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RU 36/2007 - GERMANY, the Relic of Christ at Prüm

GERMANY: Everyone knows the Shroud of Turin, with its Holy Face “not made by men”. Some know also the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil, or the Veronica of Oviedo in Spain, or even the Holy Robe of Trier in Germany. But there is a Relic of Christ which seems to be very little known: the Relic of Christ's Sandals at Prüm in Rhineland/Germany. Yet it has a long and distinguished history. It is pope Zacharias who confided it in 752 to Pippin the Short, the father of Charlemagne, as a gift for the protection that the king of the Franks had promised to the pope to protect him against his enemies in Italy. His «donation of Pippin» of the year 762 documents the transfer of this Relic to the Frank abbey of Prüm which became, since that moment, the king’s preferential residence, until the moment when Charlemagne made construct his main palace at Aachen. Pippin invited to Prüm the Benedictines of Meaux, and constructed, to shelter the precious Relic, the Basilica of the Salvator (Divine Savior), that was also called THE GOLDEN CHURCH, a fact which shows to what degree it had been decorated to become nearly a second Ravenna. In 799, pope Leo III came personally to Prüm in order to inaugurate, in the presence of the emperor Charlemagne, «the golden church». At the time the abbey of Prüm had become the main abbey of the Carolingians, dominating about hundred other abbeys, cities and domains received as royal bequests, including Aachen and Cologne, and even properties in Holland and Brittany. The monastery counted up to 180 monks. Pilgrimages and ostensions began at that time, far ahead of the ostensions of the Holy Robe at Trier since 1524. Finally, in 1574, the abbey of Prüm has been taken over by Trier, in order to end the competition with the more and more popular pilgrimage to Christ's Holy Robe at the cathedral of Trier where, according to the legend, Saint Helena, the mother of Constantin the Great, had brought it in the 4th century. In 1794 the French revolutionary troops destroyed the abbey and the Benedictines flew from the place. The monastery has been closed definitely at the time of the Secularization in 1802, and the splendid Basilica of Prüm, which meanwhile had been decorated in the baroque stile, became a simple parochial church, in a small village that counts today 3500 inhabitants. But the Relic is always there, venerated in a splendid Shrine of the year 1896 that is opened to all visitors if they ask for it. - It’s this noble Relic that was the object, on September 6th, 2007, of an expertise by French and German scientists, i.e. professor Andre Marion and his photo-optic technicians, as well as professor Gerard Lucotte, guided by a team of COSTA / UNEC (Ecumenical and Scientific Committee of the Argenteuil Tunic). At first were put on the Relic, at different spots, half a dozen of «strips», a way of adhesive tapes that one uses for the extraction of pollens, spores, threads, sands and other objects that will be studied over the next months. The goal is to possibly identify some pollens which are similar to those found on the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil and the Shroud of Turin, what would be a convincing convergence for the authenticity of the totality of the Relics concerned, notably if there are pollens which only exist in Palestine. In the same way, professor Lucotte is in search of possible spores, or even of Blood stains, with the same objective. Analyses will be made in Paris with the help of an electronic sweep microscope with an amplification of up to 12,000 times. After that, the technicians of professor Marion installed their material face to the Relic which the vicar of the church, Rev. Fr. Lürtzener, the present guard of the Relic, had graciously rendered completely accessible. They used a numeric camera of Pioneer brand, actually the most powerful photographic device in the world, with a capacity of 185 million Pixel per color, or 555 million Pixel totally. The result on the screen of the computer was most astonishing. One could see the minuscule sewing threads transformed into strips of a width of one centimetre, for example! The objective is to reconstitute the «shoe of pomp» under which form the Relic is currently presented (apparently a shoe of the 8th century), as if this one was a shrine which contains the true relic of Christ's sandals. Therefore, those yet more ancient traces are to be found by observations and analyses, facts which are studied in parallel with two representatives of the German Museum of Leather of Offenbach/Francfort who also participated in the expertise. The future will tell us the result of these studies. One thing seems already sure: the Tradition of the Church, practically in the totality of the cases, attests faithfully throughout the centuries, or even millennia, what the science discovers later on as authentic. In fact, the Church, through her Tradition, is the best guide for everyone, including for scientists. - (ru)

- - O.A.M.D.G. - -


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