Entrance to the church grounds
If one enters the area around the church through the large forged gate, the view automatically gets stuck in some places of the outside area. Thus, on the way to the church, no matter if one uses the stairs or the narrow path, one first looks to the right to a park-like complex.
Here was for decades (centuries?) the big cemetery at the church (old cemetery). The big one for the reason that there were 2 more cemetery areas. One directly left in front of the church, where some old grave crosses are still standing today, and one behind the church.
After there was no more room for new graves in the old cemetery next to the church, a new cemetery was built in the 1960s, which at that time was located a little outside the village and is now very close to the end of the village.
The old cemetery remained for some time, but in the 90s of the 20th century the gravestones were removed and the ground was levelled and sown as a meadow. Unfortunately some very nice old gravestones were removed, which would have been worth preserving for posterity. Only a few gravestones have been left standing as examples to document the origin of this place, as there are still countless remains of ancestors buried in the ground.
On the scan of the postcard of the west front of the church, the old cemetery with a multitude of grave crosses is recognizable. Already on this picture, which is provided with a stamp and a postmark from 05.08.1926, it can be seen that the cemetery was extremely heavily occupied.
Porch of the church
Continuing on to the church, one’s gaze now falls on the impressive wooden baroque vestibule of the church with its curved gable and transom, in which the
Inscription: SANCTA INDIVIDVA TRINITAS is carved. According to H. W. Struck, this porch was built in 1606 to protect the main entrance.
Main entrance portal
The main entrance portal consists of a 2-wing wooden door from the 13th century. The door is richly decorated with wrought iron tendrils and ornamental fittings. This wrought-iron work also dates from the 13th century. The door handle and lock also date from this period.
The door is framed with large blocks of limestone and the upper half is framed with a semi-circular profiled stone. The ochre yellow of this profile is now quite faded, the red of the upper limestone arch is also heavily faded.
Entrance to the stairs North gallery
Directly to the left of the main portal is also a door that dates from the 2nd half of the 12th century. The door leads to a staircase that provides external access to the north gallery.
The sandstone flat gable lintel above this door originates from the southern door of the church, which was walled up around this time (2nd half of the 12th century).
An inscription is scratched into the sandstone. According to Johannes Ibach, parish priest of Villmar, in “Der Dom zu Limburg – Die Stiftskirche zu Dietkirchen, Verlag von Heinrich August Herz, 1889” the inscription reads
Auctor ecclesiae, absin adjice dum tempus est. Haec ecclesia fons est ecclesiarum.
Author of the Church, add the absis, when it’s time. This Church is the origin of all the Churches (the region).
(German: Urheber der Kirche, füge du, wenn es zeit ist, die Absis hinzu. Diese Kirche ist der Ursprung aller Kirchen (der Umgegend).)
Pastor Hans Becker, who was pastor in Ahlbach from 1959 to 1974, writes however in his treatise “St. Lubentius und Dietkirchen im Lichte neuer Forschungen und Arbeiten, 1966” that a carbon copy of August 30, 1963 by the engineer Schwertle from the State Building Office in Weilburg, sent to Professor Dr. Bernhard Bischoff (German paleographer, philologist and historian, * December 20, 1906, † September 17, 1991) in Munich, was deciphered by him as follows
AVCTORE(M) UITE DVM TEMPUS HABETIS ADITE
HEC DOMUS ORA(N)DI FONS EST PECCATA LAVANDI
Go to the author of life while you have the time,
this house of prayer is the source of forgiveness of sins.
(German: Zum Urheber des Lebens geht, solange ihr Zeit habt,
dieses Bethaus ist die Quelle der Sündenvergebung.)
(Explanation: Palaeography is the teaching of ancient scriptures. Professor Bischoff was considered an outstanding expert on ancient inscriptions)
A door knocker is mounted in the middle of the door. It is the same door knocker that is mounted on the door to the sacristy. Both knockers are a replica of the original bronze door knocker fitting of the sacristy with a diameter of 22.5 cm from the 13th century. The original is housed in the Diocesan Museum.
