Station: [5] Chapel Interior

Dark wood, pseudo-Gothic carvings, walls and vaulting decorated in the medieval style – there’s an air of sublime solemnity about the chapel’s interior – a sense of being transported back to earlier centuries.

But appearances are deceptive. The chapel’s interior decoration only dates to 1903 and ’04; and it takes rather a distinctive approach to retelling the abbey’s history. For example, take a look at the wall paintings on the east side of the chapel, behind the choir stalls. They convey the view of Heiligengrabe’s history that was prevalent during the reign of Wilhelm II.

On the left-hand side of the choir wall – against a blue background – you see the supposed laying of the abbey’s foundation stone in 1287 in the presence of the bishop, that is, the ecclesiastical ruler. The image on the right-hand side – also with a blue background – shows the Protestant faith being accepted at the abbey in 1548, under Joachim II., Elector of Brandenburg.

The abbess kneels to the Elector and the governor he imposed, a certain Kurt von Rohr. But this gesture of submission doesn’t tell the whole story. The nuns had fervently resisted the Reformation and the mortgaging of their abbey. They even redeemed it with 5,000 florins – in other words, they bought back what had been theirs in the first place!

The stained glass window in the middle, also in a faux medieval style, shows Adolphine von Rohr receiving the abbess's pastoral staff from Kaiser Wilhelm II. in 1901.

Depiction 1 © Dietmar Rabich
Depiction 2 © Kloster Stift zum Heiligengrabe
Depiction 3 © Kloster Stift zum Heiligengrabe