Strange Flatmates: Where the Fab Four Meet the Holy Trinity

St.Joseph Church in Hamburg-St.Pauli
Ein Beitrag von Ryan Gresham. Der ELBSALON.de hat einen neuen Autor. Ryan Gresham wird ab jetzt regelmäßig Beiträge schreiben. Ryan ist Amerikaner und lebt schon sehr lange im Hamburg. Er ist freiberuflicher Autor und schreibt am liebsten auf Englisch. Da sicherlich die meisten unserer Leser Englisch verstehen und sich unsere englischsprachigen Leser feuen werden, lassen wir die Texte im Original. Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

When John Lennon famously lobbed one of his PR grenades in the mid-60s by saying that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, he was, of course, just fudging: the ranks of Christians had swelled to over a billion by then, while Lennon’s quartet, already descending from their apex, hadn’t moved half that number of albums. Not bad from the ex-mop tops, naturally, but less messianic than reported.

One might wonder how many Beatles nuts, while sailing down Hamburg’s Große Freiheit from beginning to end some evening, recall Lennon’s comment. That’s because the well-worn St. Pauli jaunt, and one-time Lennon playground, starts at the Beatles memorial at the Reeperbahn intersection, but finishes (at least the really loud and lurid stretch of it) at another monument to superstardom: St. Joseph Catholic Church. Passersby will find the high brick facade of the rather diminutive Baroque chapel quietly watching over them from behind a low wall and iron gate – and, fittingly, staring down one of the Beatles’ earliest Hamburg haunts: Bruno Koschmider’s now legendary Kaiserkeller club across the street.

The picture is, of course, rife with weirdness: a shrine to Hamburg’s illegitimate English sons sparkles at one end of the road, while an homage to the Christian God’s one and only son hunkers down at the other; odd bookends on a kooky thoroughfare. In fact, a hall of worship silently lurking amid the neon and noise of an amped-up circus like the Große Freiheit is a good example of what makes Hamburg such an interesting town: a city where old and new often knock heads in a running spat over attention and relevancy.

St. Joseph – which will celebrate its 300th birthday not too long from now – was the first Catholic church built in northern Europe after the Reformation. It’s also a fine example of early 18th century, single-nave Baukunst. You might want to check it out for those reasons alone. But you might also want to drop by to see how, at least in this corner of the world, Jesus and rock and roll are getting on.

St. Joseph Church, Große Freiheit 43, Hamburg