Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Switzerland, Verwaltungskreis Bern-Mittelland

The Church of the Holy Ghost (German: Heiliggeistkirche) is a Swiss Reformed Church in Bern, Switzerland. The Swiss heritage site of national significance building is located at Spitalgasse 44 in the Old City of Bern. It is one of largest Swiss Reformed churches in Switzerland. The first church on the site was a small church built shortly before the 1228 construction of the Holy Ghost hospital and abbey. This building was replaced by the second church in 1482-96. From 1528-1604 the church was secularized by the reformers. In 1604 it was again used for religious services, as the hospital church for the Oberer Spital. The second church was demolished in 1726 to make way for a new church building. Following an 11 year planning phase, in 1726-29 the third church was built by Niklaus Schiltknecht. This church was built out of a local sandstone. Until 1865 it was located west of the Christoffelturm and the Christoffelturm Church. However, these buildings were demolished to make way for the new train station. The first organ in the new church was installed in 1804, and was replaced in 1933 by the second organ. The church has six bells, one of the two largest was cast in 1596 and the other in 1728. The four other bells were all cast in 1860. With about 2000 seats, it is one of the largest Reformed churches. The interior is supported by 14 monolithic columns made of sandstone and has a free-standing pulpit in the northern part of the nave. Much like the St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, the Church of the Holy Ghost holds about 2,000 people and is one of the largest Protestant churches in Switzerland. During the 1726 construction of the church, Roman religious objects were discovered under the foundation. From this find, it appears likely that the church sits on the site of an old Roman temple. From 1693 to 1698 the hospital's chief minister was the Pietist theologian, Samuel Heinrich K├Ânig. In 1829 and 1830, the vicar of the church was the poet Jeremias Gotthelf.