Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reception of New Archbishop of Munich

According to venerable tradition - once described in great detail in the Cæremoniale Episcoporum -, a new bishop is solemnly received upon entering his new diocese. This reception (which in German we call "Einholung") took place today for the new Archbishop of Munich and Freising, H.E. Msgr. Reinhard Marx, after he had been received in audience this Monday by his pre-predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

The first station of his reception took place at the Benedictine monastery of Scheyern, where he was awaited by the provost of the metropolitan cathedral, H.E. auxiliary bishop Engelbert Siebler, the dean of the cathedral, the monks of Scheyern with their abbot, Dom Engelbert Baumeister, the mayor of Scheyern and 1000 faithful. Msgr. Marx prayed sext with the monks in the basilica and was blessed with the relic of the true Cross, which is venerated at Scheyern since 1180.

Excursus on Scheyern abbey: The Holy Father, during his time as archbishop of Munich and also later, had regularly visited Scheyern. Here he is on the so-called "Cardinal stair":

This is a larger view of the basilica:

The true artistic highlight, however, is the baroque sacristy (click on the picture for a larger view):

In this sacristy, a very interesting vestment is preserved - a Jugendstil (art nouveau) chasuble with the coats of arms of Bavarian Benedictine monasteries and Saints Benedict, Gregory the Great, Boniface and Corbinian, the patron of the archdiocese, who on his breast has an escutcheon with his bear, which is also part of the coat of arms of the Holy Father (click for larger view):

End Excursus.

Once in Munich itself, Msgr. Marx went to St. Mary's Columns (Mariensäule) on the homonymous square, which has been erected in 1638 by Elector Maximilian of Bavaria and is the centre of Bavaria, from where all distnaces are measured, streets numbered etc. The elector chose the famous inscription "Rem, Regem, Regimen, Regionem, Religionem/Conserva Bavaris Virgo Maria tuis!" (Good, King, order, land, and religion/preserve for thy Bavarians o Virgin Mary!"). Both popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had prayed at the foot of the column to the Patrona Bavariæ, the feast of which was conceded by Benedict XV during world war I. There, in the presence of his predecessor, Cardinal Wetter, the metropolitan chapter, the mayor of Munich, the state minister for cultus and - in spite of the pouring rain - more than 5,000 faithful - he was greeted by the bells of the cathedral and all the churches of the city. He then proceeded to consecrate himself, clergy and faithful, the archdiocese, the city, and all Bavaria to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness and Protectress of Bavaria.
Here we see the archbishop listening to the address of homage by the (socialist) mayor on the same spot the Holy Father had sat 16 months ago (on a sunnier day, like the one to the right, which gives a clearer view of the square and column):

Tomorrow, the archbishop will take the oath prescribed by the Bavarian concordat in front of the Prime Minister of Bavaria, and on Saturday, Candlemas, he will be formally installed during a Pontifical Mass in Our Lady's Church, the Cathedral of Munich (the two towers of which can be seen in the background in the picture above).

This post is a bit of a miscellany, but I thought it might be interesting to share some of the traditions of Catholic Bavaria.

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