Berlin – The horror is great: there was a fire in the Paul Gerhardt Church in Berlin! The more than 100-year-old altar, the historical altarpiece and the wooden organ fell victim to the flames and are irretrievably lost.
Unbelievable: The police assume arson.
Thursday evening, Wisbyer Straße in Prenzlauer Berg: A witness observes a suspect who is noticeably hastily leaving the church. Shortly thereafter, clouds of smoke rise from the church, and a passer-by alerts the fire brigade. The rescuers extinguish the flames and are able to prevent them from spreading to neighboring houses.
But all that remains of the altar, altarpiece and organ are charred wood and ashes. “The incident hits the heart of the church,” says Pastor Aljona Hofmann.
Soot deposits appear in the entire church interior and up to the 40 meter high towers. The heat of the flames causes cracks in the masonry. The construction supervision then blocked the altar area.
The church is closed until further notice. “It is not yet clear when it can open again,” says spokeswoman Christiane Bertelsmann.
The believers who pray in the Paul Gerhardt Church first have to go to one of the other three churches in the community. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for the crawling service for families with children up to six years of age, which was supposed to take place on Sunday.
“With 10,000 parishioners, the parish of Prenzlauer Berg Nord is one of the largest in the city,” explains the spokeswoman. On Friday evening, a prayer service with 100 participants took place in front of the church.
As bad as the fire is for the community – there is also good news: “A wooden angel survived the flames,” says the spokeswoman. The community is very happy about that. The Easter candle also survived the fire.
“This is a symbolic sign,” said the spokeswoman. “Easter is the time of hope.”