The parish church St. Martin Batzenhofen

According to opinion of the diocese researcher Dr. Schroeder existed in Batzenhofen already since the first half of the 8th century a church, dedicated to the popular Saint of the Franks St. Martin, which is older than convent the St. Stefan in Augsburg. It has been proved that it stood in the year 969 on the area of the Meier estate. The Gothic altar area may be built around 1500. The choir and the three basements of the tower are still preserved from that time. Documents of the Episcopal chair from the year 1676 tell us, this house of God is one of the most beautiful in the whole chapter. From 1717 - 1720 a new baroque nave was built. The Diedorf local master Johann Georg Kuen painted the nave around 1721 and placed there also the cloak sharing and the tree miracle of St. Martin. As proof that the Christian God is stronger than the old Germanic divinity Martin brings a dedicated tree to the collapse. On further miracle acts of the Saint report cartouches, which seam the ceiling. Why however just the in choir Saint Lawrence (Laurentius) on the grille is shown? In Batzenhofen 1725 the brotherhood of the poor souls was founded, that still exists today. Its patron saint is St. Lawrence. On 20 September 1722 was consecration of the new nave. The lower part of the tower provided with lesenes along the corners and pointed arch windows remained, the saddleback roof was removed 1737 and on a new octagonal, richly sectionalized tower top part a copper onion dome put on. The stores of the tower, which is widely visible into the landscape, are held together by an idea-rich and masterfully implemented stucco work and covered by a bell-shaped copper hood. The plan made by Franz Kleinhans was carried out by master bricklayer Joseph Meitinger from Ustersbach and master carpenter Georg Hoeck from Deubach. Patron tor the work, which lasted somewhat longer than half a year and causes cots of 1737 Fl., was Abbess M. Eva Rosina of Bodman.
But not only from the outer side the church is dominating. Also in the interior area it offers a set of splendid crafts. The special harmony of the nave is remarkable. The architect succeeded in a fine match of building proportions and incident light. Deliberately the owners chose for walls and ceiling pastel colors. By doing this they emphasize the lively veneer wood of the ornate carpenter work of pulpit, altars and choir stalls optically particularly well. Above all the intarsia work is outstanding. The Batzenhofen artist Thomas Mayr, who created this fine specimen around 1725, nevertheless lived in poor conditions. Also the cross at the right side wall is made in this style. The high altar with life-sized statues of the holy Bishops Martinus and Nikolaus, produced by the of the famous carver Stefan Luidl, is decorated with an altarpiece, which is a masterpiece of the famous Augsburg court painter Johann Georg Bergmiller from the year 1723 " St. Martin with the Goose". The figures of the twelve apostles as well as the statues of St. Barbara and St. Johannes of Nepomuk at the side walls probably originate from the second half of the 19th Century, an interesting old-German sculpture (a "Pieta") at the right side altar from the 14th Century and the painting of St. Lawrence above from the 16th Century. The altar on the women's side is decorated with a sculpture "Mary with the Jesus child" and a beautiful painting "Mary's Assumption". The frescos of the choir and of the loft are work worth seeing of the painter's brothers Haugg from Ottobeuren and Otto Poeppel from Munich. An inscription under the ceiling vault in direction to the altar area reads: GLORIA ET GRATIANUM ACTIO PACE ET BELLO DEO VIVO ET VERO / to the living and true God be thanksgiving in peacetime as in war.
Organ: The second (upper) loft carries a cone valve chest organ with pneumatic action; build as opus 58 approx. 1920 by the organ building shop of Julius Schwarzbauer / Mindelheim. The work is behind a very beautiful five sectioned later baroque casing on the second (upper) west loft of the church. Both manual wind chests are arranged vertically in the casing. The console is located separately in front of the organ. The view of the player is in direction to the altar. The recently renewed blower engine is under the roof of the church, the organ wind is sucked in from the church room. The engine supplies large double bellows, which are located in a simple, partial open wooden hut.
Unfortunately the organ shows the following serious problems: The technical conception of the instrument is built very confine and hardly accessible. The work actually shows many malfunctions. The wind supply is completely insufficient despite the new blower, as the magazine bellows in the attic still hardly opens - probably due to existing holes in the gussets. The sound of the instrument and the intonation of the stops are insufficiently, expressionless and pale compared to other instruments of the later romantic epoch although the different pipe rows show a relatively good technical condition. The console is meanwhile completely used up and shows often faults. Furthermore the work is severe dirty. Panels and wooden pipes show signs of Anobium (woodworm) attacks.
A general overhaul of the existing organ work is to be advised against for several reasons: Due to the confine design also after a general overhaul the instrument remains unfriendly to maintain which will result in further faulty behavior. Current large weaknesses of the instrument like e.g. the insufficient effect of the swelling flaps of the 2nd manual and the rather poor intonation will remain. For an adequate general overhaul the technical system of the console would have to be renewed completely. This is connected with very high costs, which highly question the expenditure for such an overhaul. The recommendation is therefore a general technical and tonal new conception of the instrument, where the pipe material of the current organ, which has quite intonating reserves, the organ casing, the blower engine and the bellows, can be reused.
It is to be hoped that the willingness of the parish people to make donations, perhaps also encouraged by the in July 2008 created promotion association "Organ Friends Saint Martin", can be activated again in such way, as in the years 1946/47, when despite poor time a complete redecoration was made possible: Otto Poeppel from Frankenhofen provided at that time, as mentioned above, the choir with new frescos on walls and ceiling. Two years later the church got a harmonic chime consisting of the five bells St. Martin (Es), St. Laurentius (Ges), St. Barbara (As), St. Elisabeth (B) and the small Guardian Angel (Des).
1962 together with the renovation of the house of God the vestry was enlarged in proper style. In the same year (1962) the church clock was overhauled and connected to an electrical ringing. The clock was acquired in 1930 from Mannhardt in Munich at the expense of the municipality Batzenhofen. 1988 another redecoration was accomplished. In 2000 another renovation started. The hallway at the west side was torn off and renewed. The staircase to the loft was integrated and also the Fatima Madonna with the popular donation candles. Since this source of soot is eliminated now, another redecoration can begin. First step will have to be the renewal of the outdated warm air heating, which is now the main source of dirt. Also the renewal of the pipe organ is planned (see above).

