The St. Peter Church, also called the "Dompeter", or "Ecclesia ad domnum Petrum", or even "Domus Petri", is the old parish church of Molsheim.
Located at the limit of Avolsheim, it is considered to be the oldest church in Alsace and was founded by St. Materne. Indeed, excavations from 1914 unearthed the remnants of an edifice from the 7th century, with three naves and a semi-circular choir with a relic chamber and a sacristy on the sides. It is known that it was devoted by the Alsatian pope Leon IX between 1049 and 1053 whereas the legend would date it back to the end of the Roman empire or to the first centuries of Christendom. The only remains from this period are the central nave with its pillars and great archways, as well as lintels and side gates, plus some traces of inscription.
Of Romance style, it was rebuilt on the same plan to the XIth century but was increased with two bays added to the Western wall. The church has sudden transformations during the following centuries of which most important is the rebuilding of the tower, destroyed partly by the lightning in 1746.
The Dompeter possessed living quarters and was heavily fortified. In the Middle Ages, it became a place of pilgrimage for many people who came to get rid of headaches or vision problems. At the same period, pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela started developing.
Today, Avolsheim still is a step of the Pilgrimage Road. The thousand-years-old tree at the entrance of the church was struck by lightning at the beginning of this century. A new tree was planted
Groups can book a guided tour at the Tourist Office all year long (entrance fee)