Friday, May 25, 2012

Pilgrims Ride by Horse on Blutfritag

Europe's largest procession of horses: about 2,600 riders in dress coats and top hats of pastors and ministers, ride through city and field.

Weingarten ( On the day after Ascension Thursday, riders from the outlying and further distant village and cities as well as pilgrims from Weingarten's sister city Mantua in Italy arrived punctually at seven o'clock. In the streaming sunshine they turned back after 10km without any major incidents toward the inner city again for Blutfritag (Blood Friday Procession).

In their midst is Dean and Basilica Pastor Ekkehard Schmid (photo).He blessed the people, the homes and fields on the sides of the street as he passed with a Relic of the Most Precious Blood. Up until the closing of the Monastery in Autumn of 2010, this event was organized by the Benedictine Monks. The relic goes back to the soldier Longinus, who pierced Christ's side with a lance. In the year 804 all of the blood appeared again in a miraculous way in Mantua. In the eleventh century a part of the relic was brought by the Guelphs (the Pro-Papal Good Guy Party Factions in Medieval Italy) to Weingarten, whereupon a pilgrimage developed, in which many people are led today to the Martinsberg.

"As the Misterpresident it is an hnor and as a Christian a joy to participate in this event," greeted Winfried Kretschmann. Next to other representatives in politics, business and culture he was noot able to participate in the Blutfritag in Weingarten, because of his appointment at Katholikentag. A solemn Pontifical High Mass with Feldkirch's Bishop Elmar Fischer in the Basilica brought the rider's procession t a close.

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