Meißen, hometown of the famous porcelain and good wine. But did you know that the first saint of Saxony was also living there? On our bicycle tour to the city we wanted to learn more about him, Bishop Saint Benno von Meißen. But first of all we had to get there. Along the Elbe we enjoyed a wonderful trip with perfect weather. On our way we discovered goats which could be fed, several tables with fresh vegetables to buy and a nice “Biergarten” for a break. In Meißen we took a walk through the beautiful old town and went uphill to the Albrechtsburg where our guided tour was supposed to begin.
The exhibition about Saint Benno von Meißen displays many old pieces like handwritings and books (up to 800 years old!) and tries to solve the mysteries about the ancient bishop. Historians know nearly nothing about the man who was proclaimed the first saint of Saxony and lived from 1066 till 1106. But our guide told us some funny stories about the miracles he was supposed to perform. It is said that hundreds of people were healed from blindness, deafness and other diseases just by praying to him. He also allegedly freed six prisoners and found the key to his cathedral in the stomach of a fish. Even though he obviously was such a holy man it took more than 400 years to declare him as a saint in 1523 because the Catholic Church needs a lot of time for such a process. After the success of Bennos canonization the joy didn’t last long. Declaring him a saint caused a big argument between Martin Luther, who was spreading reformation across Germany and Europe and the Catholic Church. Luther saw the canonization of Benno as a try to stop the distribution of Protestantism in Saxony and wrote a mean book about poor Benno. If you want to learn more about that interesting story just go to Meißen and have a look. The exhibition is in German and English so you have the chance to understand everything.
After that interesting tour it was time to have some coffee and a nice Eierschecke in a café next to the castle where we had a beautiful view over the city, landscape and the Elbe. Afterwards it was time to head home so we took the train and talked about the differences between American Football and Rugby. See you guys next time :)
Text and photos: H. Leonhardt