Thursday, 3 May 2007

The Shrines of the Upper Palatinate

Last Friday we drove around the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) and accidentally stumbled across three Wallfahrtkirchen (pilgrimage churches) within a short distance of each other. First stop was the shrine at Freystadt, which orginated in 1644 when two peasant boys built a small clay chapel and placed in it a modest image of Our Lady. They collected alms and soon built a more permanent chapel, which they called Maria Hilf.

A larger church was built in 1670, with a new statue of Mary, followed by yet another building in 1700. Devotion particularly intensified to Maria Hilf after the Siege of Vienna (1683) and miracles began to be reported, including the appearance of a star during a sermon in the church about Mary, the Star of the Sea.

A short distance away is the shrine of the Holy Name of Mary at Trautmannshofen, one of the oldest Marian shrines in the area.

According to tradition, the statue of Our Lady was attacked by the Hussite heretics in 1432 and thrice survived being thrown into the flames.

The statue is known as Die unversehrte Mutter (the unhurt Mother). One of the ceiling frescoes, showing a phoenix, alludes to the tradition:

Finally we visited the hilltop shrine of Habsberg, where since 1680, pilgrims have venerated Maria, Heil der Kranken:

I liked the 'box' in the sanctuary for the local aristocratic family.



Blogger humboldt said...

What a beautiful church! Considering the Church's new policies regarding architecture, which sees all of this architecture as anti-evangelica, I wonder how long it will last.

7:24 pm  

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