Holy Robe Days in Trier
By Iris Reiff, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published April 30, 2009
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Once a year, the Trier diocese hosts the "Holy Robe Days" as the most important diocesan festival in Trier. Thousands of people flock into the city to access the Trier Dom that displays the most precious relic of the cathedral, the tunic of Jesus Christ.
People join in the celebrations, which include worship services, target group programs, conversations and meditation, cultural events and pilgrims' routes. The "Holy Robe Days" always begin the second Friday after Easter, which is the feast day of the Holy Robe, and will last for ten days, until May 3 this year. Events for Holy Robe Days are prepared and conducted by a group of dedicated people from different parishes, institutions and associations, who all work on a voluntary basis. There will be praying hours and church services throughout the day at the Dom cathedral. Some events and exhibitions are also set up outside the Dom and in the main market square as well as a tent for people to sit down and rest.
The festival offers visitors from far and near a common forum to discover and discuss Jesus Christ and questions of faith in their own ways. Each year the encounter is guided by a Biblical motto. During the Holy Robe Days people can meditate and look back at their lives.
The history of Jesus' Holy Robe: It is believed that the Empress Dowager Helena brought the seamless robe of Christ to Trier. The Holy Robe is mentioned for the first time in the 11th century; the history of the Holy Robe is documented with certainty only from the 12th century, when it was removed from the west choir to the new altar in the east choir May 1, 1196. Ever since the Trier Dom Cathedral was renovated in 1974, the Holy Robe has been kept in its wooden shrine from 1891, lying under an air-conditioned glass shrine. The last great pilgrimage, in 1996, became a celebration of all the faithful, with its continuation in the annual Holy Robe Days. Only during the Holy Robe Days is the Holy Robe chapel accessible, but the garment cannot be viewed. The original state of the textile has altered because of past events and the unfavorable storage conditions, repairs have frequently been made.