St. Bartholomew's Church is a 13th-century Protestant church in the Damgarten district of the town of Ribnitz-Damgarten in Western Pomerania.
The chancel was built before 1260 as a square brick building and originally had a vault, which was destroyed in the 30-year war. Since the 17th century it has had a flat wooden ceiling.The nave was added as a late Gothic brick building with a wooden barrel-shaped ceiling in the 15th century. The present tower was consecrated on November 6, 1887, replacing the half-timbered tower built in 1723, which was demolished in 1884. The sacristy was probably built in the 14th century. Today it has new artistically designed windows by Thomas Kuzio. The south portal was built in its present form in connection with the new tower construction around 1890. However, there was an old predecessor building. Today it houses a boiler room, WC and a small kitchen. The church stands on a natural hill. Probably there was already a place of worship of the Slavs here. Until the 20th century the hill was used as a cemetery. The church consists of five parts: Chancel, nave, tower, sacristy and south portal.
On the medieval altar there is a baroque altarpiece. It was made by the Stralsund master B. W. Sellin and was made in 1721 (inscription on the back). The central center is the Last Supper scene with semi-plastic figures.
Left: Jesus as the judge of the world with the globe.
Right: John the Baptist with Bible and lamb symbolizing Jesus' innocent death (Isaiah 53:7).
Next to the cross probably Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, a disciple of Jesus. The altar forms the religious center of the church, symbolizing the presence of God. This is where the sacrament of Holy Communion is administered.
The baptism dates back to the 19th century and is a cast work of the Berlin workshop M. Geiss. The original baptismal font was certainly made of wood and was probably destroyed. The old baptismal bowl from the 16th century is still in use today. Jesus himself was baptized and commissioned his disciples to baptize.
The pulpit is also a work of the master B. W. Sellin from Stralsund. It depicts important persons of the Bible: Moses, Paul and the four evangelists. Assigned to them are the four symbolic beings described by the seer John in his Revelation (chap. 4) as guardians of God's throne:
- Angels (Matthew): Incarnation of God
- Lion (Mark): Christ's resurrection
- Bull (Luke): Christ's sacrificial death
- Eagle (John): Ascension of Christ
In the bell lid is the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. On the crowning Christ is depicted as the risen Christ. The pulpit is the place of proclamation of God's message to the people.
The present organ dates back to 1971, it was built by the company Sauer from Frankfurt (Oder) and consecrated on August 29, 1971. Before that the church had a Buchholz organ from 1848. During the demolition of the old organ a letter was found. It was written by one of the employees of the organ building company from Berlin. The original can be seen at the present organ.
Further data on the building history:
1997: New church tower clock with radio control
1999/2000: New windows in the nave
2000: Sponge removal and renewal of the church roof (nave)
2001: Redesign of the church square
2002: Complete renovation of the church tower and redesign of the south portal
2002: Redesign of the chancel and dedication of the three windows (Faith, Love, Hope), created by glass artist Thomas Kuzio.