Saturday, April 19, 2008

Domschatz in Halberstadt: The most important collection of religious articles outside the Vatican

Those interested in Church History and Art History will be happy to know that the greatest and most extensive collection of religious artifacts outside the Vatican is now once again open for public viewing. The cathedral treasures of the Stephansdom in Halberstadt opened this week in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt. The Stephansdom was built in 804 by Charles the Great as the eastern-most church in the empire. The exhibit which features items from the 5th - 18th centuries includes liturgical implements (including a communion plate from Byzantium), textiles (liturgical vesture), altar pieces, sculpture, manuscripts and many priceless tapestries, many of which are the oldest of their kind in Europe. Also among the various relics in collection: a finger bone of St. Nicholaus, and a stone used to martyr St. Stephen. In addition to some 300 of the 650 total items in Halberstadt displayed in the opening exhibition are articles from the other of the most important religious collections in Europe, all of which are also in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, namely items from the treasuries of Quedlinburg, Naumburg (home of the famous statue of Uta!), and Merseburg. You may read, hear and watch more about the exhibit in the German media at and at One must consider that the collection survived the Reformation, the 30 years war, the World Wars, and the yoke of Communism. Other notables besides St. Nick's finger and Charles the Great with direct ties to Sachsen-Anhalt: G.F. Haendel (Halle), and Jason A. Pennington (Leopoldshall/Stassfurt). Now, for a re-read of Juilius Wolff's excellent books Der Raubgraf and Der Sachsenspiegel.

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