December 16, 2017

Unusual Church Marks Centennial Year

The St. Francis of Assisi Church of Vienna will celebrate its 100th year anniversary this weekend. Also known as the Kaiser Jubilee Church and the Mexico Church, this Basilica-style religious structure is being headed by parish priest Father Mario. 

What makes this Catholic church unique is the fact that it’s made from bricks and not the usual stone. Situated in Vienna’s Second District Leopoldstadt specifically on Mexikoplatz, it was constructed between 1898 and 1910. Today, it is being managed by the Order of the Holy Trinity. 

This church boasts of several features that make it worth visiting. One of these is the Art Noveau style chapel dedicated to Empress Elizabeth situated on the left side of the church next to the choir. The chapel is octagonal and patterned after the Palatine Chapel in the Aachen Cathedral. 

Gold mosaics designed by artist Carl Ederer instead of frescoes adorn the chapel while its walls are covered with marble. A large mosaic of Sissi a Saint Elizabeth of Hungary also adorns the vault of the chancel. 

The construction of the chapel was supported by donations from the Red Cross, an organization which the Empress got actively involved in as a patron. It was completed in 1907 and consecrated a year after. 

Empress Elizabeth of Austria was the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I who was assassinated in 1898 by an Italian anarchist namaed Luigi Lucheni. Popularly known as Sissi, the Empress was devoted to helping the poor while she was still alive. 

The centennial celebation of the St. Francis of Assisi church is also timed with the 800th anniversary of Giovanni de Matha, the French founder of the Order of the Holy Trinity that now manages the religious institution. Activities lined up this weekend are an open house with hymns and classical music as well as an exhibition. 

 

 

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