Aerial view of Lorch Monastery

A piece of the True Cross in Lorch MonasteryThe relic of theTrue Cross

It was one of the most revered relics of the Middle Ages: a sliver of the True Cross. Stories of such a precious treasure from the Holy Land were also told in Lorch Monastery.

Cross procession on Corpus Christi, illustrated sheet music from the Lorch choir book

The procession of the Cross as an illustration for notes.

A monk tests the authenticity of the crucifix relic

It is thought that Lorch Monastery once held a relic of the True Cross. The holy wood was stored in a gilded cross, and the cross was embedded in a plaque of silver and gold. To test its authenticity, the monk Nikolaus Vener aus Gmünd is said to have cut off part of the relic and thrown it into the fire. The sliver was untouched by the flame. Since then, the 14th century, the silver of the Cross has been considered authentic, as reported by monk Wilhelm von Schächingen in 1484.

Relics and reliquaries in Lorch Monastery

In fact, there were many splinters of the Cross. They often came to Germany through Crusades, direct from the Holy Land or from churches of which the Crusade knights had availed themselves along the way. Pilgrimages and a great sense of wonder often grew up around these splinters of the True Cross. The rare splinters received expensive cases made of precious metals for presentation during church festivals. An illustration in the Lorch choir books shows such reliquaries. It is possible that the denizens of Lorch created a story to destroy any doubts in the minds of believers.