Julie Schumann‘s marriage, 22th September 1869, Baden-Baden

So the sister did remember correctly after all!
150 years ago, Julie Schumann got married at the Lichtental Abbey church

On 22nd September 1869, at 12 noon, Julie, the most beautiful of the four Schumann daughters, married Count Vittorio Radicati di Marmorito, a descendant from an old-established Piedmontese noble family, at the church of the Lichtental Cistercian Abbey (now part of Baden-Baden), as vividly recounted by her younger sister Eugenie Schumann in her “Erinnerungen [Memoirs]”. The Abbey church was located very close to Clara Schumann’s Lichtental summer house where the celebration attendees gathered for an opulent breakfast subsequent to the wedding ceremony at the church. After that, the moment of bidding farewell had arrived and Julie had to leave to follow her husband to Castle Passerano in Turin.

The wedding had originally been planned for the beginning of September but had to be postponed due to a bereavement in the Count’s family. The festivities provided for, along with champagne and a wedding-eve party, were cancelled, as Vittorio requested a “very quiet wedding”, which was the way it actually happened.

In 1996, a research couple discovered the entry of the noble wedding in the church register of the Catholic parish church of St Boniface in Lichtental/Baden-Baden of 1869, where, amongst others, a composer “Schrams” from Baden was listed as a witness to the marriage. This could only be Johannes Brahms, who was not particularly edified by this marriage, due to his own affection for Julie Schumann, albeit only secretly cultivated, and, above all, because he even had to appear there as a witness. This is probably why he mumbled his name at the church in a deliberately inarticulate manner, so that the parish administrator officiating at the wedding (there would be a priest at the church of St Boniface only later on) did not properly understand him.
Nonetheless, the wedding church was correctly called “local parish church” because this was the function of the Lichtental Abbey church before the church of St Boniface was completed in 1869 after several years of construction, and the church registers of the Abbey church were transferred and continued there.

Unaware of the consecration date of the church of St Boniface, the wedding entry was interpreted incorrectly in the sense that Julie Schumann and her Count had been married there and that the sister Eugenie was thus mistaken in her memories. However, Eugenie remembered absolutely correctly, especially as this event – a Catholic wedding within a purely Protestant family, where the sister, on top of it all, even became a Countess – must have been permanently etched into her memory.

In any case, the church of St Boniface was consecrated only on Sunday, 26th September 1869, an event which was celebrated again one day later with an inauguration service by the Archdiocese administrator Lothar von Kübel.

This means a few days too late for the noble wedding to take place there, which otherwise could never have been celebrated in an unconsecrated church!

(Irmgard Knechtges-Obrecht, summer 2019, translated by Thomas Henninger, October 2019)

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