Chronicle of the University Church of St Paul (1240 - 1968)
Produced by Professor Dr Martin Petzoldt, former First University Preacher, University of Leipzig. Submitted on behalf of the Advisory Board for University Worship; updated and supplemented 2009 ff. by the Foundation 'University Church of St. Paul, Leipzig'.

Consecration of the Dominican Monastery Church at Leipzig, founded in 1229 by Archbishop Wibrand of Magdeburg

University Preachers are being called from this date onwards (possibly earlier) at the 1409 founded University of Leipzig.

10 October 1543
First use of the Paulinerkirche as the assembly hall of the University

12 August 1545 (Wednesday after the 10th Sunday after Trinity)
Six months before his death, Martin Luther (1483-1546) preaches on Luke 19.41-8 at the rededication of the church as the Protestant University Church. Use of the church on high festivals of the church year, for quarterly orations, for graduation ceremonies and as university assembly hall, for example for the annual change of the Rectorate on 31 October (Reformation Day).

Beginning of the Monday College of Preachers, held until 1870, where students from all faculties were formed in the art of free speech.

Beginning of the Thursday College of Preachers, until about 1820

Lifting of the foundation stone of St Paul's Church for the safety work by the city wall necessitates shortening of the choir

The Faculty of Theology attempts to introduce regular worship in the University Church on Sundays and festivals for those connected with the University.

1709 - 1712
Restoration of the church and construction of the Baroque West Portal

31 August 1710 (11th Sunday after Trinity)
Beginning of regular church services on Sundays and feast days. Theology professor Olearius D. Gottfried (1672-1715) preaches on Luke 18.9-14, J. S. Bach, later Director of Music at St Thomas, continues to be responsible for the so-called 'old-style worship' on dates of the year already committed.

Construction of a new platform for doctoral disputations

Beginning of the activity of the Sorb-Wendish College of Preachers

16 and 17 December 1717
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) examines the newly built Scheibe organ, which he could 'not praise highly enough, particularly the rare stops'.

11 June 1719 (1st Sunday after Trinity)
August Hermann Francke of Halle preaches on 1 John 4.16-21, the Sunday epistle, before 'a large crowd of people'. Francke is said to have preached for an hour and three quarters.

18 October 1727
First performance of Bach's 'Trauerode' (BWV 198) during the memorial service for the wife of the Saxon Elector Eberhardine Christiane (1671-1727).

26 March 1728
First Good Friday Vespers Sermon preached by Professor Dr Johann Gottlob Pfeiffer, endowed by Johann Florens Rivinus

21 October 1729
First performance of Bach's motet 'Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf' (BWV226), led y J. S. Bach himself on the occasion of the memorial service for the late Thomas School Principal and professor at the University poeseos, Johann Heinrich Ernesti (1652-1729).

Construction of the baroque pulpit on the third pillar on the east side by Valentin Schwarzenberger (1693-1754)

25 August 1739
Anniversary celebration of the Reformation in the University Church with a speech by Professor Friedrich Christian Börner and a Latin ode by Johann Gottlieb Görner

Termination of use of the church outside of worship by the university. It remains open for worship on Sundays and feast days and as a practice room for preachers' societies of the University, and later for the Homiletic-Liturgical Seminar of the Theological Faculty.

7 November 1847
Lying in state and memorial service of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-47)

10 November 1862
Beginning of the College of Preachers of St Paul in Leipzig, which continues until 2007

1891 - 1897
Restoration of the university complex in the Neo-Renaissance style and of the University Church in Gothic Revival style, designed by the city building director Arwed Rossbach (1844-1902)

11 June 1899 (2nd Sunday after Trinity)
Rededication of the University Church with a sermon by the First University Preacher D. Georg Rietschel (1842-1914) on 2 Corinthians 13.8

Max Reger (1873-1916) becomes University Director of Music

4 and 5 December 1943
Removal of fire bombs from the attic of the University Church. The First University preacher Professor Dr Alfred Dedo Müller (1890-1972) along with some theology students and forced labourers, risk their lives. This will keep the University Church from destruction.

31 October 1945
Planned reopening of the University after the Second World War in the University Church. This did not take place.

Contractual arrangements for the shared use of the University Church by the Roman Catholic Parish of the Holy Trinity. They had lost their church near the new town hall in the December 1943 bombing of Leipzig and had celebrated mass here since then by the willingness of the two Protestant University Preachers.

20 February 1949
During the University Service on Sexagesimae Sunday Professor Alfred Köbler (1912-70) is inducted into the office of University Organist by the First University Preacher Professor D. Alfred Dedo Müller.

