History and Mission

House and churchThe Institute of St Philip Neri was established in February 2003 and on 26th May 2004 the Institute was recognised as a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right. This was thanks largely to the then Cardinal Ratzinger, today our Pope Benedict XVI. The Institute settled in the former Convent of St Afra in the north of Berlin Mitte, and Dr Gerald Goesche was installed as Provost and confirmed in this position in 2007.

Since 2004 the number of faithful has steadily increased (from 20 faithful in the beginning to nearly 120 in Spring 2010!), the church has been reordered, the liturgical music is becoming better known throughout the city, and visiting priests and laity continue to be made welcome.

Church, house and crypt

All over Germany, churches are being closed, sold or demolished, but here, the faithful and the Institute managed, with hard work, dedication and above all God’s help, to buy the church of St Afra and the surrounding buildings. In doing so, the Institute has acquired a secure home in the church and foundation of St Afra. A group of the “Friends of St Philip Neri” (“Freundeskreis St. Philipp Neri e.V.”) was founded to act as sponsor of the Institute and recognised as a non-profit organisation. It can issue donation receipts.

The foundation is made-up of a series of flats, the church itself, and a number of rooms underneath the church, which are extensively used. There is a kitchen, a small refectory and a meeting room. This is where the common life of the Institute is centred and guests are welcome and frequent! Furthermore, there are three larger rooms under the main body of the church. On the left-hand side as you enter there is the Institute’s office and library, while on the right the Schola warms up while the Rosary is being prayed upstairs. This room is where the “Oratory” is held on Friday evenings, a get-together of Institute members after evening Mass, as well as our Easter breakfast.


Life in the Institute springs from the regular celebration of the sacred liturgy. High Mass on Sundays, and the solemn celebration of all major feast days during the week enable the faithful to experience the fullness of the Church’s year.

  • The Institute offers:
  • Daily Mass
  • Daily Confession
  • Daily recitation of the Rosary and Litany of St Joseph
  • High Mass on Sundays
  • Solemn celebration of all major feast days during the week
  • Thursday for Priests, First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saturday devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary are celebrated monthly.
  • Eucharistic Adoration takes place every Thursday and Friday.
  • Every Mass is preceded by the Rosary and the Litany of St Joseph.
  • Popular devotions (such as the blessing of meat, eggs and bread on Easter Day, of wine on St John’s Day, and of herbs on the Assumption) are dear to Germans and enhance the liturgical ritual.


In each of the years 2004, 2005 and 2007, one member of the Institute received the Sacrament of Priesthood.

Church music

We have attracted an outstanding church musician, Martin Kondziella, as our organist and Regens chori, of the Schola and Choir. Every Sunday the Schola sings the ordinary and propers. On Solemnities the Palestrina Ensemble [Link: Palestrina Ensemble website] sings a piece by its namesake or similar masters. Within a few years, St Afra’s church music has become a byword for quality in Berlin, and, among interested parties, it is known far beyond

Confessions, care and catechism

Catechism is provided for children and young people. Priests and altar-servers are trained in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.


The Institute has been successful in establishing good links with our local bishop, His Eminence Cardinal Sterzinsky. In addition we have friendly contact with traditional institutes such as the Benedictines of the abbey of La Barroux, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. A special connection exists with the Brompton Oratory in London which is, in many respects, an inspiration for our daily life and work.

To keep in contact with those of our friends and supporters who do not have access to the internet, we publish a 16-24 page magazine three times a year.

Das Institut baut auf Ihre Spende

  • Ihre Spende per Überweisung:

    Freundeskreis St. Philipp Neri e.V.
    Bank für Sozialwirtschaft
    Kontonummer: 0001202100
    Bankleitzahl: 37020500
    IBAN: DE57370205000001202100

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