St Hedwig’s Cathedral
Berlin’s cathedral church of St Hedwig is some 240 years old, its foundation stone having been laid in 1747, and the church consecrated on All Saints’ Day 1773. It is the first post-Reformation Catholic church in Berlin and is modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, albeit with more modest proportions. The church only acquired the status of a cathedral in 1930, when the Diocese of Berlin was established.
On Sunday and on the great solemnities and feasts of the Church, Holy Mass and other liturgies are celebrated in the main (upper) church. On weekdays, when the numbers attending services are typically fewer, Mass is said in the lower church.
The church is dedicated to St Hedwig, the onetime Duchess of Silesia (born 1174 and died 1243). She was canonised in 1267. The choice of Hedwig as patron for the new Berlin church was significant. Prussia had annexed Silesia in 1742, and significant numbers of Catholic migrants from Silesia moved to Berlin in the years thereafter. Hedwig’s patronage thus gave a clear link with the Silesian homeland of these new arrivals in Berlin.