Das Jahr der Kirche [The Year of the Church]
A large-format German liturgical calendar in the Medieval style.
A scarce example of German evangelical ephemera.
This is a ‘calendar wheel’ depicting the year as understood by the German Evangelical Church in the first half of the 20th century. It was originally compiled by Karl Bernhard Ritter, a theologian and politician in the national-conservative Deutschnationale Volkspartei during the Weimar Republic. This edition was issued after the Second World War and constituted a re-drawing of Ritter’s original by Annelise Keller & Lise Hämpe. It was published in 1951 by Johannes Stauda Verlag in Kassel.
The wheel essentially depicts the liturgical calendar, structured around commemorating certain days and seasons related to the history of Christian salvation. The calendar is augmented by a range of recognizable features, including the four elements (one in each corner of the page) and the zodiac. The wheel is divided into four equal sections, each of which lists the weeks and main events of the ecclesiastical year. This division of the calendar wheel is highlighted in red and has the added benefit of functioning as a cross that visually centers the composition. At the center are four emblems that represent the four evangelists: St. Matthew (lion), St. Mark (bull), St. Luke (man), and St. John (eagle).
The image nevertheless also constitutes an allegory to the characteristics of the archangels as defined in the prophetical visions of Ezekiel: intelligence (man), power (lion), servility (bull), and agility or speed (eagle). [Ezekiel 1:10]