Sebastian's Chapel, built in 1766, and is put under preservation order. In order to realize the project, Batzenhofen, Rettenbergen and Holzhausen people had to do socage work. Master bricklayer Pontian Huebler from Aystetten and master carpenter Bartholomaeus Schnitzler from Batzenhofen did the main work. Today the chapel is near the 1887 established cemetery wall. In former times the name of the chapel was St. John. It holds a baroque altar with a statue of the "Plague Saint" Sebastian. Thus the change of name probably could be explained by a vow during the plague. There is a valuable bas-relief made of Solnhofen stone "Announcement to Mary" from the year 1504. Also a four foot a high statue of St. Stefan, the first martyr, is worth mentioning. The service held on Sebastian's day in the simple village chapel was in former times together with a horse benediction; for which the farmers gave a grain delivery, for the so-called Sebastian rye. On Palm Sunday still in the 60's a benediction of the palm bunches happened here. Then the bunches were carried in solemn procession to the church. This custom has to be stopped due to the increasing motor traffic. Who knows, perhaps after completion of the planned by-pass a revival may happen? In 1999 the last renovation of the chapel was done and the entire external plaster was renewed. About Sebastian's Chapel then following legend exists: The chapel should originally be built at the highest point of the village, the former Thing place with the mighty old oak. But night after night as if by magic the building material was taken to the place, where the chapel stands today. What remained is the name "Kirchberg" (church hill) for the originally planned building site which again and again brings confusion to strangers. That's why its own side was dedicated to the Kirchberg.

The sketch book of the year 1738 also already mentions the chapel is "Mary in the green" at the north of Edenbergen.

To the parish is also belonging the "St. - Wolfgang Chapel" in Rettenbergen, that might have been built around 1680. Worth to be mentioned is the altar made of so called Ohrmuschelkalk and two groups of helpers in need probably carved by an Innsbruck master in the 17th/18th century. From the usually 14 helpers however only 11 were kept. Where the three missing persons are is unknown today. Maybe they got victims of the saw when there was lack of space to keep them.

Around 1950 the municipalities of the parish built on the northern cemetery area a mortuary and a house for the cemetery attendant. In the year 1961 the graveyard was extended at its west side was by approximately 50 Dezimal (Dezimal is an old Bavarian surface unit of approx. 34 square meters). The 7 1/2 m the high oak cemetery cross is a donation of Freiherr (baron) of Schnurbein, Hemerten, near Rain/Lech. (The cross was replaced in the meantime by a considerably smaller one, made of laminated spruce wood).

