Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Canon, Pslam 25, Mark 8:27-35, St. Cornelius, Aachen Germany

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Canon, Pslam 25, Mark 8:27-35, St. Cornelius,  Aachen Germany

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  canon  can·on  [kan-uhn]

Origin:  before 900; Middle English, Old English  < Latin  < Greek kanṓn  measuring rod, rule, akin to kánna cane

1. an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope.
2. the body of ecclesiastical law.
3. the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art: the neoclassical canon.
4. a fundamental principle or general rule: the canons of good behavior.
5. a standard; criterion: the canons of taste.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 25

Show me Lord, your ways!

Adoration I offer, Yahweh,
to you, my God.
But in my trust in you do not put me to shame,
let not my enemies gloat over me.
Calling to you, none shall ever be put to shame,
but shame is theirs who groundlessly break faith.
Direct me in your ways,

Yahweh, and teach me your paths.
Encourage me to walk in your truth
and teach me since you are the God who saves me.
For my hope is in you all day long
-- such is your generosity, Yahweh.

Goodness and faithful love have been yours for ever, Yahweh,
do not forget them.
Hold not my youthful sins against me,
but remember me as your faithful love dictates.

Integrity and generosity are marks of Yahweh
for he brings sinners back to the path.
Judiciously he guides the humble,
instructing the poor in his way.

Kindness unfailing and constancy mark all Yahweh's paths,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
Let my sin, great though it is, be forgiven,
Yahweh, for the sake of your name.

Men who respect Yahweh, what of them?
He teaches them the way they must choose.
Neighbours to happiness will they live,
and their children inherit the land.

Only those who fear Yahweh have his secret
and his covenant, for their understanding.
Permanently my eyes are on Yahweh,
for he will free my feet from the snare.

Quick, turn to me, pity me,
alone and wretched as I am!
Relieve the distress of my heart,
bring me out of my constraint.

Spake a glance for my misery and pain,
take all my sins away.
Take note how countless are my enemies,
how violent their hatred for me.

Unless you guard me and rescue me I shall be put to shame,
for you are my refuge.
Virtue and integrity be my protection,
for my hope, Yahweh, is in you.
Ransom Israel, O God,
from all its troubles.


Today's Gospel Reading Mark 8:27-35

A key to today's Gospel:
The text of the Gospel of this 24th Sunday of ordinary time presents the first announcement of the Passion and death of Jesus, to the Disciples, Peter trying to eliminate the Cross and the teaching of Jesus concerning the consequences of the Cross for those who wish to be His Disciples. Peter does not understand the proposal of Jesus concerning the Cross and suffering. He accepted Jesus as Messiah, not as a suffering Messiah. Peter was conditioned by the propaganda of the Government of that time which spoke of the Messiah only in terms of a glorious King. Peter seemed to be blind. He could not see anything and wished that Jesus could be like him, Peter desired and imagined. Today we all believe in Jesus. But all of us do not understand him in the same way. Who is Jesus for me? Today, which is the most common image of Jesus that people have? Today, is there a propaganda that tries to interfere in our way of seeing Jesus? Who am I for Jesus?

A division of the Gospel to help in understanding:
Mark 8, 27-28: The question of Jesus concerning the opinion of the people and the response of the Disciples
Mark 8, 29-30: The question of Jesus and the opinion of his Disciples
Mark 8, 31-32ª: The first announcement of the Passion and death
Mark 8, 32b-33: The conversation between Jesus and Peter
Mark 8, 34-35: The conditions to follow Jesus

The Gospel - Mark 8:27-35:

27 Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, 'Who do people say I am?' 28 And they told him, 'John the Baptist, others Elijah, others again, one of the prophets.' 29 'But you,' he asked them, 'who do you say I am?' Peter spoke up and said to him, 'You are the Christ.' 30 And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.  31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of man was destined to suffer grievously, and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; 32 and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter tried to rebuke him. 33 But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God thinks, but as human beings do.' 34 He called the people and his disciples to him and said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

i)In the text of Mark 8, 27 the long instruction of Jesus to his Disciples begins, and this goes on until the passage of Mark 10, 45. At the beginning of this instruction as well as at the end of it, Mark places the healing of the blind man: Mark 8, 22-26 and Mark 10, 46-52. At the beginning the healing of the blind man was not easy and Jesus had to heal him in two stages. The healing of the blindness of the Disciples was also difficult. Jesus had to give them a long explanation concerning the significance of the Cross in order to help them to see the reality, because it was the cross which brought about the blindness in them. At the end, the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus is the fruit of faith in Jesus. It suggests the ideal of the Disciple: to believe in Jesus and to accept Him as He is, and not as I want or imagine.

