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Ann Cleeves | all galleries >> Galleries >> CHURCHES, CHAPELS & CATHEDRALS - ABROAD > RUINS OF THE WERNER CHAPEL
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Bacharach am Rhein - Germany

The chapel is a beautiful gothic building, even though it now stands in ruins.
The history of it goes back to 1287 when a young man, Werner, was found murdered on this spot. His death was blamed on a ritual killing by the local Jews who were persecuted as a result. Several miracles at Werner's grave triggered pilgrimages and the church was built to house his remains. The people wanted Werner to be made a saint. However, the Vatican refused to officially beatify him and after about a century it was acknowledged that the miracle evidence was faked. In spite of this the town continued to build the chapel in Werner's honour, over the next 150 years, from the proceeds of the pigrimages. It was severely damaged in 1689 when the French attacked Castle Stahleck and rubble rained down on the chapel below. This resulted in the demolition of its northern wing, its roofs and vaults in the 18th century. There was some restoration between 1981 and 1996, and a stone tablet indicates the importance of the Werner Chapel as one of the oldest artefacts related to the persecution of the Jews in Germany.

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