Cologne – Inside Köln’s miraculous cathedral
It dates back to around 1200, its exterior is seven feet of gilded silver and jewels and it is adorned by images of Old Testament prophets and the 12 apostles.
By any reckoning the Sarcophagus of the Magi is a hugely impressive and significant relic.
It is certainly the most celebrated work of art in Cologne Cathedral.
The Sarcophagus of the Magi is the largest reliquary – a container for relics – in the western world, and contains items including three golden-crowned skulls, believed to belong to the Three Magi.
The relics were acquired by Cologne in the 12th century – brought to the city from Milan in 1164.
In fact, it was their arrival that prompted the construction of the cathedral in its current form.
The old building was unable to accommodate the large number of pilgrims who came calling, and work began on a new, larger cathedral in 1248.
But the arrival of the Magi put Cologne on the pilgrimage map; somewhere it remains to this day.
The Three Magi do not play a large role in the life of Jesus, but are honored for being the first pilgrims.
Their precedent inspired medieval pilgrims to travel far to worship Jesus.
Other monuments in the church include the Gero Cross, the oldest surviving monumental crucifix north of the Alps dating from 976, and a painting of the Patron Saints of Köln.
This painting, found in the Chapel of the Virgin, was produced by Stefan Lochner in 1442.
The cathedral’s other noted possession is the Madonna of Milan, an elegant wooden sculpture depicting Mary and the child Jesus that can be seen in the Sacrament Chapel.
Along with the Jeweled Madonna found in the north transept, the Madonna of Milan is heavily associated with miracles.
Whether you believe in those or not, the inside of Cologne Cathedral will certainly fill you with wonder.