ii) In the year 70, when Mark wrote, the situation of the communities was not easy. There was much suffering, many were the crosses. Six years before, in 64, Nero, the emperor had decreed the first great persecution, killing many Christians. In the year 70, in Palestine, Jerusalem, was about to be destroyed by the Romans. In other countries, a great tension between the converted Jews and the non converted was beginning. The greatest difficulty was the Cross of Jesus. The Jews thought that a Crucified person could not be the Messiah greatly expected by the people, because the Law affirmed that anyone who had been crucified had to be considered as cursed by God (Dt 21, 22-23).

Mark 8, 22.26: Healing of the blind man
They bring him a blind man, and ask Jesus to cure him. Jesus cures him, but in a different way. First, he takes him out of the village, then he puts some saliva on his eyes, imposes the hands and asks him: Do you see anything? And the man answers: I see men, because I see like tress that walk! He saw only in part. He sees tress and interchanges them for people, and the people for trees! It is only in the second time that Jesus heals the blind man and forbids him to go back to the village. Jesus did not want an easy propaganda! This description of the healing of the blind man is an introduction to the instruction which will be given to the Disciples, because in reality, Peter and the other Disciples were blind!. And the blindness of the Disciples is cured by Jesus, even though not in the first time. They accepted Jesus as Messiah, but only as a gloriousMessiah. They only noticed one part! They did not want the commitment of the Cross! They interchangedtrees for persons!

Mark 8, 27-30. TO SEE: the discovery of reality
Jesus asks: “Whom do people say that I am?” They answer indicating the diverse opinions of the people: “John the Baptist”, “Elijah or one of the prophets”. After having heard the opinions of others , Jesus asks: “And you, whom do you say that I am?” Peter answers: “You are the Christ, the Messiah!” That is: “The Lord is the one whom the people are expecting!” Jesus agrees with Peter, but forbids to speak about this with the people. Why does Jesus forbid them this? Then, everyone was waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but each one in his own way, according to the class and the social position which he had: some expected him to come as King, others as Priest. Doctor, Warrior, Judge or Prophet! Nobody seemed to wait for the Messiah as Servant, as announced by Isaiah (Is 42, 1-9).

Mark 8, 31-33. TO JUDGE: clarification of the situation: first announcement of the Passion
Jesus begins to teach that he is the Messiah Servant announced by Isaiah, and will be taken prisoner and be killed during the exercise of his mission of justice (Is 49, 4-9; 53, 1-12). Peter is filled with fear, he takes Jesus aside and tries to rebuke him. And Jesus responds to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God thinks, but as human beings do!” Peter thought he had given the right answer. And, in fact he says the just word: “You are the Christ!” But he does not give this word the right significance. Peter does not understand Jesus. He is like the blind man of Bethsaida. He interchanged the people with the trees! Jesus’ answer was very hard. He calls Peter Satan! Satan is a Hebrew word which means accuser, the one who withdraws others from the path of God. Jesus does not allow anyone to draw him away from his mission. Literally, Jesus says: “Get behind me!” That is, Peter has to go behind Jesus, has to follow Jesus and accept the way or direction which Jesus indicates. Peter wanted to be the first one and to indicate the direction. He wanted a Messiah according to his measure and according to his desire.

Mark 8, 34-37. TO ACT: conditions to follow
Jesus draws conclusions which are still valid today: He who wants to follow me, let him take up his cross and follow me! At that time, the cross was the death sentence which the Roman Empire imposed to the marginalized. To take up the cross and to carry it following Jesus meant, then, to accept to be marginalized by the unjust system which legitimised injustice. It indicated a radical and total rupture. As Saint Paul says in the Letter to the Galatians: “But as for me, it is out of the question that I should boast at all, except of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6, 14). The Cross is not fatalism, nor is it an exigency from the Father. The Cross is the consequence of the commitment, freely assumed by Jesus to reveal the Good News that Jesus is Father and that, therefore, all have to be accepted and treated as brothers and sisters. Because of this revolutionary announcement, he was persecuted and he was not afraid to surrender his life. There is no proof of a greater love than to give one’s life for the brother.

