St. Mathews Lutheran Church - Berchtesgaden, Germany



    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 48, #1, 1981 - Erwin Weber


On the cover is St. Mathews Lutheran Church idyllically situated on a steep slope overlooking the German town of Berchtesgaden. It is located ten miles south of Salzburg, Austria. Adolf Hitler's villa retreat, the Berghof, built on top of a mountain and destroyed during World War II, was nearby.

The church stands in the old market square in Berchtesgaden. It was constructed in Romansque-Gothic style by the Augustinian monks in the 12th century. The monks received the right to mine salt from the nearby mountains in 1102 which continues to this day to be a source of salt.

During World War II, priceless works of art including some tapestries dating back to the Middle Ages, paintings of the great masters such as those by Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, and Leonardo de Vinci, were stored in the caverns of the salt mines. Before these were distributed to the various museums after the war, they were displayed in Europe and in several cities in the United States, namely, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.