Das tragische Ende einer Kirche
(Cathcon note- every change in use or destruction of a Catholic Church is a tragedy- and the Gospel is preached to all nations).
Last Sunday the conversion of the Catholic Church of St. Guido in Speyer to a Jewish synagogue was officially begun.
Present were the Socialist Prime Minister of the Rhineland-Palatinate, Kurt Beck, Bishop of Speyer, Karl-Heinz Wiesemann and Offenbach Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz.
This was reported on the website of the Diocese of Speyer.
The Jews had searched for the planned synagogue in a historic area. They finally opted for the Church, as it already had a religious layout.
The design for the synagogue was developed by the architect and synagogue builder, Alfred Jacoby from Frankfurt.
The synagogue will be placed in the former choir of the church.
A community room will be constructed in the former nave and basement area.
The cost for the construction with a total area of approximately 400 square meters is around 2.5 million euros.
The Jewish community from the Rhine Palatinate will contribute 750,000 euros which is less than a third. The remainder, 875,000 euros each will be paid by the Rhineland-Palatinate and the City of Speyer.
The purchase of the building, as well as a financial subsidy, are included in the figures.
The Church of St. Guido has a glorious historical past which is now to be ended. In the Middle Ages, the Church was one of the four major spiritual centres of the City of Speyer.
In the course of 1689, the French destroyed the Church.
After reconstruction, one of the towers collapsed in 1754. In 1794, French troops once again looted the Church. In 1822, the last tower fell victim to the pickaxe. In the year 1839, a fire consumed the rest of the Church.
A new beginning was marked the year 1922. By the conversion of a tobacco shop, the St. Guido Mission House was erected.
It served the Mission Order of the Spiritans as a study centre. The Spiritaner were founded by the son of an Alsace rabbi and convert, Father François Libermann († 1852).
The founder of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre († 1991), belonged to this Order.
In 1930, some of St Guido’s relics were returned. 60,000 people lined the route of the procession. Siemens installed their first public address system along the route.
In 1935, the new St.-Guido church was opened.
After the Second Vatican Council the choir - which now is to be a synagogue – was ripped apart in accordance with the then rampant liturgical fashions.
The Meal Table - which now has finally finished its service - wasconsecrated on 18 November 1968 by the then Bishop Frederick Wetter. In Jewish worship, there is no liturgy "turned towards the people."
The post-conciliar slump forced the Council inspired Spiritans to give up the mission house in 1991.
The new owner was the Diocese of Speyer. They used the buildings for some years as a transitional residence for asylum seekers.
St.-Guido church was closed.