Further Reflection:
The instruction of Jesus to the Disciples
Between the two healings of the blind men (Mk 8, 22-26 and Mark 10, 46-52), is found the long instruction of Jesus to his Disciples, to help them to understand the significance of the Cross and its consequences for life (Mark 8, 27 to 10, 45). It seems to be a document, a certain type of catechism, made by Jesus himself. It speaks about the cross in the life of the Disciple. It is a type of a schema of instruction:

         Mk 8, 22-26: Healing of a blind man
         Mk 8, 277-38: 1st announcement of the Passion
         Mk 9, 1-29: Instruction on the Messiah Servant
         Mk 9, 30-37: 2nd Announcement of the Passion
         Mk 9, 38 to 10, 31: Instructions on conversation
         Mk 10, 32-45: 3rd Announcement of the Passion
         Mk 10, 46-52: Healing of a blind man.

As we can see, the instruction is formed by three announcements of the Passion. The first one is in Mark 8, 27-38, the second one in Mark 9, 30-37 and the third one in Mark 10, 32-45. Between the first one and the second one, there are a series of instructions to help them to understand that Jesus is the Messiah Servant (Mk 9, 1-29). Between the second and the third one, a series of instructions which clarify the conversion which has to take place in the life of those who accept Jesus as Messiah Servant (Mk 9, 38 to 10, 31).

The background of the whole instruction is the road from Galilee to Jerusalem, from the lake to the cross. Jesus is on the way toward Jerusalem, where he will be put to death. From the beginning and up to the end of this instruction, Mark informs that Jesus is on the way toward Jerusalem (Mk 8, 27; 9, 30.33; 10, 1, 17.32), where he will find the cross.

In each one of these three announcements, Jesus speaks about his Passion, Death and Resurrection as part of the project of Jesus: “The Son of man has to suffer grievously, and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again” (Mk 8, 31; 9, 31; 10, 33). The expression has indicates that the cross had already been announced in the prophecies (cfr. Lk 24, 26).

Each one of these three announcements of the Passion is accompanied by gestures or words of misunderstanding on the part of the Disciples. In the first one, Peter does not want the cross and criticises Jesus (Mk 8, 32). In the second one, the Disciples do not understand Jesus, they are afraid and wish to be greater (Mk 9, 32-34). In the third one, they are afraid, they are apprehensive (Mk 10, 32), and they seek promotions (Mk 10, 35-37). And this because in the communities for which Mark writes his Gospel there were many persons like Peter: they did not want the cross! They were like the Disciples: they did not understand the cross, they were afraid and wanted to be the greatest; they lived in fear and desired promotions. Each one of these three announcements gives them a word of orientation on the part of Jesus, criticising the lack of understanding of the Disciples and teaching how their behaviour should be. Thus, in the first announcement, Jesus demands from those who wish to follow him to carry the cross behind him, to lose their life out of love for him and for his Gospel, not to be ashamed of him and of his word (Mk 8, 34-38). In the second one he demands: to become the servant of all, to receive the children, the little ones, as if they were Jesus himself (Mk 9, 35-37). In the third one he demands: to drink the cup that he will drink, not to imitate the powerful who exploit the others, but to imitate the Son of Man who has not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life for the redemption of many (Mk 10, 35-45).

The total understanding of the following of Jesus is not obtained from the theoretical instruction, but from the practical commitment, walking with him along the way of service, from Galilee to Jerusalem. Those who insist in maintaining the idea of Peter, that is, of the glorious Messiah without the cross, will not understand and will not succeed in assuming an attitude of the true disciple. They will continue to be blind, interchanging people for trees (Mk 8, 24). Because without the cross it is impossible to understand who Jesus is and what it means to follow Jesus.

The road of the following is the way of dedication, of abandonment, of service, of availability, of acceptance of conflict, knowing that there will be the resurrection. The cross is not an accident on the way, but forms part of the road. Because in the world, organized beginning with egoism, love and service can exist only in the crucified! The one who gives his life in the service of others, disturbs those who live attached to privileges and he suffers.

A moment of prayerful silence so that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.

Some questions to help us in our personal reflection:

a) Which point in this text pleased you the most or what struck you the most? Why?
b) Which is the opinion of the people and of Peter on Jesus? Why do Peter and the people think in this way?
c) Which is the relationship between the healing of the blind man, described before (Mk 8, 22-26) and the conversation of Jesus with Peter and the other Disciples?
d) What does Jesus ask from those who want to follow him?
e) What prevents us today from recognizing and assuming the project of Jesus?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Cornelius

Feast Day: September 16
Patron Saint: earache, epilepsy, fever, twitching and the town of Kornelimünster, Germany

