Our Lady of Hildesheim, Germany (11th Century)
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Hildesheim, in the duchy of Brunswick, in Germany. An image is there venerated, which Louis the Meek always wore about him. One day, when he had forgotten it in a wood, it became so heavy that it was impossible to remove it, which made the king resolve to build a church there.”
Saint Mary’s Cathedral at Hildesheim, Germany, is a medieval cathedral built between the years 1010 and 1020. It is a Romanesque style structure, with thick walls and heavy towers. During World War II the cathedral was almost completely destroyed from allied bombing, although it was later rebuilt as closely as possible to its original appearance. It is listed on the World Cultural Heritage list since 1985. There are many medieval treasures that can still be seen inside the cathedral, but there is no mention of an image once venerated by King Louis the Meek.
There is a statue, known as the Tintenfassmadonna on display inside the cathedral, which is thought to date from the 15th century. The Blessed Virgin wears a blue coat over a white tunic, as well as a large gold crown with five trifoliate lilies. On her left arm sits the Divine Child Jesus. He holds a pen in his right hand, and there is an unrolled scroll that reaches to His feet. Could it be the Book of Life, upon which is written the names of the saved?
There is also what is said to be a one-thousand year old rosebush that is climbing the wall of the cathedral’s apse. The bush survived the bombing of the cathedral in 1945, as the roots remained alive beneath the rubble, and according to legend, Hildesheim will continue to be prosperous as long as the rosebush continues to flourish.