In another sickening twist of fate a month later…much of the state and ecclesiastical archives were moved for safekeeping to the castle at Wässerndorf (next to Seinsheim) in the country. Among other things, prosperous segments of the Diocese of Würzburg had kept exquisite and thorough sacramental records dating back to the beginning of the 16th century— exceptionally rare considering the Council of Trent did not mandate this practice until decades later that century. Following the death of an American officer USAF P-47 Thunderbolts firebombed the area and ground troops torched the castle on
In the winter of 1946 most of the remaining sections of the Kiliansdom collapsed. Over the next two decades countless Trümmerfrauen (‘Rubble-women’) carefully rebuilt and replicated much of the historical city.
There were three reconstruction proposals for the cathedral. The winning bid was taken in 1960 and the building was completed in 1967 incorporating what it could of the previous structure. A splendid historically-informed organ by Klais arrived in the gallery in 1969.
The choir was set up as the presbytery, and the cathedra relocated in the apse. The remaining stucco was preserved and renovated, while the flat nave ceiling received modern painting by Fritz Nagel. A bulk of the responsibility and decision making for this courageous and pioneering design came from Bishop Julius Döpfner and builder Hans Schädel. And, finally…the main altar was relocated to the crossing!
As mentioned above, one bell survived WWII— the Lobdeburg bell of 1257. The others melted. In 1965 eleven new bells were cast by Schilling of Heidelberg. The largest bell at nine tons is aptly inscribed: “JESV CHRISTE - SALVATOR MVNDI VENI CVM PACE - ANNO DOMINI MCMLXV” (Jesus Christ - Savior of the world, come in peace - In the year of our Lord 1965). Since 2000 the bells have been controlled by a computerized system.
The last couple decades have seen some additional work: in 1987 Hubert Elsässer added paintings depicting the history of the Faith in
2008 saw the 160th anniversary of the German Bishop’s Conference which first met in Würzburg in 1848 and quite appropriately reconvened there this year. On Monday 12 February more than 70 cardinals, archbishops, and bishops came together for Mass with Karl Cardinal Lehmann in the Kiliansdom. The outgoing Cardinal Chairman offered high praise for the diocese: "
Also this spring eight new bells from the Rudolf Perner foundry of