What is the Carmelite Church of Boppard?

Situated on the upper Middle Rhine, Boppard was first established in Roman times. From around 643, Boppard became a Frankish royal estate before gaining the status of a Free Imperial City (a self-ruling city that enjoyed Imperial immediacy, subordinate only to the emperor) under the Holy Roman Empire. As such it was often frequented by the German kings.

In 1309, Emperor Heinrich VII pledged Boppard to his brother, Archbishop Baldwin of Trier. The townsfolk of Boppard opposed this merger, which they considered unlawful and in which they lost their independence. They struggled against this merger with the Electorate of Trier for many years, involving several wars and sieges.

The Carmelite Catholic Church and former Carmelite monastery of Boppard was under construction in 1320 and was extended with a new north nave started in 1439 and consecrated by the then Archbishop of Trier in 1444. It is from the windows of the north wall of this new nave that the Boppard windows in the Burrell Collection come from.

The Carmelites are an Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a Roman Catholic religious order founded, probably in the 12th century, on Mount Carmel in northern Israel. Boppard was one of the smaller Carmelite foundations usually having no more than twelve regular clergy and some lay brothers, but unusually, it served as the parish church for the local area, so it enjoyed a large congregation and the associated financial support. A representative of the Carmelites in Cologne had defended the idea of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary at the Council of Basel from 1438, and this, combined with the support of the Beyer von Boppard family who were the imperial administrators of the region, had an important impact on why the design of the windows in the north nave was so outstanding.

Photo by Holger Weinandt (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Holger Weinandt (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “What is the Carmelite Church of Boppard?

  1. The main parish church in Boppard is St. Severus, which was begun in the 12th century, so the Carmelite church may have been “a” parish church in Boppard, but it was not “the” church for Boppard; in fact, there are several other churches here.

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