A gem of sacral architecture
Newspaper "Unkeler Zeitung" Nr. 13 from 29. March 2001

Erpel's parish church St. Severinus gets renovated – modifications are part of history

The bulky parish church St. Severinus is located in the historical core of the village right next to the Baroque city hall from the 18th century. The church, being more than 800 years old, is very valuable in respect to its cultural history. After completion of several weeks of work the church will shine in a new light. According to pastor Günter Lülsdorf main repairs of this three-nave column basilica include the restoration of the walls, damaged by water from the Rhine during flooding, renovation of the roof and a fresh coat of paint for the church tower. Several additions, alterations, and renovations mark the long history of this parish church in the heart of the village. Already during the 13th century a new church was added to the already existing tower.

Work is being done on parish church St. Severinus

The appearance of the church was updated in 1751. According to the flier "Rhine area cultural places: Erpel" this included a new roof for the tower, the dismantling of the ruinous side towers, dismantling of the galleries except for a few remains, and the heightening of the roofs of the two side naves. The responsible master builder Nikolaus Krakamp said in 1751: The increased hight resulted in more light, which provided more room and volume.

Between 1960 and 1967 architect Hans Lob from Siegburg conducted extensive renovation again. One result: due to the construction the late Romanesque style including the galleries was restored. Further restorations were done by the restorer Johannes Hartmann from Bruchhausen.

With its treasures and artful renovations Erpel's parish church still is a gem of sacral architecture that is worth seeing. Legend has it that the patronage of the parish church St. Severinus shows the close ties to Cologne. Erpel has never been under leadership of any worldly sovereign, but the church chapter in Cologne. This resulted in the saying "A life under the crook is a good one", says mayor Edgar Neustein. Here in the free beauty Erpel the relics of the Three Wise Men rested in 1164, when archbishop Rainald von Dassel brought them from Milan, Italy, to Cologne and took a stop in Erpel. The three golden crowns in Erpel's court of arms are a reminder of this.

Text and photo: Hans-Joachim Röder