Other Modern: Christus-König-Kirche in Thuine, Germany

Prompted by our last piece on the Other Modern, one of our readers sent in information about Christ the King Church (Christus-König-Kirche) located in Thuine, Germany.  The church forms a part of the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George and was consecrated in in 1929 by the apostolic nuncio of the time, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli -- the future Pope Pius XII.   

As a reminder, "Other Modern" is characterized by the harmonious blending of 'modernity' with tradition such that both aspects are manifest. In this particular instance the blend comes in relation to gothic elements primarily as well as some other influences, but they are clearly set within a more modernistic context. 

Artistically speaking, the primary focal point is the great mosaic of Christ the King rising up behind the high altar. 

This mosaic -- which is made up of more than 130,000 pieces and more than 500 different colours -- was done by Georg Poppe (1883-1963) who described the symbolism of his work accordingly:

"Christ the King is enthroned above the clouds with a gesture of blessing. The red cloak of love envelops his mighty figure in severe folds. The ... stole indicates the high priest. On his head he wears the crown of the three kingdoms heaven, earth and the underworld. His foot rests on the globe, over which the rainbow arches as a sign of peace, while the prince of strife in the shape of the dragon belonging to St. George bends over on the ground. The two holy patrons, St. George and St. Elisabeth stand as the king's paladins on his right and left. In order to make the Lord's greatness visible, they are smaller than him ... "

Here is a closer look at the figures described (and I would also encourage readers to not neglect the two angelic figures):

While the church is substantially the same, here is a view of the sanctuary and high altar as it appeared from 1929 to 1957, prior to the installation of the forward altar and when it still retained its altar rail and bronze gates:

Here is a closer look at the historical high altar which utilized stone and metalwork in its design:

The choir stalls:

Finally, a view toward the narthex and the great pipe organ:

The architects of the church were Hans Rummel (!872-1952) and his brother, Christopher Rummel (1881-1961) who worked in consultation with Fr. Fidelis Schumacher, OFM. 

While Other Modern may not be everyone's own personal stylistc preference, the point -- as always -- is to demonstrate the potentiality to marry the contemporary with the classic in a way that is both appropriate and well suited to the dignity of the sacred liturgy. 

Many thanks to our reader for bringing this example to our attention -- and as always, submissions are always welcome and encouraged. 

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