Christ Church (Ried im Innkreis)
The Christuskirche is a parish church of the Old Catholic Church of Austria and is located a few steps from the town centre on Bahnhofstraße in Ried im Innkreis. It was built in 1893 by the architect Josef Prokopp (Vienna) and the master builder Josef Furthner (Ried).
The most striking architectural feature is the steeple, which towers over the church as a so-called ridge turret, due to the small size of the building site. There are four bells in it, three of which still come from the Holy Spirit Church, which was demolished in 1892 due to dilapidation.
It has been a listed building since 1989.
The Old Catholic Parish Church
The Christuskirche stands on the oldest inhabited ground of Ried. The “first Ried” was not located in today’s town centre, but the first settlement can be found in the area of the inner Bahnhofstraße. Several documents from the beginning of the 15th century mention an old market and an old chirichstatt there.
In the beginning, the Old Catholic congregation met in the 300-year-old Holy Spirit Church, which was made available to them by the municipality for an annual rent. After the closure of the Holy Spirit Church in August 1892, due to increasing dilapidation, the services were celebrated for a time in the former district court building until the completion of the new church building.
The first sod was turned on April 24, 1893, the foundation stone was laid on May 14, and the church was consecrated in the same year, on September 10.
Special contributions to the building of the church were made by: Franz Waginger (master tailor in Ried), to whom a memorial picture (relief) in the church is dedicated; furthermore the families Michael Leeb (merchant in Ried); Karl Kögl (goldsmith and jeweller in Ried); Josef Huber (hotelier); Engelbert Wetzelsberger (merchant). The construction costs without interior decoration amounted to 17,000 fl.
The church has a capacity of about 400 people.
The Old Catholic Parish of Ried im Innkreis
After the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility at Vatican I, there were protests among Catholics as early as 1870. The political local council also passed a negative resolution, the so-called “Doellinger Address”, named after Ignaz von Doellinger. From March 1872 Old Catholic services were celebrated in the town of Ried. After the announcement of the state recognition of the Old Catholic Church of Austria by the Imperial and Royal Ministry of Culture in 1877, the Old Catholic Church of Ried was founded. Ministry of Culture in 1877, Old Catholic religious instruction was offered in Ried for the first time in the school year 1878/79.
The resolutions of the second synod of the Austrian Old Catholics in 1880 were also supported by the parish of Ried. Thus, for example, the compulsory ear confession was abolished and the German language was introduced in the church service already at that time. Also since 1880 married priests are allowed to serve in the Old Catholic pastoral care and at the altar. The appointment of the priest is no longer done by appointment from “above”, but by election by the parish community.
Until 1922, Salzburg’s Old Catholics belonged to the pastoral area of Ried, since then Salzburg has been a separate Old Catholic parish. Initially, services were held in the well-known Marble Hall, but since 1938 the St. John Nepomuk Chapel of Mirabell Palace has served as the place of worship.
There is a historical connection between the parishes of Ried and Linz insofar as the parish of Linz was run as an inner-church branch parish of the mother parish of Ried before its state recognition in 1909. The Prunerstiftskirche in Linz was also served by the pastors of the Christuskirche until the Second World War.
In September 2015, for the first time in Ried’s parish history, a female pastor succeeded the emeritus pastor in the pastoral ministry. The Old Catholic Bishop of Austria John Okoro, who had travelled from Vienna (St. Salvator), had administered the sacrament of priestly ordination to the deaconess Elisabeth Steinegger during a festive service in the Christuskirche.
Entering the church through a small vestibule, one immediately notices the reliefs by Prof. Bernhard Prähauser. They decorate the altar room (a triptych, which has the theme “Sons”: left, the sacrifice of Abraham; middle, Jesus’ crucifixion and right, the prodigal son) and on the high altar table the four evangelists. Furthermore, there are 4 large reliefs on the walls (left front) the birth of Jesus (left back) the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan; (right front) the disciples of Emaus with Jesus breaking bread and (right back) the entry into Jerusalem. With the exception of the four evangelists, the other reliefs come from the church Vienna XV and came to Ried in 2003. The reliefs bear the initials of Bernhard Prähauser and were created around the middle of the 20th century. Only in the further course one enters the church room.
The cross to the left of the chancel is an eye-catcher that no visitor can escape as they enter the church. It adorns a larger-than-life carved wooden Christ, a donation from the German bishop Joseph Hubert Reinkens (Bonn on the Rhine). The outstretched arms and pierced hands reach out invitingly to churchgoers, all the weary and burdened. The pulpit and choir are solid woodwork by Karl Vitale.
In addition to the two leaded glass windows in the presbytery, the church also has two windows in the nave with beautiful stained glass.
The shield, an iron cross made of black, white and yellow nails, a reminder of the First World War, which was in the central part of the choir parapet until the organ was installed, can be seen in the parish room where it was hung. On the left wall of the nave there is a beautiful painting of Mary with the Child, painted by Alois Rauch, an academic painter who died in Italy in 1917.
In 2003 the church got an organ, it was transferred from the convict chapel “St. Josef” in Ried to the Christuskirche.
In addition to the Old Catholic services, the Christuskirche is also gladly used by the Protestant community in Ried. The connection to the Protestant church has endured and is a tradition, and a good understanding is maintained. Ecumenical services are also held here regularly.
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- Altkatholische Kirchengemeinde Linz (ed.): Das Prunerstift – 50 Jahre Gottesdienststätte der Altkatholischen Kirchengemeinde Linz. Linz 1970.
– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
- Christian Halama: Old Catholics in Austria. Böhlau, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-205-77224-5, p. 179.
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- First woman ordained as a Catholic priest.Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 20 September 2015, retrieved 23 September 2015.