On the track of the Knights Templar – part 3
While Ouren lies on the Our River near the Belgian-German-Luxembourg border on Belgian territory, Roth an der Our stands a bit lower on the map, again exactly on the German-Luxembourg border (the river marks that border) on German territory and 2 km. away from the ‘knight town’ of Vianden (that is my personal definition of this interesting town and no wonder Victor Hugo had spent so much time there, if we can believe the rumors about his secret activities).
I reached the church and the building of the former Commandry of the Knights Templar in Roth a bit difficult. Actually, the street that leads out of the settlement, named Templar Street, flows to the left in the narrow Johanniterstrasse/Street of the members of the Order of St. John leading you out of the main way, and that could be a sufficient reference point, but if you don’t see the mini-plate ‘Roth Castle’, you will come upon another throwing into confusion signs that will bring you directly to Vianden.
So – the church and the castle stand on a solitary hill outside of Roth. It looks desolate and deserted here, even though the castle is nowadays converted into a hotel and one can expect that there are guests in there.
And stepping over in the old church cemetery you will literally get transported centuries back – that is surely a great destination for the Templars fans.
According to the legend, there was a pagan sanctuary here that was demolished by Saint Willibrord (the founder of the Abbey of Echternach, 658-739) overnight. In the place of the oak where the sanctuary was, the saint planted a lime-tree and built a small chapel where he baptized the heathens.
That is the lime-tree – at the entrance to the church graveyard. And apparently, here started the history of Roth an der Our and of the local church… dedicated again to St. Peter.
The present building originates in the 12th century, and more precisely, in 1140. There are legends about it too, and the historical records had disappeared over the centuries. It is assumed that it was built by a certain Archbishop Albero who gave it to the Count of Vianden for his military service.
In 1228, Count Philipp of Vianden established the Templar Commandry in Roth and gave also the church to the Templars.
When you go from here to the right, you will come across the north side apse that is the oldest preserved part of the church.
In the corner, next to it, is the mystery of the Church of Roth – the so-called Rother Männchen/the Little Man of Roth.
The one theory about it is that it represents the risen Christ.
But with its, as though bungled and a rather totemic appearance, it looks to me more like a pagan image, which is the second hypothesis.
In 1466, the church underwent changes in order to acquire a Gothic appearance. One side portal was walled up.
Yet today, part of its tympanum is laid barе.
On the same side of the church is that ‘plague cross’ from 1632, raised during the plague in the area.
The west portal with the cross of the Knights of St. John (since after the dissolution of the Templar Order, its property was transferred to the Order of St. John/Order of Hospitallers), and other partly uncovered decorations.
Of course, the church is closed. You cannot see its interior even through bars. It is getting open only for the Sunday mass (like the church in Ouren) and only one day a year – the doors open day for protected monuments. To the left above is the sign indicating protected monument.
From the information about the interior that I’ve found, I’ve learned that the furnishing dates from the 18th century, like in the church of Ouren, but it is of unknown origin and history.
The building of the Templar Commandry was built in the 13th century – you can see part of the date on its tower – 1228.
In 1311, it was transferred to the Order of St. John/Order of Hospitallers, along with the church. In 1733, the castle was rebuilt in its major part.
But the gatehouse is preserved from AD 1600.
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