Thieves have stolen the thousand-year-old remains of a saint from a medieval church in the southern German city of Regensburg, police said on Monday.
The thieves managed to break open the bulletproof glass and steel enclosure, the church said. They ended up causing “immeasurable” damage to what was Saint Wolfgang’s final resting place.
The theft comes just a few days before Saint Wolfgang’s day on October 31.
Wolfgang, who died in 994, was the first bishop of Regensburg. The Vatican canonized him in 1052.
Parts of his body were buried in different places.
Some were kept in Emmerams basilica, with the smaller part at the Saint Wolfgang church. Further relics can be found in Austria and Portugal.
Police are appealing for information and want any witnesses to come forward. “Every little clue might be relevant to the investigation,” they said in a statement.
St. Peter’s Cathedral is considered the most important Gothic cathedral in Germany, after Cologne Cathedral. And like its counterpart, it was only completed in the 19th century. In 2019, the people of Regensburg held celebrations to mark the completion of the cathedral towers 150 years ago. They have made the cathedral a landmark of Regensburg visible from afar.
The foundation of Regensburg goes back to Castra regina, a Roman legionary camp in the second century AD. Remains of the fortification wall have been preserved to this day, just as parts of the Roman north gate, the Porta Praetoria, here shape the facade of the bishop’s court (Bischhofshof).
The ground relief next to of the Neupfarrkirche church is a reminder of the synagogue in Regensburg’s medieval Jewish quarter. For 500 years a Jewish community flourished here, which fell victim to a pogrom in 1519. Hatred against Jews led to the expulsion of the community and the demolition of the quarter. It’s also no coincidence that the city decided to erect a church in place of the synagogue.
The Old Town Hall (right) from the 13th century is older, but the Reichssaalgebäude, Imperial Assembly Hall (center) is more famous. For more than 200 years the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire met in the hall on the upper floor. The fact that in Regensburg emperors, electors and envoys congregated here was naturally good for the local economy, as these people also had to eat and sleep.
The Salzstadel dating from 1620 was used for a long time to store salt that was shipped to Regensburg via the Danube. The striking building on the Stone Bridge was extensively renovated in 1991. Today it houses the Regensburg World Heritage Visitor Centre in addition to restaurants and galleries.
Next to the cathedral this is the second landmark of Regensburg, the Stone Bridge, which has spanned the Danube since the 12th century. It is considered the oldest preserved bridge in Germany. In recent years it has been extensively renovated and may now only be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists.
Right next to the Stone Bridge is the Historische Wurstkuchl, one of the oldest of its kind. During the construction of the bridge, the building served as a warehouse and office, after its completion it was converted into a sausage kitchen. For more than 850 years, people have been able to eat here, and bratwursts with sauerkraut and sweet mustard are very popular.
The Obere Wöhrd is one of two Danube islands in the middle of Regensburg, which can be reached via the Stone Bridge. It is used as a local recreation area, houses an open-air swimming pool and beer gardens, from where you can enjoy a splendid view of the old town.
The Stone Bridge leads from Regensburg’s old town directly to Stadtamhof. The formerly independent town was incorporated in 1924 and is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The baroque classicist architecture from the beginning of the 19th century dominates here. In 1809, large parts were destroyed in the French-Austrian war.
The last stop on a stroll could be the bishop’s court (Bischofshof). The former residence of the bishops is home to the cathedral treasure museum and a beer garden. Travelers were already accommodated here during the time of the Imperial Diet in the 17th and 18th centuries.