Central Europe Goes Templeless as Frankfurt Germany Temple Closes
The Mormon Newsroom has announced the closure of the Frankfurt Germany Temple from September 7 2015 to July 2017 as the nearly thirty-year-old building goes down for extensive renovations, the exact nature of which remain unknown.
Announced in April 1981, the Frankfurt Germany Temple was later dedicated by President Ezra Taft Benson on August 28, 1987. It serves members in Germany, Austria, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Cyprus, and the two stakes in the Middle East – Manama Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
The Freiberg Germany Temple went down earlier this year for its own round of renovations, and is not expected to reopen until May 30, 2016. Avid readers and temple history buffs might recall that the Freiberg Temple was built in then-communist East Germany with the support of the East German government.
However, this leaves us in a difficult place. Upon reading the announcement about Frankfurt, I wondered to myself how big of a geographical and administrative area would be affected by the combined closures of Germany’s two temples. So I took to LDSChurchTemples.com to see the temples’ districts and Cumorah.com to check out those respective geographical boundaries, then uploaded a number of separate data files to create our own map. I also added some icons to show where all of Europe’s temples – announced or other – are located. The results are in the map below.
The map is by stake and district. It’s not perfect by any means, but it gives us a good illustration of just how much turf is affected by the closures. As you can see, these temples cover the expanding unknown of Central Europe, where the Church is much less developed, as well as the Middle East.
Metropolitan Paris being part of the Frankfurt Temple district is quite the peculiarity as the distance to The Hague or Bern temples is about the same as to Frankfurt. However, chances are the TGV lines are much more direct between Paris and Europe’s financial capital, potentially facilitating easier travel. Either way, Paris gets its own temple pretty soon, so that Gallic island shall be no more.
Likewise, the saints in the Abu Dhabi stake probably just go to whichever temple represents the easiest journey. Maybe there are loads of Lufthansa flights between Frankfurt and the UAE and that’s why members there are assigned to Frankfurt instead of Bern or Kyiv. I’m sure someone knows better than we do. It’ll be interesting to see if that assignment changes when the Rome Temple is completed.
As per the Manama Stake, we’re not saying there are wards in Saudi Arabia, because the Church isn’t recognized there. But we’re not not saying it. We’re not saying anything.
The Newsroom is quick to point out that other temples are available to the Saints while Germany’s Houses of the Lord are down, which is totally correct. Members in most of Germany can dart over to The Hague, Bern, or even Copenhagen if needs be.
Temple patrons in Central Europe, however, will face a bit more difficulty. The journey from Chisinau to Freiberg wasn’t easy to begin with, but go figure, the temple in Kyiv is actually closer.
Also, Madrid. It’s not Barcelona, but Barcelona’s main failing (other than this one) is its lack of templeage, thus requiring patrons to visit that land of Castilian oppression.
Basically, I want you all to love me for the effort I made in making this amazing map. I learned so much. I hope you did, too.
*Photos courtesy of the Mormon Newsroom