With a festive service for Reformation Day on Saturday in Hamburg, the main church St. Michaelis reopened after extensive renovations. Far more than 2.000 people followed the call of the Michel bells in the evening, inviting them to the service. The Michel had been completely closed off since the beginning of the year; in total, work on the major construction site lasted more than a quarter of a century.
"We can marvel and join in the rejoicing that we have such a beautiful church again," said Bishop Maria Jepsen in a greeting. She recalled the past months in which the congregation had celebrated its services in the crypt, the vaulted crypt under the Michel. The bishop called for the beautifully renovated Michel to be seen in the future not just as a landmark or a monument, but as a house of God.In his sermon, head pastor Alexander Roder thanked the people, institutions and companies who had contributed their money, time and commitment to the Michel over the years. Despite the 26-year renovation for a total of around 33 million euros, the Michel was always a "construction site in operation". Last year alone, according to Roder, 1.2 million visitors were counted.Roder recalled that the rapid interior renovation, including heating and electrical systems, a new copper roof and restored organs, was largely thanks to the Hamburg couple Lieselotte and Gunter Powalla. Only with their generous interim financing had the work been possible "in one go". This also applies to the Michel organs as well as to the new remote organ work in the church roof.The latter was particularly close to Lieselotte Powalla’s heart, but the patron died in April at the age of 86.Northern Germany’s largest church is now available to the congregation again. Nevertheless, the reopening is to take place a second time on 1. Advent (29. November) to be celebrated at the beginning of the new church year. On this day, the unique remote organ movement in Hamburg and the large Michel organ will sound for the first time. The patron of the "St. Michel Foundation", founded in May 2002, is also expected to attend. Michaelis," Hamburg’s First Mayor Ole von Beust (CDU).