The Marienstiftskirche is a late Gothic hall church. Besides sunday services there are many concerts held in this church, which draw visitors from afar. The building itself is one of the most elaborate in Lich. The church is home to numerous artworks of inestimable value.
In the year 1316 the collegiate of St. Mary was founded by Philipp III. of Falkenstein to educate new priests. In the same year the construction of a church has been started, about a third smaller than the present building. This church only survived somme 200 years. The present three-aisled hall church has been constructed from 1511 to 1594 in the late Gothic style. As the old church was all too small and did not match the perceptions of his time, Count Philipp of Solms raised the new church following the examples set by the Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg and the Parish Church in Wittenberg.
Ground plan with numbers of the description
The hall church with three ailes has no transept, originally there was a Choir Screen that seperated the Nave for the laiymen from the Choir for the priests.
The side aisles have cross-ribbed vaults as it was originally planned for the main aisles as well. For the main aisles financial reasons lead to the construction of a barrel vault, which dates as well as the paintings from the rococo period around the year 1740.
The impressive baroque pulpit (8), created 1772 - 1774 by Master Martin Lutz from Rockenberg, had initially been erected in Kloster Arnsburg and after the secularisation of the monasteries was installed in the Marienstiftskirche in 1859/60. Its appearance resembles a chalice and is ornamented with figures of the church fathers Bernhard of Clairvaux, Thomas of Aquin, Bonaventure and Pope Leo the Great.
The little renaissance vestry (3) dates from 1536. The late Gothic crucifix (1) above the altar originates around 1500 and was presumably a commissioned work for the new church.
The Fürstenstuhl (2) (the royal box where the princely family is seated during church services) of the Princely house of Solms opposite the pulpit dates back to 1714. Underneath the Fürstenstuhl today one can find the choir stalls, which originally were placed between the pillars of the choir.
The organ (10) has been built during the 30-years-war (1618-48) in the years 1621–1624 by Jörg Heinrich Wagner (Lich) with about 20 stops, two manuals and pedal. When being built the organ was erected where today is the royal box. In 1631–1633 both the organ 16-foot side towers were added (the pipes coming from the Arnsburg monastery organ) and the organ therefore in 1861 had to be tranferred to the west end. During the centuries the organ got extended, last in the year 2002 by the local organ builder Förster & Nicolaus.
At the east end there are many funerary monuments of the sovereigns of Lich (4,6,7), with the most precious one of Kuno of Falkenstein from 1333. Not far in the choir there is a stained glass window depicting Elisabeth of Thuringia (left in green, presumably from the previous church) und Mary and Jesus (right) (3). Next to the pulpit there is a window with the reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon (9).
The Marienstiftskirche was completely renovated in 2001-2002 and celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2011 with a spectacular program. SVisitors can get the key for the church in the nearby Tourist Information by way of pledging their ID-card.
More about the church (so far in German only) you may find at:www.marienstiftskirche.de