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Worship in the University Church of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig was founded in 1409 in the refectory of the monastery of the Augustinian Canons of St Thomas. No later than 1419 it begins to appoint its own preachers. On 10 October 1547, under the first rector of the Reformation and post-Reformation period, Caspar Borner (1492-1547), the St Paul's Church also comes into use as an assembly hall of the university. In 1768, exactly 200 years before the destruction of the church, the university terminates the use of the church for purposes other than worship. It remains to use for worship on Sundays and feast days as well as as a practice room for preachers and societies of the University, and later for the Homiletic-Liturgical Seminar of the Theology Faculty. Preachers in the church services were traditionally the professors of the Theological Faculty. The offices of the First and Second University Preacher were held respectively by the Professors of Practical and Systematic Theology.


During World War II the first university preacher Dr Alfred Dedo Müller (1890-1972) risked his own life and removed together with some theology students and workers incendiary bombs from the attic of the University Church. Thereby the home of university worship was saved from destruction. In 1968, the Dean of the Theology Faculty Professor Dr Ernst Heinz Amberg protested against the threat of destruction by explosive demolition, ultimately in vain.




Nave of the University Church of St Paul with baroque pulpit and organ
Photo capture only a few days before demolition of the church 1968

After the demolition of the University Church on 30 May 1968 religious services continued in the on Sundays and feast days of the ecclesiastical year in the Nikolai Church, now referred to as 'Academic Services'. Since 1992, they are once again called 'University Services'. The university chaplaincy still exists and has tradition of worship within the university, which is unique in the whole of Germany. The demolition of the University Church was meant to destroy especially the university chaplaincy: the church building fell, but the parish is alive!


Professor Martin Petzoldt, who had been First University Preacher since the 1998/99, handed over his office Professor Dr Rüdiger Lux in early September 2009. At the same time Daniel Beilschmidt succeeded Professor Dr Christoph Krummacher as University Organist.


The Foundation expresses its special, deep bond with the tradition of University Services through the symbolic award of the restruck historical Paulus Medal to the First University Preacher. The aim is that, once the construction progress allows it, the bronze medal is incorporated in the altar stone of the church and that the University Church of St Paul once again becomes the home of the University Service.


The Foundation 'University Church of St Paul, Leipzig' will assist within its financial means in continuing the worship tradition to remain active. It also supports the concerns to restore the baroque pulpit by Valentin Schwarzenberger as soon as possible to its original location. The foundation considers the pulpit as a cultural heritage of national ranking and as a prominent symbol of the free and uncensored word. On this pulpit Nobel Peace laureate Nathan Söderblom and  the first Bishop of Saxony, Ludwig Heinrich Ihmels, proclaimed God's Word. The Revd Dedo Müller, the Revd Ernst Sommerlath, Siegfried Schmutzler, the Revd Gordian Landwehr OP and many others preached against the zeitgeist of the GDR. Thus it is a memorial, which is both worthy and essential. The Foundation strongly supports the financial commitment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony and the Paulinerverein to fund the cost of restoration and installation of this pulpit on this historic site. The historic altar had been salvaged and was placed in the church of St Thomas.


The Paulineraltar of the University Church of St Paul in Leipzig, salvaged before the demolition in 1968