LEIPZIG, GERMANY -- (Marketwired) -- 04/27/13 -- There's nowhere else on Earth where so few people believe in God as in Eastern Germany, a worldwide study of the University of Chicago concludes. It states that only 13% of Eastern Germans declared to have always been religious.
With this in mind, it's practically a miracle that, today in the middle of Leipzig, Eastern Germany's second largest city, the foundation stone was laid for a large, completely new Catholic church. Heiner Koch, Catholic bishop of the Dresden-Meißen Diocese, spoke of a "day of awakening" for the Leipzig Priory of St. Trinitatis. "The community is constantly growing. Especially young people are finding a home here. But it is also a place of hospitality for all residents of Leipzig, especially for those seeking a place of contemplation," the bishop said.
Indeed, the more than 300-year-old parish is extraordinarily young, with an average age of just 36. In recent years, it has grown by more than 100 members a year to now well over 4,000 believers. Its first house of prayer sustained severe war damage in 1943 and had to be demolished. After that, Leipzig's Protestant community opened its churches to its Catholic fellow Christians for services for many years. It wasn't until 1980 that the then Communist magistrate finally allowed a new church to be built on swampy terrain -- leaving the building dilapidated today.
"Now we're building it right in the middle of the city, among the people of Leipzig," enthused provost Lothar Vierhock. "We are receiving aid and solidarity throughout Germany and Europe. More than 12,000 donors, collections in all German Catholic congregations, and a handsome sum from the German Bonifatiuswerk have already pooled together more than EUR 5 million." Collections will continue until the church is completed by the end of 2014.
Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, was also at the event: "A new church in the middle of what is considered to be an atheist Eastern German city would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The city is now receiving an architectural and religious center at its very heart."
More information: www.propstei-leipzig.de
Photos (Media use free of charge): http://www.flickr.com/photos/45165816@N03/
Pastor Gregor Giele
Catholic Priory of St. Trinitatis
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