The Kaiserdom in Speyer (1030-1124) is the greatest Romanesque church in the world reflecting the medieval idea of a Christian empire. The book of Revelation describes the new Jerusalem as a city with three portals on each side with a total of 12 portals so the west facade has three portals. There are three figures above the portal as the guide brochure points oul: Proto-martyr Stephan as patron of the cathedral, Archangel Michael, patron of Germany, Mary to whom the Cathedral is dedicated, John the Baptist since the cathedral is the main baptistery and Saint Bernard its most famous visitor (1146). Over the portal is the rose window with Jesus in the middle as the center of creation and the fulfillment of human life.
The porch. Although three are three doors to the porch there is only one door into the cathedral. It is like the narrow gate. Above the door is written: “May they all be one!” The cathedral was the last important church to be built before the schism of 1054.
The crypt is the oldest part of the cathedral. When you enter a deep silence penetrates the soul. The rhythm of the columns and the light still the soul. The altar in the crypt contains 7 altars and a main altar. The baptismal font is hewn from one stone and is the oldest font north of the Alps.
The Central Nave. When I walked in, the nave overwhelmed me although it is devoid of ornamentation which gives it a clear direction. There is no distraction but the believer is led directly to the apse. There is a subtle symbolism in that there are 12 pillars on both sides symbolizing the church is founded on the witness of the 12 apostles. The nave has 6 vaults symbolizing not only the heavens but the six days of creation.
When I began to walk down the nave I noticed on the floor: O Clemens. Then I noticed O Pia then O Dulcis Virgo Maria. I began to chant the Salve Regina in my mind which lead me to look up to the left, and the Virgin welcomes you to the choir. Later I learned Saint Bernard of Clairvaux added these words to the Salve Regina when he visited the cathedral.
The choir and apse. The symbolism of the cathedral is evocative. The cupola symbolizes the seventh day but is given an octagonal shape to symbolize the eigth day of the Lord’s Resurrection and under the cupola is the altar.
When turn to the west you walk into the burial places of the kings and emperors of the Salian dynasty. The guidebook provided a profound invitation to pray today for those who have political responsibility to the welfare of society amd peace.