Informationen zur Paulusmedaille für den Altargrundstein der Universitätskirche St. Pauli zu Leipzig

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Portrait medal of St Paul for the altar stone and as a Thank You to Donors
To mark the 600 anniversary of the University of Leipzig and the recovery of the University Church in Leipzig, the Foundation commissioned a restrike of a portrait medal of the Apostle Paul in a strictly limited edition of 250 individually numbered pieces. The original was found in 1643 during the restoration of the choir room, when the original foundation stone was exposed. On 29 May 2009, the first anniversary of its founding, the Foundation commissioned medal number 1 to the university chaplaincy, with the intention to include it in a formal ceremony in the altar foundation stone of the new University Church of St Paul.  


Portrait medal of St Paul, produced by the Foundation 'University Church of St Paul, Leipzig'



History of Paulus Medal
The original was produced at the end of the fifteenth century / early sixteenth century in an unknown Roman workshop. Dominican friars probably brought this medal from Italy to Leipzig. According to the current state of research, it was introduced in 1519 during reconstruction work in the foundation of the church. In 1643 due to the devastation of the Thirty Years War, the fortifications of the city wall in front of the choir of the church had to be renewed, so the choir was shortened again. On this occasion the foundation stone was lifted and the medal was found. The area, where it was found, belonged to the original choir of the church from the thirteenth century. The 'Leipzig Chronicon' of Master Jacob Johann Vogel (1660-1729) of 1696 reports the finding of the medal as follows:

Darstellung der Paulusmedaille aus: „Leipzigische Chronicon" des Magisters Johann Jacob Vogel von 1696

Representation of the historical Paul medal from the 'Chronicon Leipzig', Magister Johann Jacob Vogel (1696)



The obverse of the medal depicts a profile portrait of the Apostle Paul surrounded by a halo. Circling it is the inscription 'PAVLVS APOSTOLVS VAS ELECTIONIS': 'Paul, an apostle, vessel of election'. On the other side of the medal is Psalm 67.27 f. (Vulgate) slightly reworded. Translated it reads: 'Praise the Lord God in the height of the fountain in front of Israel. There is Benjamin, the youngest, in rapture.' The apostle Paul belonged to the tribe Benjamin, the youngest of Jacob's sons. Its name in Latin means 'the little man'. The special relationship of patronage is primarily due to the Dominicans, who liked to use this self-deprecating description for themselves, although the Order of Preachers was soon to become the most powerful among the pre-Reformation religious orders. For Martin Luther Paul was the main biblical witness for the Reformation, which makes his patronage particularly valuable for the evangelical preaching and teaching. There are several copies of the bronze medal in Europe, including one in the Numismatic Collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden. More recent research findings estimate the Dresden Paulus Medal may be the original recovered  at Leipzig.


The replica commissioned by the Foundation was marked with the following addition to the original text: 'SVB PATRONATV PAVLI APOSTOLI' (in the upper half) and '1229 * 1409 * 1545 * 2009' (in the lower half). The dates recall the year of the founding of a monastery, the year of the founding of the University of Leipzig, the year of the consecration of the University Church of St Paul by Martin Luther and the year of the 600th anniversary of the university.  




Handling over the portrait medal of St Paul  
by the Vice Chairman Superintendent Martin Henker (right) to the First University Preacher
Professor Dr Martin Petzoldt (left) on 29 Mai 2009 in the St Thomas Church in Leipzig