Pope Cornelius was pope from his election on 6 or 13 March 251 to his martyrdom in June 253. Emperor Decius, who ruled from 249 to 251 AD, persecuted Christians in the Roman Empire rather sporadically and locally, but starting January in the year 250, he ordered all citizens to perform a religious sacrifice in the presence of commissioners, or else face death.[1] Many Christians refused and were martyred (possibly including the pope, St Fabian, on 20 January), while others partook in the sacrifices in order to save their own lives. Two schools of thought arose after the persecution. One side, led by Novatian, who was a priest in the diocese of Rome, believed that those who had stopped practicing Christianity during the persecution could not be accepted back into the church even if they repented. Under this philosophy, the only way to re-enter the church would be re-baptism. The opposing side, including Cornelius and Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage, did not believe in the need for re-baptism. Instead they thought that the sinners should only need to show contrition and true repentance to be welcomed back into the church. In hopes that Christianity would fade away, Decius prevented the election of a new pope. However, soon afterwards Decius was forced to leave the area to fight the invading Goths and while he was away the elections for pope were held. In the 14 months without a pope, the leading candidate, Moses, had died under the persecution. Novatian believed that he would be elected, however Cornelius was unwillingly elected the twenty-first pope in March 251.


Novatian was very angry not only that he was not elected pope, but that someone who did not believe in rebaptism was. He thus proclaimed himself the antipope (rival) to Cornelius, driving a schism through the church. After Cornelius’s appointment to the papacy, Novatian became more rigorous in his philosophy, convinced that bishops could not pardon the worst of sins, and that such sins could only be reconciled at the Last Judgment. Cornelius had the support of St. Cyprian, St. Dionysius, and most African and Eastern bishops while Novatian had the support of a minority of clergy and laymen in Rome who did not acknowledge Cornelius as pope. Cornelius’s next action was to convene a synod of 60 bishops to restate himself as the rightful pope and the council excommunicated Novatian as well as all Novatianists. Also addressed in the synod was that Christians who stopped practising during Emperor Decius’s persecution could receive communion only after doing penance. The verdict of the synod was sent to the Christian bishops, most notably the bishop of Antioch, a fierce Novatian supporter in order to convince him to accept Cornelius’s power. The letters that Cornelius sent to surrounding bishops provide knowledge of the size of the church during the period. Cornelius mentions that at the time, the Roman Church had, “forty six priests, seven deacons, seven sub-deacons, forty two acolytes, fifty two ostiarii, and over one thousand five hundred widows and persons in distress.” His letters also inform that Cornelius had a staff of over 150 clergy members and the church fed over 1,500 people daily. From these numbers, it has been estimated that that there were at least 50,000 Christians in Rome during the papacy of Pope Cornelius.

Death and Letters

In June 251, Decius was killed in battle with the Goths; immediately following this Trebonianus Gallus became Emperor. Persecution began again in June 252, and Pope Cornelius was exiled to Centumcellae, Italy, where he died in June 253. The Liberian catalogue lists his death as being from the hardships of banishment; however, later sources claim he was beheaded. Cornelius is not buried in the chapel of the popes, but in a nearby catacomb, and the inscription on his tomb is in Latin, instead of the Greek of his predecessor's Pope Fabian and successor's Lucius I. It reads, “Cornelius Martyr.” The letters Cornelius sent while in exile are all written in the colloquial Latin of the period instead of the classical style used by the educated such as Cyprian, a theologian as well as a bishop, and Novatian, who was also a philosopher.[4] This suggests that Cornelius did not come from an extremely wealthy family and thus was not given a sophisticated education as a child. A letter from Cornelius while in exile mentions an office of "exorcist" in the church for the first time. Canon law dictated that each bishopric must have an exorcist, a tradition that continued until the minor orders were suppressed by Paul VI in 1972.

Referenced in History

St. Cornelius is not mentioned much in most texts. When he is referenced, it seems to be in conjunction with his anti-pope Novatian, who eventually founded his own church with his own bishops; his predecessor St Fabian; or his successor St. Lucius. His papacy was short, reigning two years, three months, and ten days, and little was probably circulated at the time due to the persecution in Christian centers. Over time, St. Cornelius seems to have been overlooked and passed over for other great Catholic popes whose papacies lasted longer, had more political power, and influenced other cultures. However, while Cornelius is a rather obscure religious figure, his mandates have shaped the church in historic ways.


Some of his relics were taken to Germany during the Middle Ages; his head was claimed by Kornelimünster Abbey near Aachen. In the Rhineland, he was also a patron saint of lovers. A legend associated with Cornelius tells of a young artist who was commissioned to decorate the Corneliuskapelle in the Selikum quarter of Neuss. The daughter of a local townsman fell in love with the artist, but her father forbade the marriage, remarking that he would only consent if the pope did as well. Miraculously, the statue of Cornelius leaned forward from the altar and blessed the pair, and the two lovers were thus married.

