Holy Cross Church in Frankfurt
The Holy Cross Church (Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche) is a Roman Catholic church in the district Bornheim of Frankfurt am Main (Germany). It was built by Martin Weber from 1928 to 1929, on a rise then known as Bornheimer Hang. The church is an unusual example of interwar modernist as sacred architecture of Bauhaus architecture.
The church was finally completed on 25 August 1929 and handed to the Catholic congregation of Bornheim. It was damaged in the Second World War, and afterwards rebuilt with money donated for the purpose.
It is branch church of the parish St. Josef and lies in the Diocese Limburg. The diocese gave a new regulation to the church from 1 August 2007 and settled in it the center for Christian meditation and spirituality. During the period of renovation of the St. Leonhard's Church in the city center it is also home of the St. Leonhard's International English-Speaking Catholic Parish since May, 7th 2012.
The Holy Cross church was built in 1929 from the master of church building Martin Weber and is at the edge of the housing development at the Bornheimer Hang. The planned community center at the end of the Wittelsbacher Allee wasn't built so there was enough space for building the new church. The Holy Cross Church was the second catholic church in Frankfurt-Bornheim. The parish was an outsourcing of the later neighbour fold St. Josef, the first catholic church in Bornheim. Reason was the expansion of the quarter Bornheim eastward at the Bornheimer Hang with the new settlement of the town planner Ernst May who built many new apartment buildings. This caused a growing number of Catholics who were living in the quarter. On 3 August 1927 a jury decided in a competition for the draft with the name slope crown from the master of church building Martin Weber. The three other participators of the competition were Hans and Christoph Rummel (Frankfurt), Richard Steidle (Munich) and Robert B. Witte (Dresden). There were several specifications for the architects like for example the front of the steeple at the Wittelsbacher Allee, between 700 to 800 seats, a high altar and two side altars and an organ loft for 150 people. The building model was called by Martin Weber slope crown, since the church should crown the Bornheimer Hang (slope). On 19 February 1928 the construction work began with the first cut of the spade. The 18. March 1928 was the day of the laying of the foundation stone. The topping-out ceremony was celebrated on 14 September 1928. On 25 August 1929 the church was inaugurated by Ludwig Maria Hugo, the Bishop of Diocese Mainz. The name was selected, since medieval Frankfurt possessed several the holy cross dedicated places. One of it was the chapel of the hospital to the holy cross which was donated in 1343 by Wicker Frosch. It formed with the chapel of the cloister of St. Katharinen which was built in 1354 a small double church, the predecessor building of the today's Evangelical-Lutheran Katharinen church. Until 1950 were the Holy Cross parish financially still a part of the St. Josef parish with which it has a common church executive committee.
In the time starting from 1933 also the Holy Cross parish was under suppression by the National Socialists (“Nazis”) and from 1939 has also lost fold members in the Second World War. The windows at the west side of the church were destroyed on 4 October 1943 by parts of an attack, which should meet the water works near the cemetery of Bornheim. During the first large-scale attack on Frankfurt in the evening of the same day also the windows of the eastern side and the parsonage building were destroyed by a bomb row, which came down in the garden plots at the Bornheimer Hang. With the next large attack on the city on 29 January 1944 parsonage building was heavily met. At the night from the 18. to the 19. March 1944 the church was hit by several incendiary bombs, which pierced the roof timberwork. The bombs could extinguished inside the church. On 11 December 1944 the church was hit by three bombs, which tore the large outside staircase at the west side of the steeple and the auxiliary chapel in the steeple hall. Now a large hole was into the west side of the nave. The services had to be held thereafter in the heating plant room underneath the steeple.
The heating plant room underneath the steeple was used until 1. July 1946 as church. During the time of the reconstruction starting from 26 September 1948 the parish hall which is under the church was used as a church beneath the church. 1950 Holy Cross became its own parish with its own church executive committee. 1951 the order for the re-establishment of the church could be given. 1952 the inside of the church were restored. The church windows were glazed new by the glass painter Lorenz Matheis with stained glass window in white and golden yellow colours. The walls and the ceiling were painted in a single-coloured finish. 1957 the kindergarten in the west of the church was built. In 1965 a stage for events was built in the parish hall under the church ship during a renovation. In 1968 the altar area was transformed, a consequence of the liturgy reformation by the Second Vatican Council. The altar was shifted, so that the priest could celebrate the service turned to the fold. A stone lectern replaced the torn off pulpit. The old altar was replaced by the baptismal font. In 1969 the first election of the parish council took place. In 1975 the board of directors elected by the parish council replaced the church executive committee. In 1990 a further transformation of the altar was executed. The baptismal font now was located in the entrance hall of the church. It was replaced by a sacramential altar at the place of the old high altar was built and the tabernacle was placed on it. Starting from 1991 the minister of the fold was also simultaneous ministers of the parish Maria Rosenkranz in Frankfurt- Seckbach. 1992 the church interior was restored to the original condition with the walls in a checkerboard pattern in light and dark red colours.
