St. Michael's Church

Church Concerts
Wien - St. Michael's Church
Next performance: Fr 19 Jul 2019, 19:30

St. Michael's Church (German: Michaelerkirche) is one of the oldest churches in Vienna, Austria, and also one of its few remaining Romanesque buildings. Dedicated to the Archangel Michael, St. Michael's Church is located at Michaelerplatz across from St. Michael's Gate at the Hofburg Palace. St. Michael's used to be the parish church of the Imperial Court, when it was called Zum heiligen Michael.

Over its long history, spanning more than eight centuries, the church has incorporated a medley of architectonic styles. The church is a late Romanesque, early Gothic building dating from about 1220–1240. There is a document giving 1221 as the foundation date of the church, but this is most probably a 14th-century forgery. Over time, there have been many alterations, resulting in its present day aspect, unchanged since 1792.

The interior of the church consists of a nave and two aisles that have conserved the ancient Gothic structure. The side chapels were added later on.

It gives the impression of a robust three-dimensional building, despite the church's low height. The polygonal apse was replaced in the 14th century (1327–1340) by an early Gothic choir with three bays. The central and the northern choir chapels were refitted in Baroque style.

The high altar was designed in 1782 by Jean-Baptiste d’Avrange. It is decorated with the monumental stucco alabaster Rococo sculpture Fall of the Angels (1782) by sculptor Karl Georg Merville. It represents a cloudburst of angels and cherubs, falling from the ceiling towards the ground. It was the last major Baroque work completed in Vienna. The centerpiece of the high altar is Maria Candida, a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary, belonging to the Cretan School of hagiography and named after the former capital (now Heraklion), displayed as being carried by two archangels.