Cornelius, along with Quirinus of Neuss, Hubertus and Anthony the Great, was venerated as one of the Four Holy Marshals in the Rhineland during the late Middle Ages. A legend told at Carnac states that its stones were once pagan soldiers who had been turned into stone by Cornelius, who was fleeing from them.

The Catholic Church commemorated Cornelius by venerating him, with his Saint’s Day on the 16th of September, which he shares with his good friend St. Cyprian. His Saint’s Day was originally on the 14th of September, the date on which both St. Cyprian and St. Cornelius were martyred, as proposed by St. Jerome. St. Cornelius’s saintly name means "battle horn", and he is represented in icons by a pope either holding some form of cow's horn or with a cow nearby. He is the patron against earache, epilepsy, fever, twitching, and also of cattle, domestic animals, earache sufferers, epileptics, and the town of Kornelimünster, Germany where his head is located.


  • Chapman, John (1913). "Pope Cornelius". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company

Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet I:   Aachen Germany,  Kornelimünster Abbey

Aachen  is a spa town (Bad Aachen) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In French, and also in English, the city is known as Aix-la-Chapelle. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and later the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km (40 mi) west of Cologne. RWTH Aachen University, one of Germany's Universities of Excellence, is located in the city.  Aachen's predominant economic focus is on science, engineering, information technology and related sectors. In 2009, Aachen was ranked 8th among cities in Germany for innovation.


Aachen is at the western end of the Benrath line that divides High German to the south from the rest of the West Germanic speech area to the north. Aachen has the hottest springs of Central Europe with water temperatures of 74°C(165°F). The water contains a considerable percentage of common salt and other sodium salts and sulphur. As a spa city, Aachen could use the title Bad Aachen, but as the town then would not appear in first place on alphabetically ordered lists, it declined to do so.


Construction of Aix-la-Chapelle, by Jean Fouquet.
A quarry on the Lousberg, which was first used in Neolithic times, attests to the long occupation of the site of Aachen. No larger settlements, however, have been found to have existed in this remote rural area, located at least 15 km from the nearest road even in Roman times, up to the early medieval period when the place is mentioned as a king's mansion for the first time, not long before Charlemagne became ruler of the Germanic Franks.  Since Roman times, the hot springs at Aachen have been channelled into baths. There are currently two places to "take the waters", at the Carolus Thermen complex and the bathhouse in Burtscheid. There is some documentary proof that the Romans named the hot sulfur springs of Aachen Aquis-Granum, and indeed to this day the city is known in Italian as Aquisgrana, in Spanish as Aquisgrán and in Polish as Akwizgran. The name Granus has lately been identified as that of a Celtic deity. In French-speaking areas of the former Empire, the word aquis evolved into the modern Aix.

The Middle Ages

After Roman times, Einhard mentions that in 765–6 Pippin the Younger spent both Christmas and Easter at Aquis villa ("Et celebravit natalem Domini in Aquis villa et pascha similiter."), which must have been sufficiently equipped to support the royal household for several months. In the year of his coronation as King of Franks, 768, Charlemagne came to spend Christmas at Aachen for the first time. He went on to remain there in a mansion which he may have extended, although there is no source attesting to any significant building activity at Aachen in his time, apart from the building of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen (since 1929, cathedral) and the palatial presentation halls. Charlemagne spent most winters between 792 and his death in 814 in Aachen, which became the focus of his court and the political centre of his empire. After his death, the king was buried in the church which he had built; his original tomb has been lost, while his alleged remains are preserved in the shrine where he was reburied after being declared a saint; his saintliness, however, was never very widely acknowledged outside the bishopric of Liège where he may still be venerated by tradition.

In 936, Otto I was crowned king of the kingdom in the collegiate church built by Charlemagne. Over the next 500 years, most kings of Germany destined to reign over the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in Aachen. The last king to be crowned here was Ferdinand I in 1531. During the Middle Ages, Aachen remained a city of regional importance, due to its proximity to Flanders, achieving a modest position in the trade in woollen cloths, favoured by imperial privilege. The city remained a Free Imperial City, subject to the Emperor only, but was politically far too weak to influence the policies of any of its neighbours. The only dominion it had was over Burtscheid, a neighbouring territory ruled by a Benedictine abbess. It was forced to accept that all of its traffic must pass through the "Aachener Reich". Even in the late 18th century the Abbess of Burtscheid was prevented from building a road linking her territory to the neighbouring estates of the duke of Jülich; the city of Aachen even deployed its handful of soldiers to chase away the road-diggers.

