ALTOTTING, GERMANY

Altotting Travel Blog

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The Bavarian town of Altötting is Germany’s most significant pilgrimage site for the veneration of St. Mary. Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his second mass in Germany during his visit to Bavaria here on Monday.

Located just a few miles from the German-Austrian border, Bavarian dukes held court in Altötting as far back as 748. But the town really gained larger significance after the year 1489, when a miracle was reported in a local church.

 

According to legend, a three-year-old boy had drowned in a nearby creek and was placed on the church altar by his desperate mother, who began praying fort he child’s life with other worshippers. The boy’s alleged miraculous resurrection laid the foundation for centuries of pilgrimages to the town.


 

Those who received help from St. Mary placed votive tables made from wood and depicting the miracle outside the Chapel of Grace that is now surrounded by several churches and basilicas in the center of town. Together with Mariazell in Austria, Czestochowa in Poland, Fatima in Portugal, Loreto in Italy and Lourdes in France, Altötting forms the cooperation "Shrines of Europe."

 

Fond memories

 

Benedict XVI will be the third pope to visit Altötting, which is also called the "Heart of Bavaria." His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, came in 1980 and the first pontiff to make the pilgrimage was Pius VI in 1782.

 

Born in the nearby village of Marktl, which the Benedict will also briefly visit later on Monday, the pope has strong ties to Altötting – apart from the fact that his older brother, Georg, was born there.

 

"I was fortunate to be born near the city of Altötting," the pope wrote in a foreword to the city’s guide book. “The many pilgrimages to Altötting with my family are among my oldest and fondest memories.”

 

He has been to the town on numerous occasions.
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Altotting
photo by: mellemel8