Jesuit Church

Ziegelhäuser Landstraße 3,  69120 Heidelberg
Open 24 hours

The Jesuit Church (real name: Parish Church of the Holy Spirit and St. Ignatius) is the largest and most important church in Heidelberg next to the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit) and forms the architectural focal point of the former Jesuit quarter in the Old Town in the immediate vicinity of the University Square. Today it is the main church of the Roman Catholic Heilig-Geist-Geist-Gemeinde in Heidelberg.

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In 1685, the Electoral Palatinate fell to Elector Philipp Wilhelm (1685-90) of the Palatinate-Neuburg Catholic line; he led the Catholic Church back to the Palatinate and called the Jesuits to Heidelberg. After the destruction of Heidelberg by the French in 1693, Elector Johann Wilhelm (1690-1716) wanted to make Heidelberg a center of Catholic activity with the help of the Jesuits. From 1703 to 1711 the large collegiate building was constructed and immediately afterwards the construction of the church began. The Elector provided building land, stones from the Thick Tower of Heidelberg Castle, timber from the manorial forests, sand from the moat and free transport. The plan was drawn up by the architect Johann Adam Breunig (around 1660-1727). The first phase of the construction work lasted until 1723.

Elector Johann Wilhelm died in 1716; his brother and successor Karl Philipp disputed with the Reformed Church Council over the 80th issue of the Heidelberg Catechism and the nave of the Heiliggeistkirche, as a result of which the Elector moved his residence and government to Mannheim in 1720. It was not until 1749 that construction work could be resumed thanks to the generosity of Elector Karl Theodor (1742-1799). By the following year the nave was already covered and in 1751 the façade and the vaulting were completed, but work continued until late autumn 1759. The Mannheim court architect Franz Wilhelm Rabaliatti (1716-1782), who at the same time built the Seminarium Carolinum for the Heidelberg Jesuits, supervised the construction. After the abolition of the Jesuit order in 1773, its tasks and institutions were taken over by the Lazarists from 1782 to 1793. In the following years the church served as a military hospital; since 01.11.1809 it is the parish church of the catholic parish Holy Spirit. The altar painting of the Kaulbach pupil Andreas Müller was preserved. In a crypt in the northeast corner of the church the elector Friedrich the Victorious is buried. East of the church portals is the entrance to the former Jesuit College. Originally, the Jesuit institutions included a grammar school (today the Philosophical Seminary) and the Carolinum Seminary, which is now used by the university administration.

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