From the early 16th century, Aachen lost power. A fire devastated the city in 1656. Aachen became attractive as a spa by the middle of the 17th century, not so much because of the effects of the hot springs on the health of its visitors but because Aachen was then — and remained well into the 19th century — a place of high-level prostitution in Europe. Traces of this hidden agenda of the city's history is found in the 18th century guidebooks to Aachen as well as to the other spas; the main indication for visiting patients, ironically, was syphilis; only by the end of the 19th century had rheuma become the most important object of cures at Aachen and Burtscheid. Aachen was chosen as the site of several important congresses and peace treaties: the first congress of Aachen (often referred to as Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in English) in 1668, leading to the First Treaty of Aachen in the same year which ended the War of Devolution. The second congress ended with the second treaty in 1748, finishing the War of the Austrian Succession. The third congress took place in 1818 to decide the fate of occupied Napoleonic France.

The 19th century

By the middle of the 19th century, industrialisation swept away most of the city's medieval rules of production and commerce, although the entirely corrupt remains of the city's mediæval constitution was kept in place (compare the famous remarks of Georg Forster in his Ansichten vom Niederrhein) until 1801, when Aachen became the "chef-lieu du département de la Roer" in Napoléon's First French Empire. In 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Prussia took over and the city became one of its most socially and politically backward centres until the end of the 19th century. Administered within the Rhine Province, by 1880 the population was 80,000. Starting in 1840, the railway from Cologne to Belgium passed through Aachen. The city suffered extreme overcrowding and deplorable sanitary conditions up to 1875 when the medieval fortifications were finally abandoned as a limit to building operations and new, less miserable quarters were built in the eastern part of the city, where drainage of waste liquids was easiest. In 1880, the Aachen tramway network was opened, and in 1895 it was electrified. In the 19th century and up to the 1930s, the city was important for the production of railway locomotives and carriages, iron, pins, needles, buttons, tobacco, woollen goods, and silk goods.

The 20th century

Aachen was heavily damaged during World War II. The city and its fortified sourroundings were encircled 13 September–16 October 1944 by the US 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division in conjunction with the US 2nd Armored Division and 30th Infantry Division during the prolonged Battle of Aachen, later reinforced by US 28th Infantry Division elements. Direct assaults through the heavily defended city finally forced the German garrison to surrender on 21 October 1944. Aachen was the first German city to be captured by the Allies. The city was destroyed partially — and in some parts completely — during the fighting, mostly by American artillery fire and demolitions carried out by the Waffen-SS defenders. Damaged buildings included the medieval churches of St. Foillan, St. Paul and St. Nicholas, and the Rathaus (city hall), although Aachen Cathedral was largely unscathed. Only 4,000 inhabitants remained in the city; the rest had followed evacuation orders. Its first Allied-appointed mayor, Franz Oppenhoff, was murdered by an SS commando unit.

While the emperor's palace no longer exists, the church built by Charlemagne is still the main attraction of the city. In addition to holding the remains of its founder, it became the burial place of his successor Otto III. Aachen Cathedral has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


RWTH Aachen University, established as Polytechnicum in 1870, is one of the Germany's Universities of Excellence with strong emphasis on technological research, especially for electrical and mechanical engineering, computer sciences, physics, and chemistry. The university clinics attached to the RWTH, the Klinikum Aachen, is the biggest single-building hospital in Europe. Over time, a host of software and computer industries have developed around the university. It also maintains a botanical garden (the Botanischer Garten Aachen).

FH Aachen, Aachen University of Applied Sciences (AcUAS) was founded in 1971. The AcUAS offers a classic engineering education in professions like Mechatronics, Construction Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering. German and international students are educated in more than 20 international or foreign-oriented programs and can acquire German as well as international degrees (Bachelor/Master) or Doppeldiplome (double degrees). Foreign students account for more than 21% of the student body. The German Army's Technical School (Technische Schule des Heeres und Fachschule des Heeres für Technik) is in Aachen.


In 1372, Aachen became the first coin-minting city in the world to regularly place an Anno Domini date on a general circulation coin, a groschen. The Scotch-Club in Aachen was the first discothèque since 19 October 1959. Klaus Quirini as DJ Heinrich was the first DJ ever. The local specialty of Aachen is an originally stonehard type of sweet bread, baked in large flat loaves, called Aachener Printen. Unlike gingerbread (German: Lebkuchen), which is sweetened with honey, Printen are sweetened with sugar. Today, a soft version is sold under the same name which follows an entirely different recipe.

