Historical Pictures of the Ev.-Luth. Divine Service: Lübeck

Historical Pictures of the Ev.-Luth. Divine Service

A Documentation
by Helmut Schatz

English translation by Matthew Carver

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St. Mary’s Church
Museum for Art and Cultural History in Hanseatic Lübeck
“The Fredenhagen Chasuble”
Photgraph: Museum for Art and Cultural History in Hanseatic Lübeck. Fig. 24.

“The earliest altar hanging found in use, of crimson velvet, was commissioned in 1694 by councilman Thomas Fredenhagen (1627–1709, from 1692 councilman, from 1680 president of Mary’s Church) at the same time as the altar.” (Bau- und Denkmäler, p. 440, op. cit.)

“Fredenhagen spared no expense, engaged Thomas Quellinus of Antwerp, the best sculptor available, then living in Copenhagen, and imported fine marble from a great distance. In August of 1696, the construction of the altarpiece was begun. In August of 1697, the altar was in a state to be consecrated.” (Hasse, op. cit.). Inside this altar, tragically destroyed in World War II, the endower was laid to rest in 1709—a remarkable evangelical variant of medieval ideas.1 Furnishings included an offering bag of silver, candlesticks, the endower’s bust on the left side of the altar, and his coat of arms on the right.”

“[The chasuble] is embroidered on the front and both side-panels with six-inch-wide arabesques in silver trimmed with large gold flowers, and is further adorned with the endower’s heraldic insignia (two doves facing each other beneath a palm tree) embroidered in silk, gold, and silver on the front, and with the date, 1697.

“At the end of the account for the altar commissioned by Thomas Fredenhagen, it reads: ‘Paid to the silk merchant Andreas Ohm for 38 cubits2 of red velvet with linen for the altar coverings and chasuble, 360 marks. Paid to the embroiderer Hans Hanneman, to embroider the altar coverings and chasuble with gold and silver, 800 m.; to his daughter a fee of 30 m.; to his wife 10 m.: 840 m. total. Paid for a silver clasp for the chasuble, 3 m. 7 shillings. Paid for 17 3/4 cubits of Holland linen to make the priest’s alb, at 3 m. per cubit: 53 m. 4 s. Paid for 11 cubits of lace for the altar covering, at 3 m. 8 s. per cubit: 38 m. 8 s.’ (Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler, loc. cit.)

Left: “Former high altar of St. Marien in Lübeck, so-called “Fredenhagen altar” by Th. Quellinus (1696/97, demolished after 1945)” [source]; Center: “Calvary group from the Fredenhagen altarpiece, now in the ambulatory” [source]; “Part of the Fredenhagen-Altar in St. Marien, damaged in 1942, on display in St. Annen-Museum in 2009” [source] (NB: This image is not included in Schatz— TDD)

The sleeves and hem of the alb are furnished with apparels in the same style as the embroidery of the chasuble. Again, in Bau- und Denkmäler, p. 441: “Of the extraordinary number of liturgical vestments at Mary’s Church from Catholic times, only a few remnants are still preserved. These include (1) a fine silk brocade woven with red from an old chasuble. The sample shows between tightly entwined branches alternating flowers and three overlapping rings with highly polished gemstones. The material was reworked in 1760 into a new chasuble. The back is trimmed with a slender silver braid and embroidered with the name JAHWE in Hebrew letters inside a sunburst motif. Note: The use of chasubles was abolished in Lübeck on Whitsunday, 1791.”

Piepkorn (op. cit., p. 53): “The St. Anne Museum in Lübeck possesses a chasuble from the late seventeenth century originally from Mary’s Church. It was fashioned from burgundy-colored velvet and features ample baroque embroidery in gold and silver.

“On its rear (the obverse or visible side) the holy name JESUS may be read, framed by broad silver border with cherubs.

“Between this emblem and the personal insignia mentioned above, two additional angels, flying, hold in their hand a palm branch and a laurel wreath with ribbon, encircling a heart with three rays. On the front, the richly embroidered border, and in sunburst motif the name יהוה [JHWH].”

In an article, “Maria und die Heiligen im protestantischen Lübeck [Mary and the Saints in Protestant Lübeck],” in the journal Nordelbingen, vol. 34 (1965), pp. 72–81, Max Hasse states, “Aside from the loss of church silver [vessels], not much changed outwardly in the churches. The Latin chants were substantially retained and the pastors, as in Nuremberg, continued to wear the old chasubles, at least on high feast days and at the distribution of the Supper.” (Note 1: In 1740, the Castle Church retained a chasuble, an alb, and an altar covering “which were to be used whenever Communion was celebrated and on all feast days. This ordinance obtained at least to the eighteenth century.”)

Excursus: Flensburg

Fig. 24a: A few chasubles from the St. Nicholas Church in Flensburg are found among the “Museumsberg” civic museums and collections for the region of Schleswig. Thanks to the kind support of the museum, I am here able include an image of the chasuble from 1680 made from purple silk-velvet with an appliqué crucifix embroidered with gold and silver thread (hair and beard with red-brown thread) on a cross of white silk layered over linen. At the foot of the cross is a skull and crossbones, and at the head a title with initials INRI. Below the image, the year “1·6·8·0” is embroidered with stitched, woven, and lace warp braid of silver thread. (Inv. 65 / 180)

Fig. 24a. Chasuble, 1680, from St. Nicholas Church, Flensburg. Photograph: Civic Museums and Collections for Schleswig.


Ludwig Rohling, Die Kunstdenkmäler des Landes Schleswig-Holstein, Bd. 7: Die Kunstdenkmäler der Stadt Flensburg (Munich, 1955), p. 189.

Jörn Barfod, Kirchliche Kunst in Schleswig-Holstein – Katalog der Sammlung des Stadtischen Museums Flensburg (Heide, 1986), p. 130.


F. Hirsch, G. Schaumann, F. Bruns, eds., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler der Freien Hansestadt Lübeck, Bd. II: Petrikirche. Marienkirche. Heil.-Geist-Hospital. (Lübeck: Nöhring, 1906; reprinted 2001), p. 200; p. 441

Ahasver von Brandt, “Thomas Fredehagen (1627–1709), ein Lübecker Großkaufmann und seine Zeit” [Life and times of the Lübeck wholesale merchant T. F.]; in Hansische Geschichtsblätter, vol. 63 (1938), p. 125ff.

Max Hasse, Die Marienkirche zu Lübeck (Munich, 1983), p. 215f.

Wilhelm Jannasch, Geschichte des lutherischen Gottesdienstes in Lübeck (Gotha, 1928), p. 121ff.


Fig. 24a: “Fredenhagen Chasuble” from St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck [front] Photograph: Museum for Art and Cultural History in Hanseatic Lübeck.

Fig. 24b. “Fredenhagen Chasuble” from St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck [rear] Photograph: Museum for Art and Cultural History in Hanseatic Lübeck.



  1. e.g., the Seelgerät, or “donation for the benefit of one’s soul”—Author’s note.
  2. The German cubit was 57.9 cm, the Flemish cubit was 68.58 cm, the current cubit or half-yard is 45.72 cm. –MC.