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How a small chapel was transformed into a mighty church.
Did it manage to weather the centuries unscathed ?

 

 

Oswaldikirche 1850

 

Eisenerz town clerk and local historian, Leopold Ulrich Schiedlberger, takes us on a journey back to the times of the 13th century: Emperor Rudolf I has just vanquished King Ottokar of Bohemia and is now traveling through the new crown lands of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, to the very borders of Venice.

According to legend, on the feast day of St. Oswald he reaches Innerberg and lays the foundation stone for the building of a church in honor of the saint, which began in 1279. This small Late Romanesque church will serve as the spiritual center for Innerberg miners for almost 200 years.

But by 1470, under Emperor Friedrich III, a new and far larger Gothic church had been commissioned. Work on the church progressed rapidly. Only two years later, the presbytery with the old sacristy had been completed, used – until completion of the church nave – in order to celebrate services.

 

Innerberg and the church in flames

The year 1492 marks a major turning point in the history of Eisenerz. The market town, with all of its ancient writings, privileges and freedoms, falls victim to flames. And the fire does not halt, even before the as yet still under construction St. Oswald’s Church.

Emperor Maximilian orders that the work be continued nonetheless. On 1 July 1512, this house of God and its altars are consecrated by Bishop Leonhard von Lavant.

 

Newer times – newer appearance

Oswaldi Kirche

 

In the 18th century, striking changes are made to the exterior and interior of our parish church. In 1768, a Baroque onion dome is added to the Late Gothic church tower, which would characterize the appearance of this house of worship for the following 130 years. The inside of the church is appointed with Baroque altars, which would also remain until 1910.

 

neugotisch innenansicht 

 

The appearance of St. Oswald’s Church as we recognize it today came about in around 1900. In the course of complete in- and exterior renovations, Neo Gothic elements were added, along with new altars, figures and glass windows, as was a new pulpit. Likewise, the church tower and the new sacristy acquired today’s form.

Church interior acquires a steel celebratory altar by Graz artist Gustav Troger towards the end of the 20th century, consecrated in 1993.

Further structural changes are made in 2005 within the framework of renovations on the building facades. The west door, which had once been walled up in the face of threat from Turkish invaders, was reopened, revealing views of the town’s historical district.

 

zelebration westportal 

 

A MOUNTAIN of ORE – the RINGING of STEEL

The former bronze bells of St. Oswald’s meet the same fate as so many other bells during the First World War. They are dismantled in 1916 and melted down for the war effort. That said, the two oldest bells are able to remain until 1922. In that year, the church acquires 4 new bells made of steel.

 

Scannen0012 0009 

 

The chime of that beautifully tempered steel rings out powerfully across our town, echoing from the mountains as well as in the soul of man.

Audio: church bells ringing