Helena is considered the founder of the first church over the tombs of today’s Bonn city patrons Cassius and Florentius. Now a relic of the mother of Emperor Constantine will be transferred from Trier to Bonn Cathedral. The city celebrates the event.
The on Friday (17.08.2012) starting festival week is supplemented by the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Munster store and the most famous Bonner of the Middle Ages, Provost Gerhard von Are, is honored with his own fountain. The oldest part of the cloister, the south wall, has been uncovered, renovated and will be open to the public for the first time at the beginning of the festival week. This area from the year 1050 is one of the oldest structural evidence of the city of Bonn.
In 1135 the famous Provost Gerhard von Are brought relics of St. Helena to Bonn. She was highly venerated through the centuries, as evidenced by numerous representations in the Bonn Cathedral, which is documented in an exhibition during the festival week. But the shrine fell victim to looting.
The Trier Cathedral Chapter would like to close this "sensitive gap" in the Helena tradition again and donates a relic of the empress to the "sister church" of the Trier Cathedral. More than 1000 pilgrims from the archdiocese of Cologne were present when on 12. May 2012 Bishop Stefan Ackermann sent it to Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner, who received it on 24 May 2012. August 2012 brings to the Bonn Cathedral. Numerous guests from Bonn and the region, the archdiocese and neighboring bishoprics are expected to attend the transfer of the relic. This solemn climax marks the end of the week of celebrations, about which our site will report continuously, then also to the end.
Was Helena in Bonn?
The front of the reliquary is decorated with a depiction of St. Helena holding the imperial crown, the cross of Jesus and the Cathedral of Bonn. The model for this was the painting of an altar at which Pope Benedict XVI. frequently celebrated Mass when he taught at Bonn University 1959-1963. The altar is located in the southern transept of the papal basilica minor.
Whether the Empress Helena was already in Bonn during her lifetime can not be proven, but also not disproved. It is certain, however, that she lived (probably 306-312) in Trier, where Constantine the Great had his residence. The first documented mention of a community of priests at the tombs of the martyrs in Bonn dates back to 691, although recent research suggests as early as 643.