The children’s patron saint is worshiped in Soller

Like a needle, the spire of the Soller church rises at the foot of the Eifel and sets a real landmark in the area. This one in the Düren district is one of a few dozen places of worship in Germany dedicated to Holy Gangolf. He was a nobleman from France who lived in the 8th century and is said to have been in the service of the Frankish king Pepin (714 to 768) as a general and hunter. Although he is often depicted in knight’s armor with shields and spears, the use of his weapon is not known. For this he was excellent in kindness and generosity, and had a heart for the poor. His memorial day is May 11th.

He is also admired in Trier, although St. The Gangolf church there is likely to remain closed until Easter 2023 due to extensive renovation work, as well as in southern Germany, including in Amorbach, Kößnach and in the Kluftern district of Friedrichshafen. In Bamberg, Bavaria, part of his head is found among relics from the parish of St. Gangolf; it is said to have come there from the Eichstätt at the request of a Bambergsprost.

Murdered at the instigation of his unfaithful wife

Anyone who wants to dive deeper into the real historical life of the saint will only encounter fragments – but according to consistent information, his ending was tragic. “After his wife’s infidelity, he gave his goods away to the Prüm monastery, retired in solitude and devoted himself entirely to repentance and care for the poor,” reads a source quoted by Willi Vostell, the enterprising sex of the Soller church. from. a closet in the sacristy. “People flocked to him from near and far and were built by his goodness and piety,” it continues. But at the same time, anger against Gangolf spread. True to tradition, he was assassinated on May 11, 760, at the instigation of his unfaithful wife, who is said to have been unfaithful to him with a priest. As a result, he suffered an unusual martyrdom. At what age he lost his life is uncertain.

In the Middle Ages, the canon and poet Roswitha von Gandersheim (c. 935 to c. 973) adorned Gangolf’s life, as did the Capuchin monk and folk writer Martin von Cochem (1634 to 1712), who described the martyr in the German of the years. as “killed by his wife.” introduced. The adulteress and the priest did not escape God’s punishment, as the saint’s lexicon explains: “From now on, strong winds broke from her bowels at every word she spoke. The deceitful priest died of an evil disease that tore him apart.”

The Fountain Miracle in Fulda

In the descriptions of Saint Gangolf, wells and springs often play a role, which began to bubble up wherever he stuck his spear in the ground, as the lexicon of saints puts it. In “Deutsches Sagenbuch”, published in 1853 under the authorship of Ludwig Bechstein, you can read about some miraculous episodes in the chapter “Gangolfs Brunnen”. One of them revolves around the Gangolf fountain in the Rhön “on the Felsenberge Milseburg”, which Gangolf loved “because of his loneliness”.

One day, the legend says, Gangolf “came down to Fulda, the ancient episcopal town, and found a clear well of a citizen, bought it from the citizen, and this one said that it was a miracle that he outwitted the pious man. ; for, he thought: The well may be his own, but the place where it swells remains mine. But St. Gangolf had a small wooden fountain box made, filled it with water from the well, carried it himself to Milseburg, put the box there and pierced the ground with his staff. Behold, the water overflowed from below into the box, so that it ran over, but the citizen’s down in Fulda dried up. “

Sculpture with flowing curls

If one in the worship of saints highlights the Soller church mentioned at the beginning as an example, one encounters a quadruple memorial service for the holy Gangolf. First mentioned is the reliquary with a piece of bone in the middle. It is tied with a red bow and a ribbon with the saint’s name; a silver angel watches to the left and right of it. At the top, the crowned Mother of God Mary has folded her hands in prayer in a niche. Neither sixteen Willi Vostell nor the responsible priest Gerd Kraus can say exactly what bone piece it is. The reliquary is usually locked inside for fear of theft, as is a host monster dated 1815 by Düren jeweler Gottfried Wolfgang Reuter.

In it, Gangolf appears as a shining golden figure. He wears armor and has shields and spears. Oddly enough, the helmet on his head is a little crooked, it seems. The niche with the saint is closed at the top by a silver canopy, on which an angel sits and plays the trumpet. It is thanks to Pastor Kraus that the host’s monstrance leaves his safe custody at least once a year: at the Marienoktaven in September.

Regional songs in honor of saints

At any given time, Gangolf encounters two other representations in the church. A modern stained glass window over the portal shows him wearing a halo and a blue-green cloak; he seems to be holding his sword in his right hand, almost dancing. In a side altar in front of the sanctuary, he is present as a colorful sculpture, flanked by the smaller figures of Anthony of Padua and the Jesuit Aloisius of Gonzaga. Saint Gangolf wears elegant shoes and has flowing curls. The whole body armor can only be guessed at and appears in the lower area of ​​both legs and at the ends of the forearms. The rest of the body is covered by a red-green-golden mantle. His gaze into the interior of the church is strange: he seems a little distant, even downright lost.

The Gangolfus song from Soller has survived the time when the first of the three stanzas says: “You have won the palm, and your victory is glorious./ Therefore praise you happy tongues in jubilant hymns: / O holy Gangolfus, be sweet Oh. sweet, to pray for us / that the grace of the Lord will follow us in the heated battle. ” The second stanza reads as follows: “You sacrificed your life with strong Christian courage./ You gave a testimony of the truth through your blood. carelessness does not deprive us of our true faith. ” And finally: “God-man would suffer on the cross at Calvary. / For him you were seen fighting dying of joy. wealth, blood and life.

Saint Gangolf is the patron saint of children and helps with knee problems, skin and eye diseases. He also helps with difficulties in marriage.

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