Eglise Saint-Germain, Geneva

Eglise Saint-Germain, Geneva

The Saint-Germain Church in Geneva is a historically significant Catholic church, originally one of the city's seven main parishes. Constructed in the Gothic style during the 15th century, it initially served as a Protestant church. This structure replaced earlier versions: a 9th-century early Christian basilica and a 12th-century Romanesque church, which underwent reconstruction in 1334 after a fire.

In 1535, the church was the site of Geneva's first Reformation sermon. Later, from 1537 to 1554, it was repurposed as a butcher's shop. It returned to its religious roots in the 18th century, temporarily taking over the role of the Saint-Pierre cathedral as a Protestant place of worship.

Following the French invasion in the 19th century and the 1801 concordat between Pope Pius VII and Napoleon Bonaparte, which required local acceptance of a Roman Catholic church, Saint-Germain was chosen for conversion in 1803. In 1873, it was handed over to the Christian Catholic Church and, after the 1907 Church-State separation, became the property of Geneva's Christian Catholic Church.

An early 20th-century fire in the bell tower led to the loss of the original bells. A replacement bell, weighing 120 kilos and crafted in 1764 by Jean-Louis Revillard, was sourced from the city's clock tower. The restoration, including this change, lasted from 1906 to 1908. In 1908, a morning-hour-specific sundial, designed by Albert Schmidt, was placed outside the sacristy wall above a fountain. It features a depiction of death on a donkey under the sun, symbolizing life's transience.

Designated as a historic monument and a national cultural asset in 1921, the church has been hosting outdoor classical music concerts each summer since 1973. In 2008, commemorating 100 years since the 1908 refurbishment of the bell tower, two new bells were installed. These bells, with weights of 260 kilograms and 70 kilograms, were made by Paccard Foundry in Annecy.

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Eglise Saint-Germain on Map

Sight Name: Eglise Saint-Germain
Sight Location: Geneva, Switzerland (See walking tours in Geneva)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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