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Discover the old St. John’s Cathedral in Mainz

The European City Stadtkirchenarbeit an St. Johannis

In the middle of the historical centre of Mainz, stands the evangelical Church of St. John, in close vicinity to the imposing Romanesque cathedral of St. Martin, the cathedral of Mainz. A thousand years ago, construction work on St. Martins had not been completed. At the same time, the Church of St. John had already been the seat and official church of the bishops of Mainz for several centuries. It has thus been witness to the centuries-old European history - and stands as a stone monument to the dramatic and erratic course of the past. Within the framework of the European Cultural Year 2018, a series of events will be taking place in the church. Due to the ongoing research and archaeological excavations taking place in the church, various formats will be offered, enabling visitors to participate in this process - and thereby, literally showing them how multi-faceted our shared history is.

Archaeological investigations have now been ongoing for some time in the evangelical church of St. John and these will hopefully answer questions concerning the structural and functional history of the church. The beginnings of the material research of the structural genesis of St. John's, dates back to the first decade of the 20th century. At that time, the basic principles of architectonic development had already been clarified. In 2010, during façade restoration work, evidence of older buildings became visible. Since 2013, extensive fieldwork has been conducted in the interior of the church. The historic fabric of the church has revealed new evidence of previous structures, some of which probably date back to the first millennium AD and were at least 15 metres high. A few early graves, as well as a large number of post-medieval burials, are proof of the ecclesiastical function of the architecture, the current appearance of the church is based on these early medieval structures – an extremely rare factum north of the Alps. Just as old as the archaeological research, is the assumption that St. John was the original Sedes or Episcopal Church, and therefore a Late Roman / early medieval sacred structure, which was the bishop's church of Boniface and Rhabanus Maurus, indeed both of these bishops provided impetus for a European identity.