The pilgrimage basilica of Vierzehnheiligen (the Fourteen Holy Helpers) was built according to the plans of famous master builder, Balthasar Neumann and is one of the most significant baroque and rococo buildings in Bavaria.
The magnificent Basilica of the 14 Holy Helpers lies 7 kilometres outside of Bad Staffelstein – a world-famous baroque masterpiece.
The 14 holy helpers are three bishops, three knights, three youths, three
virgins, an abbot and Saint Christopher with the child Jesus. According to the
legend, in 1446 they appeared to the shepherd boy Hermann Leicht on the former
Frankenthal country estate. On that spot, there is now the most well-known
pilgrimage church in Franconia, the magnificent baroque church of the Fourteen
Holy Helpers. The church, as well as the priory, fell victim to the angry
peasants in the 1525 Peasants’ Revolt
Inside, an impressive baroque extravaganza awaits visitors: imposing
ceiling artwork, stucco everywhere, fascinating lighting effects and dozens of
angel and saint figures.
In the middle of the church, exactly in the place of the shepherd’s apparitions, stands the Gnadenaltar (Altar of Grace), the centre of the liturgy and the church itself. The altar remains in rococo style and depicts the 14 holy helpers. On the side facing the high altar there is a chamber with the four depictions of the apparitions. The canopy allows a view of the high altar – and when you stand on the high altar you can see the alignment of the Altar of Grace and Banz Abbey.
Vierzehnheiligen alone is the destination of 160 walking pilgrimages all
year round. The pilgrims travelling the furthest come from Simmershausen in the
Rhön region and walk for four days. But believers also make the pilgrimage to
the basilica by bicycle, bus and sometimes even by tractor. In the summer
months, several pilgrimages arrive at the basilica from Franconia, Thuringia,
Hesse and Old Bavaria.
No one left a deeper mark on Franconian baroque than Balthasar Neumann. He created the pilgrimage churches of Vierzehnheiligen, Maria Limbach near Eltmann, Gößweinstein and the Würzburg Residence. Neumann, who lived from 1687 to 1753, was already 25 years old when he first delved into architecture. In 1719, at the age of 32, he was commissioned to work on the Würzburg Residence. The residence, built between 1720 and 1744, became Neumann’s life work.
The information centre in the entrance hall of the Abbey offers a wealth of information about the basilica and the order. In the entrance hall of the priory directly opposite the side entrance to the basilica, visitors can learn about the basilica, pilgrimage, faith and church as well as the Franciscan order by way of multimedia presentations. Also included are some display cases with valuable exhibits, for example, the figures of the 14 holy helpers. And many worthwhile writings and books about this place of grace are also now displayed in the information centre’s well-stocked bookstall.
Summer 01.05.-30.09. 06.30 – 20.00 Uhr, Winter 01.10.-30.04. 07.30 - 17.00 Uhr