F: If the church is closed, no problem!
M: We’ll take you inside and try to convey a vivid impression of its light and airy interior. Take a look at your screen:
F: You’re walking into the space. There are rows of white wooden pews on either side and a wooden gallery above. At the front is a wonderful carved altar from the early 16th century.
F: It is a Passion altar with two wings. When it’s closed, the painted wood carving shows the Last Supper Jesus celebrated with his apostles. The wings are only opened on Good Friday, to reveal the crucifixion. Silver organ pipes decorated with gold ornaments tower above the altar. A painting set into the ceiling shows Christ with arms spread wide.
M: The artistic skill that went into creating the carved altar and the painted figures suggest the involvement of the famous woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider from the city of Würzburg, who lived from 1460 to 1531. His Altar of the Virgin Mary in Creglingen and his Altar of the Holy Blood in Rothenburg ob der Tauber are famous nationally. Is it possible that the master himself, or one of his pupils, also left his mark in Niederstetten?
F: On the left of the altar, some very handsome sandstone tombs mark the burial sites of members of the von Rosenberg family. In late medieval and early modern times, their estates included the town of Niederstetten. Take another look at your screen …
M: ... that’s the magnificent tomb of Friedrich Zeisolph von Rosenberg and his wife Anna from 1576.
F: "His bones may now be coffered in a solid tomb, yet his spirit lives in the gleaming gold castle of heaven,"...
M: ... reads part of the inscription.
F: To the left, a smaller relief depicts the couple's children, Reichard and Rofina. They both sadly died very young, just a few weeks after being born.
M: The next image shows a superb example of the wood-carver’s art. You’re looking at Friedrich and Anna von Rosenberg and their son Reichard. He was the last male heir, and his death marked the end of the von Rosenberg line.
F: In the 1930s, this was the church where Pastor Hermann Umfrid preached – a rebel who spoke out during the Nazi period. We’ll tell his story outside, by the bell tower. It’s well worth hearing.
Fotos: © Trüpschuch