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The Three Missionaries

The Lonely Planet site for Bavaria (specifically the entry on Würzburg) has a way with words:

"Würzburg was a Franconia duchy when, in 686, three Irish missionaries tried to persuade Duke Gosbert to convert, and ditch his wife. Gosbert was mulling it over when his wife had the three bumped off. When the murders were discovered decades later, the martyrs became saints and Würzburg was made a pilgrimage city, and, in 742, a bishopric."

The three missionaries who were "bumped off" were Kilian, Totnan and Kolonat. They died as martyrs in 689. St. Kilian became the apostle of Franconia. The relics of the three missionaries are kept in the Würzburg Cathedral. It's quite a show when on St. Kilian's Day (July 8th), the glass case containing the three skulls is removed from a crypt under the cathedral and paraded through the streets of Würzburg.

The region's Irish heritage based on the one-time missionaries still shines through here and there. The Irish name Kilian is quite popular in this part of Franconia and the annual fair (Volksfest) in Würzburg is called Kiliani.

Kiliani is like a (much) smaller version of Munich's Oktoberfest which makes it a lot cosier. The fact that people in and around Würzburg tend to be wine drinkers more so than beer drinkers, like in Munich, also makes for a different, perhaps more refined culture of partying. If you visit Germany during the first two weeks of July be sure to visit Kiliani-Volksfest in Würzburg! Peace

Photo: St. Kilian on the bridge bearing his name across the river Main beneath the fortress "Marienberg" in Würzburg.