At 1. August 2007 the diocese Limburg intended the church on instruction of former bishop Franz Kamphaus to the center for Christian meditation and spirituality. The center is a pastorale institution of the diocese and is subordinate to the departmental head for pastoral services of the episcopalian chair. In the center services, meditation courses, meditation days, religious accompanying discussions and other meetings are offered. A padre of the Franciscan takes the responsibility for the offers  (director/conductor of the center), as well as of two mission-medical sisters. The target group are mainly Christians, addresses themselves however to humans of all denominations, world views and cultures. The team publishes regularly a program. With the mechanism of the center the Holy Cross church lost its past role as a parish church. Today the former parish area belongs of holy cross again to the parish pc. Josef from that the fold had once come out. The two catholic Bornheimer municipalities were united, with a part of the parish area of the former parish St. Michael, to the new parish St. Josef. Together with its mother fold St. Josef in fount home and the neighbour parish Maria Rosenkranz in Seckbach forms a common pastoral area in which an intensified co-operation is to take place. Approximately 10,000 fold members count to the unified new parish. This is thereby the largest church fold in the diocese Limburg. In the beginning of the year 2012 a unification of the pastoral area Frankfurt-Bornheim and the parishes Heilig-Geist in Frankfurt-Riederwald and St. Hildegard in Frankfurt-Fechenheim was realised. At November 11th 2012 the quinquennial anniversary of the centre of meditation was celebrated with the auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limburg Dr. Thomas Löhr and a lecture by the journalist and theologian Klaus Hofmeister of the Hessischer Rundfunk.
The church with a gable roof is an advancement of the sketch of the Bonifatius church in Frankfurt- Sachsenhausen. The architect Martin Weber designed the church in iron concrete skeleton building method. The church ship is aligned in north south direction. The altar area is at the north end. After its inauguration the interior was first red-pink-cross-hatched painted. The original church windows were bearing bis letters which were readable from inside. They formed a translation in German language of the Latin hymn Vexilla Regis (Des Kreuzes Zeichen zieht einher) (= doth flash the wonder of the cross). At day the letters appeared dark before the light shining through the windows. At night the letters were glowing because they were reflecting the light of the lamps inside the church. The steeple crosses are shaped in width to height proportions typical for Martin Weber 1:4 (1,50 x 6,00 meters).
In the Second World War the church and the adjacent parsonage building in the Kettelerallee were damaged by several bomb hits. The windows of the church were destroyed 1943 by the pressure waves of bomb explosions in the proximity. The large main stairs at the steeple were destroyed 1944 by a bomb hit and the church roof was stoken through by incendiary bombs. After the reconstruction in 1951 the church interior has a white painting at the walls with an orange cover. The new church windows were again glassed in a yellowish colour. 1990 was begun extensive renovation work, during which the altar area was transformed. In 1992 for reasons of monument protection the interior got back its original painting. The church possesses a three voices peal of bells. Under the church is the crypt, which was submitted on the occasion of the establishment of the center for Christian meditation and spirituality of a basiclying renovation and transformation. Beside the crypt is a large meeting hall, the parish hall of the former Holy Cross fold. Inside the basis of the steeple is in addition the steeple hall, which is also used by the new St. Josef fold. At the walls in the rear part of the church inside and the external walls of the side courses is a painted cross way of the artist George Poppe. Also the Pietà of the sculptor Arnold Hensler forms a part of the cross way. At the altar side is a large cross transformed in the reconstruction 1952. The painting on it shows the resurrecting Christ. Up to the war two large painted angels were on the left and on the right beside the cross at the wall. At the southern external wall of the steeple ends the bell chair basic bar in four winged animal figures with the heads of a human, a lion, a bull and an eagle. They symbolize the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. On the four girders is an inscription with a text from the First Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1, 23-24): Wir aber predigen Christus den Gekreuzigten, Christus Kraft und Gottes Weisheit (= But we preach Christ crucified, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God). Below the four animal figures is a plaster relief of the Veil of Veronica. The relief was created by the sculptor Arnold Hensler from Wiesbaden. At the western and the eastern side of the bell steeple are each with a turret clock without cyphers. On property are in addition the 1957 established kindergarten, a parsonage building with a parish office and dwellings, a building with group and club areas, as well as a football pitch used by young people.
The Holy-Cross-Church could easily be reached by walk in a few minutes from the tram stop Ernst-May-Platz of the tramline 14 of the Frankfurt tramway and the Stadtbahn station Eissporthalleof the line U7 of the Frankfurt subway. Also not far away is the motorway exit of the Federal Motorway 661.
Beneath the Bornheimer Hang at the eastern side of the church a branch of the German Way of St. James runs along. The route is based on the ancient trade route from Leipzig to Frankfurt am Main (Des Reiches Straße). The way starts in the bishop city Fulda and leads through Schlüchtern, Steinau an der Straße, Bad Soden-Salmünster, Gelnhausen, Langenselbold, Erlensee and Bruchköbel. It belongs to the net of main routes of the pilgrim of St. James in Europe which are leading to the grave of the saint in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This branch which is 116 km long passes the Holy-Cross-Church and leads through the Ostpark and then passes the new European Central Bank Headquarters at the former Großmarkthalle (Wholesale Market Hall) on its route to the Main river and the inner city of Frankfurt am Main. It passes also the Eiserner Steg (a footbridge made of iron) and leads further to Mainz and afterwards to Trier.