The South of Moselle

A Protestant diaspora

The Protestant church in Abreschviller © Pierre Grosjean

The Protestant church in Abreschviller © Pierre Grosjean

This tour of the South of Moselle will lead you in the footsteps of a scattered Calvinist community of the 19th Century. You will also discover the biblical message from different angles. In Lafrimbolle, a Protestant school (which became a church) was built in the 19th Century in a poor neighbourhood to enable everyone to read the Bible. At the Chapel of the Cordeliers in Sarrebourg, Chagall's famous stained-glass window is a magnificent example of the biblical message. The same theme may be found in Pascal Poirot's 20 contemporary pictures in the church in Abreschviller.



Start your visit with the Chapel of the Cordeliers, that dates from the 13th century. When the region was annexed to Germany in 1870, the building became a place of worship for the Protestant soldiers. Today, the Chapel is famous for Marc Chagall's huge stained-glass window called « The Peace » (12m high), given in 1976, in which you may see many biblical themes or scenes.



In Sarrebourg, you will also see the Protestant church on the avenue Joffre. The annexation by the German Empire left a strong mark on Sarrebourg, as in 1870 it became a garrison town. The church was built in 1896 in a neo-Gothic style, in order to accommodate 750 parishioners – at the time, thousands of German soldiers lived in the town. Both the Bible given by the Prussian empress and the Central Gallery, known as the Imperial Box, remind us of the Wilhelminian era.


Take the D44 for 16,7km to Abreschviller and visit its church, 185 rue Chatrian. There you will find an exhibition of 20 contemporary pictures of the Alsatian artist Pascal Poirot, on different themes such as the tower of Babel, the flood, Pentecost, the ladders, the building... all symbols of the Reformation, always reforming. You may also notice its Dalstein-Haerpfer organ, and in the chancel, its big stained-glass window symbolising the crucifixion.


Carry on the D44 for 400m, then turn right on the D96 for 7,5km towards Saint-Quirin, then Col du Donon until the fork to the D993 that you take for 450m towards Cirey-sur-Vezouze until La Censé Manée. In this old farm, on the left-side of the road, in the 19th century, before the school was built in Lafrimbolle, the Banzet family had an oratory in which the pastor of Sarrebourg celebrated occasional services.


Finish your tour by taking the D993 for 4,6 km towards Lafrimbolle and its church, 48 rue de la 2e division blindée, just outside the village on the route de Cirey. In the middle of the 19th century a school was built at the place called « Les Harcholins »; it was also to be used as a church. The school remained until 1885. Take a look at the outside of the church. Notice its shingle covered little steeple with two bells, its small-paned arched windows, a Bible placed on its front door lintel, and handwritten entries on either side of the door. Inside, you will discover a remarkable alter and pulpit. The graveyard, just above the church, includes old tombs from the 19th century, among which those of the three Berger-Levrault sisters, who came from an influential protestant family from Rothau, from the Berger-Levrault publishing house.


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