Pilgrimage in Dettelbach

Of all things, a brawl is the starting point and the origin of the Dettelbach pilgrimage. Reports state: In 1504 a village in the diocese of Bamberg was celebrating a parish fair. Soon after the meal – and after plenty of glasses of wine – some farmers got into a fight and wounded each other in a wild stabbing. One of them, Nikolaus Lemmer from Melkendorf, was “beaten and wounded to death”. But he survived. The injuries meant that he was bedridden for a long time.

His miraculous healing and a pilgrimage to a wayside shrine with a late Gothic Pietà, which stood east of the town of Dettelbach among the vineyards, marked the beginning of the pilgrimage to “Maria im Sand”. People came from near and far to pray before the Pietà. Soon a wooden hut was erected above the wayside shrine to protect the many offerings, then a stone chapel was built. Over 70 wonderful hearings are reported from the first period. Through the reformation, the pilgrimage almost died.