Monday, August 07, 2017

A Visit to Innsbruck (4): Kapuzinerkirche and Spitalskirche

The rather unassuming facade of the Capuchin church in the center Innsbruck, the Kapuzinerkloster, might cause one to pass right by it, and yet I have been told that this is the first church of the Order in the German-speaking part of Europe. It was endowed by Archduke Ferdinand II and his second wife Anna Katharina Gonzaga in 1593. The hermitage of Archduke Maximilian III was built onto the north side of the church in 1615. Appropriated by the Nazis in 1940, the monastery was re-established after the War. (Notes adapted from the sign posted outside the monastery.) In keeping with Franciscan poverty combined with postconciliar austerity, the church is quite plain, but it houses a treasure: a second painting of Our Lady by Lucas Cranach the Elder, this one of the nursing Madonna.

The altar piece is unusual.

Two Capuchin martyrs from the Missions

The Spitalskirche, or "Hospital Church," is closer to the heart of the city, on one of the busiest streets. Unfortunately, it appears that most people pass it by -- and indeed, I just heard in recent days that an announcement has been made that regular liturgies will be discontinued in this church, although it will remain open to the public during the day. It can be seen on the right side of this photo, and then, on the next day (when the weather had changed), directly from the side:

This church was built by the Innbruck Baroque architect Johann Martin Gumpp in 1700-1701, adjacent to a city hospital from 1307 that was later converted into a school. An earlier church stood on this spot from 1320. Again, in keeping with the Austrians' love of Our Lady, this church houses an icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel, from Genazzano, Italy. It is located at the left side altar, surmounted by a crucifix, behind which is an old oil painting that displays the city of Innsbruck in the late Middle Ages.

To me, one of the most charming aspects of this little church is the placement of the busts of the twelve Apostles around the perimeter of the building, with a symbol of martyrdom for each, and a scroll with his name in case the symbol wasn't enough. Predictably, the pulpit on the wall caught my attention. This pulpit is even further along the side of the church than is typically the case, at least in the churches I saw in Innsbruck. It's a bit difficult to see it as connected in any way with the sanctuary.

One has to feel sorry for any organist who is stuck playing THIS instrument, which was clearly designed for musicians who never suffer from claustrophobia:

As I looked up at the ceiling, I noticed some modern frescoes -- there was no indication of the date, but the style clearly suggests the past century, from the blockish clumsiness and weirdness. My friend and guide was of the opinion that they are from about 1964.

Nevertheless, it is a lovely little church that does not deserve to be shut down. It would make a good chapel for the FSSP or the ICKSP. Perhaps when Innsbruck gets a new bishop (the see has been vacant for 2 years now), he will be forward-looking enough to entrust the church to a new generation of post-modern tradition-loving Catholics.

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