This year’s Charlemagne Festival will be celebrated with a pontifical mass on Sunday, 31 January, at 10 am. Bishop Dr Helmut Dieser will preside over the service, at which, as every year, some liturgical features will be revived. The “Kaiserlaudes”, which dates back to Carolingian times, and the city hymn Urbs Aquensis, originally known as Charlemagne’s Sequence and composed in the twelfth century, will be heard. As congregational singing is not possible at present, the musical part will be provided by the cathedral wind instruments and a small group of soloists from the cathedral choir. Music by Mendelssohn, Rheinberger and Gigout will be heard.
On the occasion of the day of honour, the image of Our Lady will change her robe. Until Ash Wednesday, Mother and Child will wear the neo-Gothic “Charlemagne clothes” from 1871. The public presentation and veneration of the gilded arm reliquary from 1481 from the cathedral treasury is another special feature. This time, too, the participants in the service include the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and the Charles Riflemen’s Guild, which is considered the oldest association in Germany. However, both associations take part with only a very small delegation.
Those who want to celebrate the Karlsamt from home can follow the service with its medieval elements live on the internet. The live stream can be seen on the homepage of the Diocese of Aachen (www.bistum-aachen.de) or on the YouTube channel of the diocese.
Please note: Visitors who wish to witness the service on site must wear a medical mask in accordance with the NRW Corona Protection Ordinance.
Apart from the Pontifical Mass, the usual supporting programme will not take place. But at least for the organ concert in the afternoon there will be a substitute: In memory of the sick and dead of the Corona pandemic, as well as all those who have to suffer from the existing restrictions, cathedral organist Michael Hoppe has pre-recorded and recorded the Fantasia on “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” by Franz Liszt. The 18-minute live recording can be found on Youtube under the title “Orgelmusik zum Karlsfest“.