz Cathedral has fallen victim to war damage over its long history. Prussian troops attempting to dislodge French Revolutionary forces from Mainz destroyed the east portion of the cathedral as they besieged the city in 1793. The Allies bombing of Mainz during World War II destroyed 80% of the inner city; fortunately the cathedral emerged with relatively little damage. The reconstruction of the cloister and the Chapel of St. Godhard, that had been damaged was completed in 1960.


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