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St Paul's Church (German: Paulskirche) in Paulsplatz, central Frankfurt am Main, is a church with important political symbolism in Germany. It was started as a Lutheran church in 1789—coincidentally the same year as the French Revolution. By 1848, it had become the seat of the Frankfurt Parliament, the first publicly and freely-elected German legislative body.
The Free City of Frankfurt, then governing its legally non-separated Lutheran state church, commissioned Johann Andreas Liebhardt to construct the oval-shaped central church building in 1789. The new church building was to replace the former Church of the Discalced (Barfüßerkirche), which had been torn down in 1786 due to dilapidation. Constructions halted during the Napoleonic wars. The new building was completed between 1829 and 1833 by Johann Friedrich Christian Hess, whereupon the organ loft was disconnected in 1833. Between 1786 and 1833 Lutheran services were held at the Old St Nicholas Church in the Römerberg square to the south, also owned by the free city and then actually used as garrison church for its troops.
In 1830, the free city issued the "deeds of dotation" (Dotationsurkunde) fixing its long-lasting practice of owning and maintaining the church buildings in its old city centre (so-called dotation churches; Dotationskirchen), but leaving their usage to congregations of the Lutheran state church or parishes of the Catholic church, newly emancipated during the Napoleonic era. The deed of dotation statutorily established the eternal gratuitous usufruct of nine city-owned church buildings by six Lutheran congregations and three Catholic parishes. Other religious groups, such as Jews and Reformed Protestants were not part of that government funding.
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