Hospital church Heilig Geist (Dillingen on the Danube)

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Hospital church Heilig Geist in Dillingen

ridge turret with onion dome

The Catholic hospital church Heilig Geist in Dillingen on the Danube, a town in the Bavarian administrative district of Swabia, is a late Gothic building dating from around 1500. In 1687 the church was redesigned in the Baroque style and furnished with Wessobrunn stucco.


The Dillingen Hospital, a foundation of Count Hartmann IV of Dillingen and his son Hartmann V, Bishop of Augsburg, was first mentioned in 1257 in a deed of donation. In it, the two counts endowed the hospital with estates in Dillingen and Wittislingen. Until around 1300 the hospital was under the direction of Augustinian canons, whose place was taken by a hospital master after their dissolution. Although it is assumed that the hospital already had a chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit when it was founded, a hospital church is only attested in writing in 1448, when the Weihenberg monastery in Wertingen was incorporated. Under Prince-Bishop Friedrich II von Zollern (1486-1505) the hospital buildings were enlarged and incorporated into the town fortifications. During this time, the hospital church was given its present external appearance. In 1687, the interior was baroqued under Prince-Bishop Johann Christoph von Freyberg (1665-1690). The work was probably directed by Johann Schmuzer, who created the heavy stucco decoration with his Wessobrunn stucco workers. In 1746/47 Franz Xaver Kleinhans and Balthasar Suiter built the upper storey of the sacristy. The tower octagon was built around 1756 by Johann Michael Suiter. In 1995 an exterior renovation was carried out. During the interior renovation of 1998/99, the baroque colouring, which had been restored in 1934 and in the meantime had been covered by a white-grey covering, was uncovered again.



Above the central risalit of the west façade rises the towering, slender ridge turret with double onion dome covered with copper sheeting. The octagonal structure sits on a surrounding plinth cornice, its chamfered corners reinforced by Tuscan pilasters. Large segmental-arched sound arcades open on four sides, surmounted by clock dials on the north and south sides. The attic storey is pierced by transverse oval openings and delimited below and to the roof by a richly profiled cornice.

The west portal with pointed arch on the outside is cut into the tower risalit. The west façade is pierced at the bottom by two round windows and at gallery level by two lancet windows, above which there are small lancet windows.



The single-nave nave is divided into four bays and has an irregular floor plan. It is covered by a basket-arched barrel vault underlaid with belt arches. The walls are divided by flat Tuscan double pilasters, which are cranked with the cornice of the long sides. An egg-bar frieze runs below the cornice. A stilted semi-circular arch with moulded imposts opens the nave on the east to the strongly recessed rectangular chancel, raised by one step and capped by a lancet barrel. The windows of both the nave and the chancel, which have pointed arches on the outside, are round-arched on the inside. The western end is formed by a gallery resting on iron columns, dating from around 1880, whose curved parapet is decorated with flat blind panels. A wrought-iron grille from the same period separates the space under the gallery from the rest of the nave.

In the northwest, the rectangular dungeon chapel opens under the gallery, which is covered by a groined vault and in whose round-arched niche there is a sculpture of Christ at the Scourge Pillar (c. 1730) by Johann Georg Bschorer and two angel turkeys by Joseph Anton Libigo from 1706.

Stucco decoration with coat of arms and the year 1687


In stucco cartouches above the chancel arch on the left is the coat of arms of the founder of the hospital, Bishop Hartmann V, and on the right the coat of arms of the commissioner of the conversion, Prince-Bishop Johann Christoph von Freyberg. In the middle is the date MDCLXXXVII (1687), the year of the baroque remodelling. On the ceiling of the nave there are medallions of foliage with the monograms of Mary, Christ and Joseph. Geometric frame stucco divides the vault into fields filled with leaf rosettes, winged angel heads with fruit baskets and strong acanthus vines.


The present organ was installed in 1972 during the restoration of the Spitalkirche by the organ building company Sandtner from Dillingen. This organ was originally built in 1886 by the organ builder Balthasar Pröbstl for the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the monastery church of the Franciscan nuns of Dillingen. When the convent church received a new organ, the Sandtner company took over the Pröbstl organ, restored it and used it as a loan organ.


Founder’s picture from the first half of the 19th century, Count Hartmann V, Bishop of Augsburg

  • The wooden crucifix on the north wall is dated around 1500.
  • The figure of the Mother of Sorrows under the cross was created by Johann Michael Fischer in 1784/85.
  • On the gallery parapet is a relief depicting Anna Selbdritt, a work of the Ulm School from the circle of Jörg Syrlin the Younger, dated around 1510.
  • The figural group Holy Change or Holy Family on the Move was created around 1690 and depicts Mary, Joseph and Jesus as a child equipped with walking sticks.
  • Above the Holy Change, God the Father hovers with a globe in his hand on a cloud from which an angel’s head rises, a sculpture by the sculptor Stephan Luidl from 1733.
  • The donor’s picture with the depiction of Bishop Hartmann V. dates from the first half of the 19th century. It is based on a 17th century model.


  • Ludwig Häring: The Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit. Hospital Foundation Dillingen a. d. Donau. Kunstverlag Josef Fink, Lindenberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-89870-372-7.
  • Georg Dehio: Handbuch der deutschen Kunstdenkmäler – Bayern III – Schwaben (Eds: Bruno Bushart, Georg Paula). 2. Edition. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-422-03008-5, pp. 252-253.
  • Georg Wörishofer, Alfred Sigg, Reinhard H. Seitz: Städte, Märkte und Gemeinden. In: The District of Dillingen a. d. Donau in History and Present. Ed. county Dillingen a. d. Donau. 3. newly edited edition, Dillingen an der Donau 2005, p. 207.

Web links

Commons: Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates 48° 34′ 33″ N, 10° 29′ 50″ O