I visited a Lutheran church for a funeral a couple of weeks ago, and I was wondering, since the church was built before the reformation and since it still used the original altar, would the church technically still be consecrated? Would I still be right in giving reverence to the Saint embedded in the altar assuming the relic had not been removed?
This is an excellent question. In my country, Switzerland, which knows a similar situation, the original altars have typically been removed. But, IIRC, Luther had some not so kind words about relics. Accessible reliquaries in churches transformed into protestant edifices would probably have been destroyed, but I have no idea about what happened to those embedded in altars.
I do not know either if these churches have ever been formally deconsecrated. It is common here to hear or read things like “this beautiful 14th-century edifice, formerly consecrated to Our Lady…”, but I have no idea what “formerly” actually means. Is that “in the minds of people” ?
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