There is something very mysterious about the small town of Ulflingen/Ëlwen/Troisvierges that remains unnoticed. It is its name in the first place. The German name Ulflingen, by which it was known from its very beginning (mentioned for the first time in 1353), as well as the Luxembourg Ëlwen, derives from the word for ‘elves’ and refers to the old folk tales about the founding of the town by elves.
In the 17th century, Ulflingen was a very popular pilgrim destination and in 1641 the Franciscans, called by the local ruler, built a monastery here. At that time, the French name of Troisvierges was introduced by Belgian-French pilgrims. Yet, according to certain documents, there has been a chapel dedicated to the Three Virgins as early as 1489 on the spot.
It is not a secret that Trois Vierges/the Three Virgins or the cult of the Three Goddesses (the cult of the Matrons) is in fact with Celtic-German pagan roots.
The cult of the Matrons is pictured as a group of three sitting women. According to the research-workers, the two side women are married and the one in the middle is a virgin (the picture is made in Blankenheim, Germany. More information about the cult will be provided in the forthcoming publication about the Matrons’ sanctuary in Görresburg, Nettersheim). Later, in order to be adapted to Christianity (as it turned out to be ineradicable. And it is still alive – we will see this soon.) Pope Gregory I converted it into the cult of the three Martyrs and Saints Faith, Hope and Charity/ Fides, Spes et Caritas. Either way, we all know that our Christian feasts are all with pagan roots and it is made no secret of it. But exactly that case – with the Three Virgins, or more precisely, the Three Goddesses definitely has made me skeptical about the fairy tales told by the Christianity. (Another example – does the name of the Celtic god Esus sound familiar only to me?)
The coat of arms of the town.
Fountain with the Three Virgins in front of the Town Hall.
And decorations on living buildings with their figures.
The church was built in 1658. It is considered to be an exceptionally valuable cultural monument due to its Baroque furnishing and paintings from the Rubens’ workshop. On my last visit in town, a woman, seeing me with my camera in hand, began to wave with enthusiasm from the other side of the street, explaining to me in French that I simply ‘must’ visit the church (but I’ve already been there before). It seems that the local people are very proud of this sight.
On my last visit in town, a woman, seeing me with my camera in hand, began to wave with enthusiasm from the other side of the street, explaining to me in French that I simply ‘must’ visit the church (but I’ve already been there before). It seems that the local people are very proud of this temple.
The choir, intended for the members of the order, is detached from the church nave, intended for the common people, through the side altars. I’ve never seen such an interior before. It reminds me somehow of our Eastern Orthodox churches.
The organ is considered to be the oldest one in Luxembourg, dating presumably from the period 1658-1675.
The one side altar with the Three Virgins behind Virgin Mary. It is assumed that they date back to the early 15th century.
The high altar.
The Three Virgins.