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Catholic Dictionary


AACHEN (shrine)


Sanctuary built by Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), forty miles southwest of Cologne, where Charlemagne died in A.D. 814. A chapel in the main cathedral of Aachen houses four major relics believed to be from biblical times. They were never exhibited before the fourteenth century and since then only infrequently. They are the swaddling clothes of the Infant Jesus; the cloak of Our Lady; the loin cloth of Christ on the Cross; and the cloth on which lay the head of John the Baptist after his beheading. The separate reliquaries containing them are in themselves works of art. Great pilgrimages flock to Aachen to venerate these treasures in July of every seventh year, when they are on exhibition.