Catholic Dictionary


COLOGNE (cathedral)


A famous shrine depository of the relics of the three Magi Kings in one of the finest examples of metalcraft of medieval times. Approved as authentic early in the ninth century, these relics were brought to Milan from Constantinople and then to Cologne in 1164. They were enthusiastically venerated in Germany throughout the Middle Ages. Mystery plays were organized to present the part played by the Magi in Christ's Nativity story. Their cult was widespread, and pilgrimages were started in the twelfth century and continue to this day. Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior have been considered patrons of travelers.