W. H. Struck describes the door knocker as follows:
It consists of a lion’s head, which carries the door ring in its mouth, and the four evangelist symbols, which heraldically surround the head according to the order of the gospels, starting at the top right and turning left, and are so designated in early Gothic script:
top right S(ANCTVS) MATHEVS LIB(ER) GEN(ERATIONIS),
bottom right S(ANCTVS) MARCV(S) S(ICVT) VOX C(LAMANTIS),
bottom left S(ANCTVS) LVCAS F(VIT) I(N) D(IEBVS) H(ERODIS),
top left S(ANCTVS) IOH(A)N(NE)S I(N) P(RI)NC(IPIO) E(RAT) V(ERBVM)
However, this may not be entirely correct, as the symbols of the evangelists are usually as follows:
Matthew = man with wings (angel)
Mark = lion (beast of the desert)
Luke = bull or ox (sacrificial animal)
John = eagle (high flight of worship)
In the upper left corner a person is shown, so it must be Matthew.
At the top right the eagle is depicted, so this is John.
On the bottom left there is a lion, so this is Mark and therefore the bull, symbol of Luke, remains on the bottom right.
All symbols are equipped with wings.
Graves of priests
The way back down the 13-step staircase leads past the resting places of deceased priests from Dietkirchen, who are buried in various graves to the right of the staircase.
Hier ruht in Gott
Pfarrer von Dietkirchen
Dekan des Landkapitels
geb 1. Okt. 1841
gest. 16. Nov. 1914
Gedenket eurer Vorsteher die euch
das Wort Gottes verkündet haben.
Hebr. 13, 7
Here rests in God
Priest of Dietkirchen
Dean of the land chapter
born Oct. 1, 1841
died nov. 16, 1914
Remember your superiors who
have proclaimed the word of God.
Hebr. 13, 7
In the right of these two graves rests Monsignor Alois Staudt, pastor in Dietkirchen from 1995 to 2004.
On the left rests Wilhelm Breithecker, who was relocated from Ellar to Dietkirchen in 2019 and who was a pastor and honorary citizen of Dietkirchen for many years.
Priest of Dietkirchen
Baroque gravestones Lahn marble
The path now leads to St. Michael’s Chapel, to which a separate page is dedicated, which can be found under the following menu item: -> Top Menu -> Lubentius Church -> St. Michael’s Chapel.
Before we arrive at St. Michael’s Chapel, we should look at the old gravestones on the meadow on the left. They are remnants of the cemetery area that was once located there.
All stones are made of Lahn marble. The connoisseur of Lahn marble, Willi Wabel, described them in a CD which is attached to his book “Form-Farbe-Glanz, Lahnmarmor im Barock” and dated them there. The names and dates as well as the size indications are taken from this CD.
A particularly interesting cross can also be found in this area. Unfortunately, the inscription is almost no longer readable. In the middle of the cross, however, a stylized heart can be seen, in which a symbol is engraved that could be recognized as a hay fork. On the left and right of the symbol are engraved the letters “A” on the left and “E” or “F” on the right. Below the heart, the letters “E” and “K” are also visible. The symbol of the hay fork is possibly an old house sign, which identifies the deceased.
Before heading along St. Michael’s Chapel to the cloister towards the south side of the church, you should take a look at the war memorial, to which a separate page is dedicated under menu: “Information on Dietkirchen -> Memorial to the Victims of the Two World Wars”.
In addition, one should also enjoy the view down and over the course of the Lahn coming from Dehrn with a view of Dehrn Castle.
At the southern end of St. Michael’s Chapel, a passageway called the cloister leads around the rounding of the chorapsis. Only through this corridor was it formerly possible to enter the area south of the church from outside.
A cloister that in fact once existed south of the church is no longer in existence, but could be proven in the excavations of 1962. The construction of this cloister is classified by Struck as belonging to the age of Church II. It would thus be Ottonian, around 1000 AD.
At the end of the vaulted corridor there is a niche on the left side with a grotto of the Virgin Mary. The walls are clad with lighter and darker limestones, the rounded edge at the end of the grotto, as well as the floor edges and also one lateral line each are visually highlighted with black basalt stones.
South side of the church – The “Zinne”
At the end of the vaulted walkway you reach the south side of the church, the so-called “Zinne”.
Here you also come across a former cemetery area and behind the wall, looking out over the Lahn on the southern terraces, you can still see the foundation wall remains of the former monastery buildings.
The cemetery itself has been levelled in the meantime, only a few old baroque crosses made of Lahn marble can still be seen, some of which have already been described above on this page. The elevated place next to the towers was mainly used as a children’s cemetery in former times.
- Wolf-Heino Struck, Das Stift St. Lubentius in Dietkirchen, 1986
- Photos: Ludwig Ries