Notable residents

Charlemagne, King Ethelwulf of Wessex, father of Alfred the Great was born in Aachen. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the founders of modern architecture and the last director of the Bauhaus during its period in Dessau and Berlin was born in Aachen as well. In 1850 Paul Julius Reuter founded the Reuters News Agency in Aachen which transferred messages between Brussels and Aachen using carrier pigeons. Anne Frank's mother, Edith Frank was born here as well.


Charlemagne (c. 742 – January 28, 814), also known as Charles the Great (Latin: Carolus Magnus or Karolus Magnus) or Charles I, was the founder of the Carolingian Empire, reigning from 768 until his death. He expanded the Frankish kingdom, adding Italy, subduing the Saxons and Bavarians, and pushing his frontier into Spain. The oldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, Charlemagne was the first Emperor in Western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire four centuries earlier.

Becoming King of the Franks in 768 following the death of his father, Charlemagne was initially co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman I's sudden death in 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the undisputed ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. Through his military conquests, he expanded his kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe.

Charlemagne continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in Italy, and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He also campaigned against the peoples to his east, forcibly Christianizing them along the way (especially the Saxons), eventually subjecting them to his rule after a protracted war. Charlemagne reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned as "Emperor" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day.

Called the "Father of Europe" (pater Europae), Charlemagne's empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire. His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne encouraged the formation of a common European identity. Both the French and German monarchies considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire.

Charlemagne died in 814 after having ruled as Emperor for almost fifty years. He was laid to rest in his imperial capital of Aachen. His son Louis the Pious succeeded him as Emperor.

Main sights

Aachen Cathedral was erected on the orders of Charlemagne in AD 786 and was on completion the largest cathedral north of the Alps. On his death Charlemagne's remains were interred in the cathedral and can be seen there to this day. The cathedral was extended several times in later ages, turning it into a curious and unique mixture of building styles. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens.

The 14th century city hall lies between two central places, the Markt (market place) and the Katschhof (between city hall and cathedral). The coronation hall is on the first floor of the building. Inside you can find five frescoes by the Aachen artist Alfre Rethel which show legendary scenes from the life of Charlemagne, as well as Charlemagne's signature.

The Grashaus, a late medieval house at the Markt, is one of the oldest non-religious buildings in downtown Aachen. It hosts the city archive. The Grashaus was the former city hall before the present building took over this function.

The Elisenbrunnen is one of the most famous sights of Aachen. It is a neo-classical hall covering one of the city's famous fountains. It is just a minute away from the cathedral. Just a few steps in south-eastern direction lies the 19th century theatre.

Also well-known and well worth seeing are the two remaining city gates, the Ponttor, one half mile northwest of the cathedral, and the Kleinmarschiertor, close to the central railway station. There are also a few parts of both medieval city walls left, most of them integrated into more recent buildings, but some others still visible. There are even five towers left, some of which are used for housing.

There are many other places and objects worth seeing, for example a notable number of churches and monasteries, a few remarkable 17th- and 18th-century buildings in the particular Baroque style typical of the region, a collection of statues and monuments, park areas, cemeteries, among others. The area's industrial history is reflected in dozens of 19th- and early 20th-century manufacturing sites in the city.

Kornelimünster Abbey

Kornelimünster Abbey (German: Kloster Kornelimünster) is a Benedictine monastery in Kornelimünster, since 1972 a part of Aachen (as Stadtbezirk Kornelimünster/Walheim), in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

First foundation

The monastery was founded in 814 by Benedict of Aniane, adviser to Emperor Louis the Pious, successor to Charlemagne, on the little river Inde. The monastery was at first known as the "monastery of the Redeemer on the Inde". In the mid-9th century the monastery became an Imperial abbey ("reichsunmittelbar") and received not only great endowments of land but also the so-called biblical or Saviour's relics: the loincloth, the sudarium and the shroud.

In 875, half of the shroud was exchanged for a relic of the head of the martyred Pope Cornelius (died in 253), after which the abbey was known as Sancti Cornelii ad Indam, and later as Kornelimünster. (The full official title of the present monastery is the Abbey of the Abbot Saint Benedict of Aniane and Pope Cornelius). In 1500, the princely imperial abbey (Reichsfürstabtei) of Kornelimünster became part of the Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle.

In 1802, the territory of Kornelimünster came under French rule and the abbey was dissolved in the secularisation. The abbey church became the parish church, and the remaining abbey buildings state property, now belonging to the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia. Kornelimünster became a mairie in Kanton Burtscheid. In 1815, Kornelimünster became part of the Kingdom of Prussia and of the district (Landkreis) of Aachen.

