Bernward’s Column (Christ’s Column)

The monumental bronze-cast with 28 scenes taken from Christ’s life is moving from the Hildesheim cathedral to St. Michael’s church. Therewith the column returns to its first location bareley after 1000 years.

Bishop Bernward ordered the column about the year 1000. Therefore its known as Bernward’s Column. It was built for the Benedictine monastery St. Michael’s founded by Bernward and was located behind the rood altar in the eastern part of the nave.

Bernward´s ColumnBernward’s Column is a masterpiece of the highest competence – masterful manufactured, that even with most modern technology a reproduction was difficult. The helical structure is upheld inside by a steel pole and screw connection and both ends are under stress – similar to the spinal column which supports the torso of the human body.

Outwards a story made of pictures is to be found. 28 scenes taken from the public life of Jesus helical lead upwards, to begin with the launching ceremony of Jesus, progressing with his miracle actions right up to his triumphal procession into the city of Jerusalem.

The todays capital is a free reproduction from the 19th century. The top of the column in the first place was a rood. It was aiming point of the pictures, to which the four incarnations of the paradise-rivers look up from their basis.

In the rough-and-tumple during the reformation the rood was melted down in the middle of the 16th century to cast cannons. Not alone this encroachment endangered the masterpiece: about 100 years later also the capital was melted down to pay the bell of the in the meanwhile being evangelic church of St. Michael’s. About 1730 it is considered to convert the whole column into cash. A campaign for donations prevents this step.

As well the location of the column changed over and over: About 1800, in the course of secularization the column is placed on the cathedral court as Bernward’s monument. At the end of the 19th century the column is located in the cathedral in the southtransept. There it remained till the war-evacuation in the year 1942. For the new consecration of the cathedral in the year 1960 the column got its place back in the bishop’s church.

Due to the enormous restoration of the Hildesheim cathedral the column is being evacuated again on 30 September and remains at the southwest transept of St. Michael’s church.