Thursday, December 27, 2018

How a Crucifix Caught a Thief

We bought a cool and (so far) deliciously creepy book about local legends for the family for Christmas.

Sagen aus Franken: Von Geistern, Gold und wilden Rittern
Written by Susanne Rebscher, illustrated by Sibylle Vogel

The book contains tales from the region of Germany we live in: Franconia. The stories are not more than three pages long, so they're good to read with kids (as long as they're not easily frightened!)

Last night, huddled under cozy blankets, we read the legend of how a crucifix caught a thief.

In the Neumünster church in Würzburg, there was a crucifix, arms and feet nailed to cross as we know it. Someone donated an expensive gold chain to the church, and the necklace had been placed around Jesus's neck.

One day in the middle ages, a thief entered the church. Jesus looked down on him on the thief, but that didn't stop him from his greed. He stole the gold chain from around Jesus's neck.

Jesus's arms ripped free of the cross to hold the thief in an iron grip. The thief cried and whined and prayed, but the Jesus figure wouldn't let him go. Finally, the thief screamed for help. Some people nearby ran into the church, grabbed the thief and hauled him to prison.

But Jesus's arms never moved back to the cross. 

Don't believe it? I didn't either, so I did a little digging in the internet...and found that you can see it in the Neumünster church in Würzburg today.

Schmerzensmannkreuz, image by Rufus46 via WikimediaCommons
If you can read German, and especially if you're familiar with Franconia, I highly recommend this book!

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Attribution: Rufus46 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons