It was in the year 1440 that Emperor Frederick III had a little Corpus Christi chapel erected in the former Jewish quarter of Graz. The Dominicans, to whom the chapel had been turned over by Frederick, added a three-nave late Gothic church with a long, narrow chancel. Gothic architecture and the former cloister in the south with its partly preserved ribbed vault even today remind of the Dominican period in the history of the building. But the Dominicans themselves had to leave their monastery. In 1585 the church was made the municipal parish church by order of Archduke Charles II. The former parish church, today’s cathedral, had been turned over to the Jesuits.
The gorgeous altars from the Baroque period were replaced by neo-Gothic ones in the 19th century.
The Baroque Johannes Nepomuk Chapel, however, has been preserved. It was erected by Josef Hueber on an oval ground plan, and today contains the former altarpiece of the high altar “Mariae Himmelfahrt” ascribed to the Venice painter Tintoretto.
A bomb explosion in Word War II destroyed, among other things, the Gothic stained-glass windows in the chancel. Albert Birkle, an artist from Salzburg, was commissioned with making new ones. They predominantly depict the Passion but also the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The organ of Stadtpfarrkirche is among the best in Styria. It was built in 1970 by the company Rieger from Vorarlberg. You can hear the organ play at services, at organ concerts and in summer as “Mittagsklänge” (sounds at noon) inviting to a pause in the rush of the city.
Coming back to the tower: what seems to be so solid is just a wooden roof turret, richly decorated with stucco and a splendid copper cupola. The eyecatcher in Herrengasse was designed by Joseph Stengg and built around 1780.
A Window inside.
The stained-glass window by Albert Birkle made headlines in the fifties.The faces of Hitler and Mussolini are in the windows.
Birkle, whose works were regarded as
“degenerated art” in the Nazi era, shows the
two dictators side by side with Christ’s tormentors.
Hitler and Mussolini are on the top right .