Jun 21, 2012

Face to Face with The Robe of Christ: Trier, Germany

Many months ago I had a friend tell me that the Robe of Christ was going to be displayed for public viewing in Trier. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. After spending some time Googling, I came to realize she was talking about the robe that Christ wore at the time of His crucifixion over 2,000 years ago. This robe is said to be kept in a reliquary underneath the Dom (Cathedral) in Trier in a sealed wooden shrine and is only brought out for special reasons. Since the time the robe, also known as the "Seamless Robe of Christ" or the "Holy Tunic," was brought to Trier by Empress Dowager Helena in the 11th century, it has only been seen by the public 16 times. Its last pilgrimage was in 1996. After 16 years under the Trier Cathedral, the robe was brought out in plain sight for one month (April 13-May 13, 2012) in celebration of the 500th anniversary of its first pilgrimage in 1512.

Now, this is where the skeptic comes out in me. How do they know this is the true robe that Christ wore? How has it survived this long? And why in the world is it in Trier, Germany, of all places? Truth is, no one is 100% sure of its authenticity. Believers of the Western world hold this story to be true, although the Eastern Orthodox Church has preserved that the robe Christ wore was torn and divided among the soldiers presiding over His crucifixion. They believe to have Christ's true undergarment (to which they call the Shroud of Turin) in Italy. All I know for sure is that this is what the Bible says of the robe:

"When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom," 
John 19:23-4 (NIV) 

 Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Only problem is the Western and Eastern religious worlds can't seem decide on who has the true undergarment and who has the "fake" relic. No matter the scientific studies, I doubt we will ever know the truth in our time. Either way, this robe has come to be a symbol of unity among Christian denominations and after seeing the insane amount of people coming to view the robe first hand, I'd have to say it's doing its job. 

But, let me back up bit. Since their was much more we wanted to see in Trier, we decided to make a day of it...starting with a hearty lunch and walk through the Porta Nigra.

Before we even got into the Porta Nigra for our tour, we saw the beginning's of the believers pilgrimage to the Robe of Christ.

 


Watching the pilgrimage from the Porta's window.



All of those people were making their way here, to the Dom Trier. The sun started peeking through the clouds, so we finished our tour and made our way there as well.


This was the line to see the Robe of Christ. Completely unbelievable. Among us were monks and nuns chanting and singing, world travelers (like us) snapping their cameras, and school children on field trips. It was truly amazing to see such a wide range of people from all walks of life there to pay homage to our Lord.


We still have no idea what the colorful sticks and flags were about. Although we did notice some sticks had a little wooden ornament with a date of a previous pilgrimage written on it. They made for pretty waiting photos. Sadly, once inside the church, there were no photos allowed. If you are curious to see what the Robe of Christ looks like, you can click here.



After 2 hours of waiting in line and FINALLY seeing the robe, we continued our tour of Trier by making our way across town to see the famous Roman baths and Amphitheater. 

 Tired feet and wet clothes ended our day in Trier. I feel so fortunate to have been able to visit this Roman town in Germany during such an important time. To see the Robe of Christ, real or not, was definitely humbling. If you're ever in Germany 16 years from now, stop by Trier and see the robe for yourself...and while your at it, explore all the other historic sights that beautiful Trier has to offer.

4 comments:

  1. Wow, that is so cool that you were able to capture a real life modern pilgrimage and also that you had the patience to wait that long in line! Your pictures are just lovely

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  2. Whether it's authentic or not, it looks like you had a pretty cool experience. I'm always amazed by the rich history Europe holds. It's something we don't really have here in the states.

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  3. Simply...AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful photos...love M

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  4. funny you posted this now, we are headed there tomorrow. I am SO sad I had not heard of this, it would have been so cool to see.

    We are still excited to check out this city. Love your pics.

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