The Church of the Redeemer is a Protestant church in Jerusalem belonging to the Protestant Jerusalem Foundation of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Today the church serves a congregation that worships in English, Danish, German, and Arabic.
History of the Redeemer Church in Jerusalem
Prior to the church’s construction, the land belonged to the Ottoman rulers. Following the inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1869, the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid gifted the land to the Prussian royal family. The church was built between 1893 and 1898 according to the design of German architect Friedrich Adler.
It was built on the ruins of the 12th-century Crusader Church of St. Maria Latina. The Redeemer Church was inaugurated on Reformation Day in 1898 in the presence of the Prussian Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Provost’s Office was built adjacent to the church by the Berlin state architect Robert Leibnitz in 1910. The remains of the earlier Crusader church cloister and refectory were included in the new building design.
The double-story cloister forms the inner courtyard of the building and the former refectory is now used by the community for receptions. The church closed in May 1940 and reopened ten years later with services held by the Palestinian Lutheran congregation. Later the Evangelical congregation resumed services in German. The church’s present appearance dates back to renovations done in the 1970s.
Visiting the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
Today the Romanesque Revival-style church is the center for Protestant worship in Jerusalem. Below the church is an archaeological park called “Durch die Zeiten'' or Through the Ages. Visitors to the archaeological site can learn about Jerusalem’s development up to the time of Herod the Great.
The church cloister houses a museum with exhibits on Jerusalem history. In the church garden, you can see a memorial marking where the headquarters of the Crusader Order of the Knights of St. John once stood. The church tower, which was designed by Kaiser Wilhelm II, offers magnificent views across the Old City. Visitors can climb the tower, and see the excavations beneath the church from Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, for an entrance fee of 15 ILS.