Second foundation

The monastery was re-founded by Benedictines in 1906 and is still in operation as a member of the Subiaco Congregation.

Subiaco Congregation

The Subiaco Congregation is an international union of Benedictine houses (abbeys and priories) within the Benedictine Confederation. It was formed in 1867 through the initiative of Dom Pietro Franceso Casaretto, O.S.B., and received final approval by the Holy See in 1872.


Casaretto (1810–1878) from the age of seventeen was a monk of the Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte which was a member of the ancient Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine monasteries. Due to his poor health later, after his ordination as a priest, he was advised to seek exclaustration (a temporary release from his vows). Instead, he accepted assignment to a parish which had been entrusted to the pastoral care of the Congregation, but only on condition of being accompanied by a few of his brother monks. Furthermore, his stipulation was that they be allowed to follow an exact observance of the monastic life as laid down in the Rule of St. Benedict. To be revived in this was the practice of perpetual abstinence from meat and the celebration of Matins at 2:00 A.M. This was seen as an act of defiance in some quarters, but Casaretto had won the confidence of Pope Pius IX and the King of Piedmont. His vision was fulfilled with the establishment of a small monastic community in 1843.

The new foundation received approbation within the Congregation in 1846 with the visit of the Abbot of their mother community. That same year, it also found support from the Vatican with its approval of 18 articles Casaretto had submitted to serve as shaping the character of the foundation. Additionally, he founded a small seminary nearby to prepare monks for serving overseas. This was a step away from the purely European focus of the Cassinese congregation.

Over the next few years, three other Cassinese monasteries joined Casaretto's experiment. At this point, the Cassinese Congregation formed these communities into a new Province of Subiaco, granting these communities a degree of autonomy. By 1867, monasteries in Belgium, England and France had also joined this new Province. That was the year that Casaretto had decided that conditions in the mother Congregation were such that a complete split would be best. For this he convened an extraordinary Diet, which declared such a break, and established the monasteries of the Province as the Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance. One new feature of this congregation, breaking with monastic tradition, was the establishment of a single abbot for the congregation, titled the Abbot General, with the Superior of each monastery being titled simply a prior, who was to be elected triennially, rather than for life.

This step drew the criticism of excessive centralization of monastic life, but the new congregation thrived, and received final papal approval in 1872, only five years after its inauguration. Yet Casaretto's vision was not to survive intact. Within a few years of his death, a committee of Cardinals called an extraordinary General Chapter in 1880. In the course of this, they cancelled the congregational nature of the monastic religious vows and re-established both the lifetime office of Abbot as the Superior of each monastery and the practice of the monk's vowing stability in a single community.

Following decades saw the consolidation and expansion of the Congregation. Growing hostility by the governments of Italy and France saw temporary suppression of various abbies. This led them to establish new foundations in Bengal, New Zealand and the Philippines by the end of the 19th century. The congregation was flourishing, however, at the start of the 20th century, with the number of monks growing from about 1,000 in 1920 to over 1,400 by 1937. New foundations were taking place, but this growth also came through the affiliation of the formerly Anglican monastery of Prinknash Abbey which chose to affiliate itself with this Congregation, after its conversion to the Catholic Church.

The Spanish Civil War, followed soon after by World War II, saw a change in fortunes of the Congregation. Widespread destruction and dispersal of religious communities did not spare the monks. The entire community of "El Pueyo" was murdered during this conflict. Growth was able to resume after these conflicts, especially in the French province, which made new foundations in Asia and Africa. In 1959, the General Chapter of the Congregation chose to re-take its original name of Subiaco.

Current status

As of 2010 the Congregation consisted of 64 monasteries, with another 45 women's houses affiliated or "aggregated". The congregation was formed with the aim of rediscovering the ancient simplicity of the monastic life, which had become obscured over the centuries. As such, its houses tend to be focussed more on an enclosed contemplative life rather than pastoral involvement with the larger community through the operations of schools or parishes. Compared to the other member congregations of the Benedictine Confederation (apart from the Ottilien Congregation), the Subiaco Confederation is one of the most internationally diverse, due to the widespread missionary activity of its abbeys.

The residence of the Abbot President of the congregation is at the Abbey of St. Ambrose (Italian: Sant'Ambrogio della Massima) in Rome. It was originally founded by the saint's own sister in the 4th century as a monastery of nuns.


  • This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 edition of The Grocer's Encyclopedia.