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Even before the construction of the Porta Claudia fortification, the inhabitants of Scharnitz had built a chapel dedicated to our Dear Lady in gratitude for the averted atrocities of war. In 1650, the chapel received an altar. The ‘Mariahilf’ painting on the altar, depicting Our Lady of Perpetual Help, was a gift from Ferdinand Karl, the son of the Archduchess Claudia. At the same time, permission was given by the ecclesiastical authorities for church services to be celebrated in this chapel. The Augustinian Monks from Seefeld Monastery were responsible for the pastoral care. In 1705, the fortress received a chapel of its own dedicated to St. Joseph and a chaplain was hired. As a result the village’s pastoral care was discontinued and the villagers from Scharnitz attended the military church services. This was not, however, to their liking for very long.
The village of Scharnitz came to an agreement with the parish of Mittenwald whereby a priest from Mittenwald (for a fee of 160 guilders), was to conduct church services in the village chapel. In 1786, Scharnitz was granted its own chaplaincy. The first priest was the Capuchin monk P. Pelagius Steinhauser. He erected a parsonage and, with the help of the obligatory labour of the time known as ‘robot’ carried out by the local people, a new church was built and consecrated in 1792. During the freedom fighting of 1809, the church went up in flames.
The ‘Ölberg-Christus’ painting of Christ on the Mount of Olives, remained unscathed amid the flames and, after the church had been renovated, it was mounted on the frontmost, right-hand pillar. A new Gothic-style House of God was created – but it too was destroyed in a fire in 1892. Under Father Johannes Natter a new, larger church was built, and under Father H. Gottinger the entire Parish Church underwent a comprehensive restoration in 1954. The new altarpiece depicting the Virgin of Mercy and the Mysteries of the Rosary, was created by Prof. Max Spielmann along with the Stations of the Cross in the church windows. The artist Ilse Glaninger-Halhuber from Innsbruck painted the depiction of the 12 Apostles. In 1981 the war memorial was rebuilt and the closure of the old cemetery began. In 1982 the south-west side of the church was remodelled and new boundary fences were erected around the church grounds. In 1983 the main nave was roofed with shingles, and in 1984 the remaining part of the roof was covered with shingles and the church’s façade was completely renovated. During the summer of 1985 the church remained closed. Holy Mass was held in the village hall or at the music pavilion. The overall refurbishment of the church interior was carried out during this time. To celebrate the successful completion of the work, the parishioners of Scharnitz, under the auspices of Bishop R. Stecher, gathered for a festive consecration of the renovated House of the Lord on 20 April 1986.