"Uta sought - church found"

Guest survey launched: The altar of Mary in Naumburg Cathedral touches visitors 

Since the consecration of the Marian altar in the west choir of Naumburg Cathedral on 3 July 2022, 25,880 people have visited Naumburg Cathedral, which is 10 percent more than the previous year. The United Cathedral Foundations assume that the new altar is a main reason for more people exploring the cathedral. This is also confirmed by the number of visitors on the special tours of the altar, which are offered every Sunday. Moreover, this is confirmed above all by the numerous feedbacks that have reached the foundation since the consecration. For example, Holger Baumann from the Rheinkamp parish on the Lower Rhine wrote by email after his visit in August 2022: 

"I would like to express extraordinary appreciation and thanks for the CranachTriegelAltar at its current location in the cathedral. While the naturally impressive donor figures primarily serve as a tourist attraction for daily tourists as a photo motif, the CranachTriegelAltar has touched us in a Christian-spiritual way and brings back a Christian-church atmosphere into this space, which is often unsettled by photo tourists, and through the moving directness and confrontation of Triegel's figures with the visitor, a reflection on the dignified church space. For this we thank you expressly - also on behalf of other tourists who were only looking for Uta, but found church."

And Dr Susanne Reisser and Prof. Dr Christoph Reisser from Vienna wrote after their visit to the cathedral on 4 July 2022:

"Not only the Uta and all the other figures familiar to us from previous visits but above all the so successful redesign of the Cranach altar impressed us very much in the process. The combination of modern art with Cranach has succeeded impressively in the present form. The Risen Christ as "one of our time" is a very strong sign to "our time"."

Following a suggestion from the guests, there has been a visitor survey in the west choir about the Marian altar since 9 August 2022 in order to record further opinions. Questions in it are for example:

How do you feel about the (re)installation of the Marian altar in the west choir of Naumburg Cathedral? (Multiple answers possible)

I feel ...

  • the altar as an enrichment of the west choir
  • that the altar harmoniously forms a central focal point for the donor figures
  • that the altar detracts too much from the effect of the donor figures

What is your opinion on the installation period and location? (Please tick only one answer!)

I am of the opinion that the Marian altar ...

  • that the Marian altar should remain permanently in the west choir of Naumburg Cathedral.
  • that the altar of Mary be placed in the west choir of the cathedral for a maximum of 3 years.
  • that the altar of Mary will only be displayed in the west choir of the cathedral until 4 December 2022 at the latest.
  • that the altar of Mary should only be placed in the west choir for a limited period of time (weeks) each year.
  • that the altar of Mary should be displayed permanently, but outside the west choir.
  • that the altar of Mary must be removed from the west choir immediately!

So far, nearly 150 visitors have filled out the questionnaire, of which over 70 per cent are in favour of leaving the altar in the west choir, 13 per cent are in favour of displaying the altar elsewhere in the cathedral and only 3 per cent are in favour of removing the altar from the west choir immediately.

"I am encouraged by the many positive responses from the visitors, on the one hand the enthusiasm for the artistic work, and on the other hand - and this is even more important for me - the confrontation that now arises for the visitors with the west choir, with the church as a whole, the new visual relationships that arise for them and the liturgical significance of the space, which now becomes more important for the guests," emphasises the director of the United Cathedral Foundations, Dr Holger Kunde, on the feedback.

The visitor survey will continue until 4 December 2022. There will also be a scientific colloquium in November to discuss the altar.

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