4 April 1968
Performance of the St Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach by the University Choir under the baton of music director Hans-Joachim University Rotzsche

11 April 1968 (Maundy Thursday)
University Service. Preacher: Dr Hartmut May

12 April 1968 (Good Friday)
University Service. Preacher: Dean Professor Dr Ernst-Heinz Amberg

14 April 1968 (Easter Day)
University Service. Preacher: Second University Preacher Professor Dr Ernst Sommerlath (1889-1983)

21 April 1968 (Low Sunday)
University Service. Preacher: First University Preacher Professor Dr Heinz Wagner (1912-94)

28 April 1968 (Misericordias Domini)
University Service. Preacher: Dr Wolfram Böhme

3 May 1968
Service on the Dies of the University

5 May 1968 (Jubilate)
University Service. Preacher: Dean Professor Dr Ernst-Heinz Amberg

7 May 1968
The Politburo of the SED in Berlin decides that the university church in Leipzig is to be demolished.

12 May 1968 (Cantate)
University Service

16 May 1968
Meeting of all the political powers. The rector of the university, Professor Dr Werner also invites the Dean of the Faculty of Theology. It comes to a confrontation between the First Secretary of the District Administration of the SED, Paul Fröhlich, and the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Professor Dr Ernst-Heinz Amberg.

17 May 1968
Meeting of the Senate of the Karl Marx University. Adoption of a letter of thanks to Walter Ulbricht. Protest of the Theological Faculty by the Dean Professor Dr Ernst-Heinz Amberg, against the demolition of the University Church. This reads: 'As Dean of the Faculty of Theology I present the unchanged attitude of all Council members of the theology faculty. I bring to your attention once again our view on the problem of the university church. As we have said several times: We can only say an unequivocal 'no' to the planned demolition the University Church. For this reason, I cannot endorse here in the Senate a declaration of intent accepting and welcoming a new building, which requires the demolition of the University Church.'

19 May 1968 (Rogate)
University Service. Preacher: Dr Helmar Junghans

21 May 1968
Last meeting of the Homiletic-Liturgical Seminar with University Service. Preacher: Martin Petzoldt, a student in the Theology Faculty, on Colossians 4.2-6

22 May 1968
Students Johannes Hassenrück and Helga Salomon are arrested for a leaflet campaign against the new Constitution of the GDR

23 May 1968 (Ascension Day)
9.30 a. m.: Last service of the University congregation. Preacher: First University Preacher Professor Dr Heinz Wagner on Acts 1.1-11. Shortly after 3 p. m. the 15th Meeting of the Leipzig Town Council in the New Town Hall adopts the printed matter No. 64 'Concept of the City of Leipzig until 1970', which included the demolition of the University Church, according to Decision No. 120 with one vote against. 5 p. m.: Mass in the Roman Catholic priory church, then hermetic sealing off of the church, the Augusteum and the surrounding area.

24 May 1968
The Dean of the Theological Faculty, Professor Dr Ernst-Heinz Amberg, the first university preacher, Professor Dr Heinz Wagner and a few employees, and a small number of members of the priory church and the university organist may enter the church again to collect sacred items and personal property.

24 to 28 May 1968
Rash improper work on the recovery of some 100 precious sculptures, epitaphs and of the late Gothic altar without the assistance of professionals. Ten works of art are recovered from the main university building. The Leibniz memorial is moved to a yard in Stötteritzer Street. According to eye witnesses the stone slabs on the church floor are opened, tombs of approximately 800 professors, Saxon princes, noblemen and mayors of the City of Leipzig are inspected. Valuables are removed and human remains transferred to an unknown place.

29 May 1968
Urgent telegram from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meissen, Dr Otto Spülbeck, to Chairman Walter Ulbricht, 'The decisions of the City of Leipzig on 23 May 1968 on the planning of the city centre have withdrawn within two hours from the Catholics of Leipzig and the provost of the university community, the use of the church with no termination date having been given. As they have been in use since 1946, with mutual contractual obligations, the undersigned, as a former provost and counterparty and as the competent bishop, claims protection of tenant rights and asks for suspension of the decision regarding the University Church in order to review the planning and to secure the rights of legal tenants. I also register my concern and the concern of the Catholic population of the city of Leipzig and my diocese about the approach.'

30 May 1968

Sprengung der Universitätskirche St. Pauli am 30. Mai 1968 gegen 10 Uhr

10 a. m.: Demolition of the University Church of St Paul, Leipzig at the behest of the SED
Courtesy of Universitätsarchiv Leipzig

29 May 2009
The First University Preacher Professor Dr Martin Petzoldt, receives the restrike of the historic Paulus Medal in a ceremony at the Leipzig St Thomas Church by the Foundation 'University Church of St Paul, Leipzig'. As soon as progress in the building work permits, the medal will be included in the altar foundation stone of the reconstructed University Church St Paul in Leipzig.

6 December 2009
Second Sunday in Advent: More than forty-one years after the demolition in 1968 at the invitation of the University chaplaincy of the University of Leipzig, the Paulinerverein e. V., the Action Alliance  'New University Church St Paul' and the Foundation 'University Church of St Paul, Leipzig' the first university service is celebrated in the building site of the new  university church in Leipzig. This historic church service is held as a worthy conclusion and climax of the celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the University.  

Celebrant: Professor Dr. Rüdiger Lux, First University Preacher
Preacher: Professor Dr. Peter Zimmerling, Second University Preacher
Music: University Choir and Pauliner Baroque Ensemble unter the direction of University Music Director David Timm
J.S. Bach. Motet 'Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland' BWV 61
The music during this service was supported financially by the Foundation 'University Church of St Paul, Leipzig'.

Site of the new University Church in Leipzig (December 2009)