Jesuitenkirche (Vienna)


Dr- Ignaz- Seipel- Platz 4

Tel. 512 5232

Subway: Stephansplatz, Schwedenplatz, Stubentor

Open: 7am- 6:30pm daily


Description of Jesuitenkirche

Jesuitenkirche or Church of the Jesuits was named after a Roman Catholic Order of the Jesuits that moved here in 1620's. Jesuits were an important force in Counter- Reformation that started more than a century earlier by Martin Luther. Jesuits constructed their magnificent church near Old University which they ran. Between 1703 and 1705 Jesuitenkirche was reconstructed under supervision of Italian architect Andrea Pozzo.


History of Jesuitenkirche

After King Ferdinand I brought the Jesuits to Vienna in the middle of the 16th century, he gave them the Carmelite monastery at the court, as this order gradually died out due to the Reformation. In 1623 the Jesuits were given the philosophical and theological chairs at the University of Vienna and they built a church on the site of a chapel dedicated to St. Benedict. It was built by an unknown master builder - between 1623 and 1631 - in simple equipment, according to the conditions at the time of the war. The church was consecrated to the Jesuit saints Ignatius von Loyola and Franz Xaver, it was donated by Emperor Ferdinand II. To distinguish it from the Jesuit church at the court, the "Upper Jesuit Church", the new church was called "among the lower Jesuits".

In 1703, Emperor Leopold I brought Andrea Pozzo, a painter and sculptor who was already famous in Rome, to Vienna to remodel the church. The Jesuit Pozzo added the two towers and brought the facade into its current shape. The interior was also opulently furnished. Pozzo moved up the eight side chapels, which are connected to each other and supported by straight and curved columns, covered with stucco marble. The organ was integrated into a two-story gallery above the entrance. The high altar dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary also comes from Pozzo.

Pozzo, best known for his perspective-illusionistic painting, also decorated the ceiling of the church. The trompe-l’œil false dome in particular can deceive the eye and give the viewer a spatially realistic impression of the dome. In the floor of the nave there is a color-coded stone from which the dummy dome best affects the viewer. Pozzo even has an effect over the fabric-covered crown of Mary. So it seems that the cross on the crown is clasped by hands that protrude from the ceiling fresco.

After the abolition of the Jesuit order, the church became the property of the state. After re-admission, Jesuits have been working in the church again since 1856.

Under the church there is a crypt, in which the deceased confreres of the Jesuit monastery are still buried. a. the long-time rector of the church, P. Leo Wallner SJ, who died in 2013, and the philosopher Johannes Schasching, who died in 2013. The crypt is open to the public at certain times.

High altar
This forms a striking end to the room. Andrea Pozzo painted the altarpiece "Assumption of Mary", giving the Apostle Andreas his own features at the bottom left.

Left side altars
The altarpiece of the chapel of the Faculty of Arts (Catherine altar, left of the entrance) represents the “mystical wedding of St. Catherine of Alexandria ”, that of the Stanislaus chapel“ Franz Borja welcomes Stanislaus Kostka in Rome ”, that of the Guardian Angel chapel“ Guardian Angel ”and that of the Ignatius Chapel“ The sending of St. Franz Xaver ”.

Right side altars
The altarpiece of the chapel of the Faculty of Theology (cross altar; right at the entrance) shows a "crucifixion", that of the Annen chapel "Anna, Maria and an angel", that of the Leopold chapel "Apotheosis of St. Leopold ”and that of the Josef Chapel“ Tod Josefs ”. All eight altarpieces of the side chapels come from Andrea Pozzo's workshop.