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St. Stephen's Cathedral: The Resplendent Baroque Church of Passau

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A majestic House of God sits atop a hill in the Altstadt, “Old City”, of Passau. It overlooks the glistening Danube River and the junction of Ilz, a tributary of the Danube running through the Bavarian Forest. Inside is said to sit the largest organ in Europe, a powerful instrument which touchingly resonates the sound of heaven itself within your ears. Take an easy journey on foot directly up to the welcoming front door and feel the triumph of the Catholic Church the moment you set eyes upon the impressive Bavarian baroque edifice. The white and aged-teal tiered outside, though a bit weathered, commands respect with its emotion evoking statues and frescoes, while the ornate inside, commands your breath.

Pearly white and rose colors mixed with sunlight, allowed to flood in from the stained glass-less, windows engulf your vision, but neither are as stunning nor intense as the gold that glows and crowns the side walls and the ever-famous organ. The lack of stained glass allows, even on the most overcast of days, the church’s spectators a seemingly shadow-less interior. As your eyes explore every detail of the ornate architecture, you smile at the detailed cherub paintings on the ceiling and eventually rest on the glowing organ.

Every day during the midday hour, sit center left, and you will be moved by the acoustics of a thirty-minute composure. The symphony is brought to life by 17,774 pipes and 233 registers, mechanically producing lyrical-less hymns that invigorate and elate. It’s as if angels created a spectacular concert in an ostentatious abode simply so you can feel an experience so true, so pure, that you will leave feeling closer to God, or at least as if there are slices of heaven available to us on Earth. St. Stephen’s Cathedral offers us just that slice, you just have to take the time to walk through the door, open your eyes, and listen to the sonnet of heaven that will make time stop for a moment.


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