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Liturgically revelling in the Middle Ages

Bishop Bohdan Dsjurach CSsR presides at the Pontifical Mass

Experienced Karlsfest participants know what to expect on Sunday, 28 January at 10 a.m.: a highly solemn pontifical mass with a traditional liturgy, medieval chants and delegations of magnificently dressed knights as well as uniformed Karlsschützen and student fraternities. You should bring time and warm jackets. It can be very cold in the cathedral at the end of January.

But you will be rewarded with a feast for the eyes and ears. Artefacts such as the Lothar Cross and the arm reliquary are taken from the treasury and used in the liturgy, the cathedral choir under the direction of cathedral conductor Berthold Botzet performs at full strength and is supported by the Aachen Symphony Orchestra. Organ music and incense create a solemn atmosphere. Those who get involved are immersed in a liturgical programme lasting almost two hours, in which rituals are drawn from the full. After all, the most famous ruler of the European Middle Ages is honoured at the site of his tomb.

The main celebrant this year is Bishop Bohdan Dsjurach CSsR , Apostolic Exarch for the Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite in Germany. Concelebrants are Bishop Dr Helmut Dieser, Cathedral Provost Rolf-Peter Cremer and other members of the Cathedral Chapter. Following the service, Lord Mayor Sibylle Keupen receives the guest bishop in the town hall, where he signs the city’s Golden Book.

The programme will continue in the cathedral in the afternoon: at 4:30 pm, cathedral organist Michael Hoppe will pull out all the stops and play works by Maurice Duruflé (Suite op.5) and Charles Marie Widor (VI Organ Symphony). Admission is free, donations are requested.

To conclude the Karlsfest, the girls’ choir at Aachen Cathedral will sing psalm settings and polyphonic choral music under the direction of cathedral cantor Marco Fühner in the evening praise at 6 pm.