The Palace Church

You are very welcome to go inside and take a seat on one of the pews whilst you find out more about the history of the church. The church is usually open on weekdays from 8am until 2pm. However, the opening hours depend on volunteers coming to lock and unlock the door, so may vary.

The first room you enter was originally the site of the box for the ladies of the court. The double door on the south side of the church facing the palace courtyard used to be the main entrance to the church. On the balcony directly above the entrance room is the box for the duke, with its own entrance directly from the princely residence.

The first thing that catches your eye when you look into the palace church is the high, light barrel-vaulted room with the stunning construction of the pulpit positioned directly above the altar and the organ above the pulpit.

This is a striking feature because the architect had strict instructions. The position of the boxes determined the structure, both of the altarpiece and the floor layout, and he fulfilled his brief very commendably. A harmonious unity of three very different pieces has been created: Altar, pulpit and organ right opposite the ducal box, so that the prince had a clear view of all three elements.

This grand structure, where the “word” and the altar are literally built together, is to be found in German principality churches and the, now sadly burnt down, chapel at Christiansborg Palace.

The balcony is supported by twelve Tuscan columns. Twelve Corinthian columns support the ceiling from the balcony. The pulpit and altar are flanked by two fluted pillars and gilded ornaments.

Only minor changes have since been made to the magnificent neoclassical room with rococo stucco ornaments added by Michel Angelo Taddei.

The black and white marble tiles on the floor are original. The room is characterised by a subdued style and a restrained palette of what were at the time of the prince modern colours: White, gold and pearl grey.

The five-sided pulpit and canopy is placed, as dictated by the style of the time, in the place of the altarpiece. It is adorned with gilded rocailles and leaf ornaments. Access to the pulpit is via a stairwell behind the main room of the church.

However, the ducal family wanted a traditional decoration for the altar table. Therefore, Duke Frederick Christian I, who commissioned the building of the church, asked his gifted footman, Christian Rudolph Ebeling, to carve a crucifix, which can still be seen on the altar.

The baptismal font is made of Carrara marble and was a gift from the Russian emperor, Alexander I.  He was the godfather of Duke Christian August II’s first-born son in 1821. The boy was named Alexander, but, despite the name, the little heir to the palace only lived for two years.

The church has had many prominent guests. Indeed, we should mention the wedding of Prince (later King Christian VIII) and the future Queen Caroline Amalie who was daughter of the house of Augustenborg.

After the Schleswig wars, during which the duke was forced to sell the palace, the parish of Augustenborg was given the right to use the church by the German state, a permanent right of use, which ensures the citizens of Augustenborg have a parish church regardless of who may own the palace.

Mention must be made of the very fine organ, which is especially well suited to romantic music. The first organ was made in Itzehoe in Germany in 1775. In 1907, the German Empress Auguste Viktoria, born the Princess of Augustenborg, donated a new organ. In 1978, the organ was renovated by Marcussen & Son, financed by the congregation as a token of their appreciation for the use of the palace church.

The location of the two bells of the church was also determined by the strict architectural requirements. If they had been placed on top of the church, as it is usual in the medieval churches, it would have disturbed the strict neoclassical symmetry. They were therefore placed in the bell tower above the gate to the palace courtyard.

During World War I, when there was a shortage of metal for making weapons, all parish churches, with two or more bells, had to hand over one bell for recasting. However, the bells of Augustenborg Palace were exempt because the palace church was privately owned.

Thank you for visiting Augustenborg Palace Church.