Church of St. Catherine, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria

St. Catherine's Church is located in the western part of the spa town of Bad Kleinkirchheim. It rises on a steep mountain slope. It is interesting that this Catholic church was built on the site of a healing spring and therefore enjoyed great popularity among pilgrims for a long time.

This building was made in late Gothic style at the end of the 15th century; it is known that the ceremony of consecration of the temple took place in 1492. Surprisingly, the church has survived to this day in an almost authentic form. It is a fairly large building with high and spacious choirs. It is also interesting that two entrances lead to the church at once - one, passing through an arched gallery covered with a wooden roof, was equipped a little later - in the 17th century. The windows in the building are also gracefully decorated with Gothic ornaments and are lanceolate, that is, narrow and long. The architectural ensemble is complemented by a high bell tower topped with a dark pointed spire.

The ceilings inside the temple are vaulted, supported by columns. Some of the details of the Gothic interior have been preserved, especially the massive old doors and the wooden choir decorations dating back to 1520. In the same year, the amazing main altar of the church was started by a master of the Villach school. The altar contains carved wooden figures of various saints, in the upper part of it, for example, the Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St. John is located. Interestingly, all the figures of the saints in the altar of the church of St. Catherine can be moved. The lower part of the altar has already been painted in wood. Particularly worth noting is its reverse, which depicts St. Veronica. The year of completion of work on the altar - 1573 - and the name of the master - Johannes Schnelle are also displayed there.

St. Catherine's Church is an additional church in a large city parish. Since 1993, it has functioned exclusively as a baptismal chapel.


Building description

The late Gothic complex consists of a three-bay nave and a single-bay choir of roughly equal width and height with a five-eighth end. The roof turret with a bell cast in 1469 is crowned by a pointed helmet. An entrance hall is built to the west. To the south in front of the Quellstube there is a pillar arcade hall and above it a wooden-roofed entrance to the 17th century church. The remains of a fresco of a sundial and a coat of arms on the choir polygon probably date from the Baroque era.

In the nave and in the choir, a ribbed vault rises above semicircular templates with capital rings. The church is illuminated by simple lancet windows with tracery noses in the end of the choir and in the south wall of the nave. From the north wall of the choir, an iron-studded door in a profiled wall leads into the sacristy. The wooden gallery in the entrance yoke, which was built around 1520, has flat carvings on the parapet, and wickerwork and interwoven ribbon on the underside and on the forehead of the entrance.



The winged altar was made in the younger Villach workshop soon after 1520 and is probably a foundation of the Order of St. George. In the altar shrine the carved figures of St. Catherine stand between St. Vincent and Barbara. A crucifixion group with Mary and John is housed in the space. The paintings on the inside of the movable wings show the birth of Christ, the adoration of the kings, the resurrection and the miracle of Pentecost; the Annunciation can be seen on the outside. On the front of the fixed wings the saints Christophorus and Ulrich are depicted, on the back the plague saints Sebastian and Rochus. The paintings of the predella show the holy clan on the front in the middle and the saints Oswald and Apollonia as well as Domitian on the side. The angel with the handkerchief of Veronica on the back of the predella is labeled "Johannes Schnelle 1573". The back of the shrine is painted with Christ's departure from his mother.

The side altars and the pulpit were removed from the church in 1956.