The parish church St.Stephani named after the first christian martyr the Holy Stephanus, is the home of the Bremer Kantorei St. Stephani. It is the third eldest and third largest church of the town and located in the western end of the old town on “Stephaniberg” the highest of the dunes Bremen was built on.
Situated between “Brill” and “Überseestadt” St.Stephani is the centre of the Stephani quarter, one of the four historic quarters of Bremen. In former centuries it was mainly inhabited by merchants, workmen, carters and fishermen. During World War II the quarter was almost completely destroyed but reconstructed afterwards.
The roots of St.Stephani – originally St. Wilhadi and St.Stephani – go back to the middle of the 11th century. The oldest parts of the today’s Gothic church come from the 13th century. At the end of the 14th century it was turned into a hall church. Since 1856 the neo-Gothic south tower has marked the townscape.
St.Stephani was heavily damaged by the bomb attacks in August 1944; impressing photographs inside the church document the entire dimension of the destruction. The southern side aisle was completely destroyed and not rebuilt, the northern one however, was repaired and made into parish church. By 1959 the nave and the transept (57 metres long 36 metres wide) were restored.
Several up to 500 kilogramme-heavy trass chandeliers from the 17th century survived the war. In 1964/65 the church received its new Beckerath-organ which since then has set standards by its material, quality, architectural style, disposition of stops and sound intonation in respect of craftmanship and art as well.
Since the beginning of 2007 St.Stephani has been appointed Cultural church of the Protestant Church of Bremen. It is a place of dialogue between church and cultural experiments, spiritual game and search for deeper meaning. New kinds of performances mark the space. Also after this new orientation the Bremer Kantorei St. Stephani still plays a leading role with its tradition of more than 125 years.