The parsonage of Batzenhofen was built in 1705 by the ladies convent St. Stefan in Augsburg. In the year 1890 a repair, in 1952 a restoration took place, where a third of the costs were saved due to voluntary work of the house owners and landowners of the parish. As minister here probably the priest Heinrich Riffe was active around 1279, to whom the abbes of St. Stefan Offenia left the Zehent (an old tax of 10 %) of Rettenbergen lifelong. Later Peter Reisser and around 1600 the canon of "Hl. Kreuz" Johannes Schoeppich are mentioned. From 1632 to 1650 minister Rempold from Landsberg looked after the shepherd-less perishes of Batzenhofen, Luetzelburg, Gablingen and Hirblingen. Their inhabitants had to flee into the forests because of the plundering Swedes and their minister had to ask for asylum in Augsburg and Landsberg. From 1741 to 1748 worked minister Joseph Zaizler, who died at the age of 35 years here. Successor was his brother Thomas Zaizler, who died 1773 at the age of 56 years. Starting from 1803 pastoral care was provided by: Josef Trautwein, Johann Antonius Stadler, Franz Xaver Wolf, Franz Xaver Uhl, curate Nadler from Hirblingen, Anselm Hoegg, Martin Keller, Adolf Baurier, Vikar Anton Stichl from Hirblingen, Alois Kast, Johannes Evangelist Gleich, Josef Strobl and starting from 1944 Anton Meister. After his relocation in 1969 until 1988 curate Pater Dominikus Kirchmair looked after the parish. Also minister Merkt from Gablingen (1988 - 1992), minister Richard Kocher (1989 - 1992), today responsible person for the program of Radio Horeb, and Monsignore Weiss from Gersthofen (1995 - 1997) helped out for some time in Batzenhofen, before the clergymen temporarily came from the Indian Thomas order, which had a residence for some years in Batzenhofen. The charismatic Pater Dr. Zacharias Thudippara (1992 - 1995) and the sporty Benefiziat Pater Sebastian Thengumpillil (1995 - 1997) were then replaced from 01.09.1997 to September 2008 by minister Josef Walser, who lived and acted in Batzenhofen. After a time of both hope and worry without a minister, the parish St. Martin was allowed to celebrate at the beginning of was allowed to celebrate in joy and gratitude in November the installation of Mr. priest Pallottine father Siegfried Hutt from Friedberg, which takes pastoral care for the parish since then. As sacristans at the end of the last century Anton Lippert worked, who was tailor in Edenbergen, and Karl Schmid, a shoemaker assistant. Starting from 1904 worked: Andreas Holzhauser, Andreas Striebel, Bernhard Heuberger, Johann Federle and last Karl Striebel. After his death this task got split up to the meanwhile also dead Maria Erber, with some further women from the parish. The Pfarrdotation (income) in former times consisted of the Widdum (earnings of the parsonage) and the Zehent (tax). 1741 the minister handed over both and got instead of this 120 guldens in gold, 9 Scheffel rye, 6 Scheffel barley, 6 Scheffel grain, 4 Scheffel oats (Augsburg measurement), furthermore 8 Schober rye straw, 3 Fuder barley straw and 3 Fuder oats straw from the manorial Zehent barn. The church curator of the parish was in former times the cashier of the municipality; he had to care for the financial matters, to upkeep the buildings and to set up the holy sepulcher, which was electrically lit for the first time in 1930. The local minister was chairman of the church choir, the principal of the village of was regens chori (choirmaster). Starting from 1965 a musical talented local citizen, Anton Kugelmann, led the choir, from which the local chronicle in 1930 reports: " Small, but tasteful, the choir could to be heard, for devotion and joy of the whole parish." This is true to this very day; even with worldly events its co-operation became indispensable. Starting from 1997 the direction laid for some years in the hands of Isolde Demharter, then with Julia Schmid from Augsburg Oberhausen, with Bendikt Merz from Achsheim and currently with Petra Eckl from Welden. Organist was from 1997 to 2006 Walter Weidmann from the neighboring Gablingen, until he had to give up this duty for health and age reasons. Then changing organists played, in particular Benedikt Merz. The hope for the future rests on the still young shoulders of the talented Sebastian Ehinger. For further information ask the Kath. Parish Office Batzenhofen.

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