The Wies Church, or Wieskirche originated from a miracle that happened on June 14, 1738. In a remote area in Bavaria south of Schongau and Peiting, near the tiny village of Steingaden, there is a wooden figure called the “Scourged Saviour in the Wies”. Upon that figure someone saw tears falling from the eyes on the statue. This miraculous occasion drew in a pilgrimage from throughout Germany, and eventually throughout the world.
It is worth mentioning that at the time the tears were seen on the sculpture it was basically just sitting in someone’s barn. The statue, which had been made out of pieces from other sculptures had become and eyesore to the people who attended the then wooden church. After it was decided that the sculpture wasn’t fit for display it was sent up to the church attic, and then to a barn where it sat until the tears were seen flowing from It’s eyes.
Because of the many pilgrimages that were made to the site, it was soon recognized that a larger structure had to be made to accommodate all of the people that were travelling to the site. From that thought grew the Wies Church as it is today, in it’s beautiful and graceful rococo style. The church was created by Dominikus and Johann Baptist Zimmermann of Wessobrunn (brothers). The church is such the epitome of rococo architecture that it has been named a cultural site on the World Heritage List.
Inside the Wies Church…
Appropriately, the main feature of the church is the Scourged Saviour, where the original miracle of the tears were seen in 1738. Above the sculpture, magnificent frescoes depict the resurrection of Christ. Because of rococo styling of the church, the texture of the altar, ceilings, and pillars all display the ornate and gilded beauty of this type of architecture. The pews are solid wood and carved meticulously as are the other sculptures and statues to be seen adorning the church.
The Abbot and monastery of Steingaden were responsible for sponsoring the construction of the church and were certainly generous with their offerings. The colors demonstrated in the church represent the theological beliefs of sacrificial blood (red) and forgiveness and grace (blue). The windows throughout the church cast a warming light on the beautiful paintings and ornamentation seen throughout the castle.