Two churches of the Holy Cross

A characteristic feature of Augsburg is the existence of two churches side by side with the same name, a fancy white one for the Catholics and a more austere yellow-brown one for the Protestants.

In another part of town there are also two St. Ulrich’s churches, in the same colors.

Catholic and Protestant churches of the Holy Cross in Augsburg

The coexistence of Catholic and Protestant churches and congregations in Augsburg and other “free and imperial cities” was a result of the “Peace of Augsburg” that was negotiated here in 1555, to put an end to religious strife within the loosely-knit “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation”.

Under this agreement, all the princes and dukes and other local rulers agreed not to make war against each other for religious reasons. In the countryside, the common people were required to accept the religion of their local ruler, but in the cities both Catholics and Protestants were allowed to have churches and practice their own religion. They didn’t like each other, by any means, but they tolerated each other for the sake of keeping the peace. In Augsburg for hundreds of years there was a complicated quota system to ensure that neither side was dominated by the other.

When Leopold Mozart was growing up in Augsburg, he was at various times a member of the children’s choirs in the Catholic churches of the Holy Cross and St. Ulrich. But he sometimes got into trouble with his Catholic teachers by sneaking over to the Protestant churches to hear their music, too.

My photos in this post are from 2004. I revised the text in 2020.

See more posts on Augsburg, Germany.
See more posts on the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

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