The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony. Although the original church was Roman Catholic until it became Protestant during the Reformation, the current Baroque building was purposely built Protestant. It is considered an outstanding example of Protestant sacred architecture, featuring one of the largest domes in Europe.
Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during World War II. The remaining ruins were left as a war memorial, following decisions of local East German leaders. The church was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany. The reconstruction of its exterior was completed in 2004 and its interior in 2005. The church was reconsecrated on 30 October 2005 with festive services lasting through the Protestant observance of Reformation Day on 31 October. It now also serves as symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies.
The Frauenkirche is often called a cathedral, however it is not the seat of a bishop. The bishop's church is the Church of the Cross. Once a month, an Anglican Evensong is held in English, by clergy from the St. George's Anglican Chaplaincy.
A first Kirche zu unser liuben Vrouwen was built in the 11th century in romanesque architecture. It was outside the city walls and surrounded by a grave yard. The Frauenkirche was seat of an archpriest in the Diocese Meißen until Reformation, when it became a Protestant church. This first Frauenkirche was torn down in 1727 and replaced by a new church due to capacity requests. The modern Frauenkirche was built as a Lutheran (Protestant) parish church by the citizenry. Even though Saxony's Prince-elector, Frederick August I, reconverted to Roman Catholicism to become King of Poland, he supported the construction to have an impressive cupola in the Dresden townscape.
The original Baroque church was built between 1726 and 1743, and was designed by Dresden's city architect, George Bähr, who did not live to see the completion of his greatest work. Bähr's distinctive design for the church captured the new spirit of the Protestant liturgy by placing the altar, pulpit, and baptismal font directly centred in view of the entire congregation.