Thursday, August 18


From Pope Benedict's Address in Roncalliplatz:
Full Text

"The city of Cologne would not be what it is without the Magi, who have had so great an impact on its history, its culture and its faith. Here, in some sense, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany every day of the year! And so, before addressing you in the presence of this magnificent Cathedral, I paused for a moment of prayer before the reliquary of the three Magi and gave thanks to God for their witness of faith, hope and love. The relics of the Magi were brought from Milan in 1164 by the Archbishop of Cologne, Reinald von Dassel; after crossing the Alps, they were received in Cologne with great jubilation. On their pilgrimage across Europe the relics of the Magi left traces behind them which are still evident today, both in place names and in popular devotions. In honour of the Magi the inhabitants of Cologne produced the most exquisite reliquary of the whole Christian world and, as if that were not sufficient, they raised above it an even greater reliquary, this stupendous Gothic Cathedral which, after the ravages of war, once more stands before visitors in all the splendour of its beauty. Along with Jerusalem the “Holy City”, Rome the “Eternal City” and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Cologne, thanks to the Magi, has become down the centuries one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the Christian West."

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