- Nicht von Menschenhand -

- Nicht von Menschenhand - Das Wunder von Guadalupe -

Rätsel um den größten Wallfahrtsorte der Erde

- G U A D A L U P E  T O D A Y -

The small hill Tepeyac was in the lifetime of Juan Diegos and by the days of the Marien's miracles a desolate and unoccupied little spot earth. Only the ruins destroyed by the Spaniards of an aztekischen sanctum for the mother's goddess were found there.

However, nearly 500 years later Guadalupe any more is not to be compared to the Guadalupe from former times. It has become the biggest place of pilgrimage of the earth. 20 million pilgrims and inquisitive people, according to the usual estimates, flow out in the year after Guadalupe and in the basilica to pray there. With it Guadalupe is not only the biggest Christian place of pilgrimage, but biggest generally - with more pilgrims than, for example, Rome or Mecca. A place of pilgrimage in which people of all nations and all social layers assemble to honor of the Tilma and to pray there. Above all, on Sunday "the devil is wrong there".

In devout prayer submergedly the believers sit here at feet of the Tilma about the high altar and murmur into many different languages her prayers. Nuns, monks and other priests are found here just as tourist groups, individually travellers, pilgrims from Mexico city, old men, children, men, women and also religious fanatics. Differently than the legendary and violently controversial grave cloth of Turin in Italy is accessible the Tilma of Guadalupe in a long-term exhibit to the people.

The pilgrim who visits the sanctum of Guadalupe and wants to admire there the Tilma mostly starts in the mega city of Mexico City. At that time, in the times of the miracle the new capital lay far away, and to modern means of transportation was not to be thought long. However, today the tourist rises in Mexico city in a taxi and you to himself absolutely to the red-white taxis should hold to get a satisfactory fare) or one can on no account recommend a coach (a hired car in the traffic chaos of this mega city!) - and is at few minutes there and then. Only about five kilometres the sanctum is removed from the animated city centre. It lies directly along the main traffic Saxon in northeast direction, the Paseo de la Reforma.

Smog lies in air, and during some days the sun not even comes properly by the smoke veil of exhaust gases. However, one reaches his purpose on the foot of the Tepeyac, one is in another, peaceful world. Often one sees whole pilgrim's groups of countless people walking to the basilica. These are village communities which have come on foot partially even hundreds of kilometres to honor of her saints.

About a wide rise before the sanctum one enters the district of the basilica. On the way to the sanctum there is to see a lot. Here the visitor meets not seldom devout pilgrims who slide on the knees to the picture of the virgin to redeem her Bußgelübte. Now and then one can observe how friends and members of the religious cloths sliding about the ground lay out before their knees to relieve pains something.

If one scales then the way to the holy district, one stands on the immense forecourt of the sanctum, directly before the old basilica. On the left of it the anew built, plump basilica stands, on the right the cape skin of the Capuchins. If one looks on the right above the old basilica high to the Tepeyac, the so-called Tepeyac chapel sits enthroned there. She should stand at the real place of the phenomena of the Mother of God of 1531. To the left of it is found an old cemetery which was opened in 1831 and was altered in 1910 and modernised. Here only shortly after the wife of the former dictator Porfirio Dianz was buried. Also other high personalities from the history of Mexico have found here at the summit of the Tepeyac her last rest. It is an urtümlicher cemetery with grown together ways and dilapidated Grüften. All around the Tepeyac invested gardens and wide stairs are found wonderfully. Benches invite the visitor for staying.

The Capuchin's chapel with the parish church is open day and night to every visitor. Above all, the Indians of Mexico love this sanctum, because there Juan Diego should have been buried. Whether the grave of the saint really here is, nevertheless, is unclear. Maybe it is even a devout legend ...

The first built chapel is the Indian chapel standing beside the Capuchin's chapel. She is substantially smaller than all the other sanctums of Guadalupe, is decorated much easier built and less, but till this day in use. Today one can do a kind of walk about the Tepeyac.

On the right or on the left beginning stairs on the point of the hill and to the sanctum lead, then on the other side one can go down again. Completely on the right in the subtending corner of the new basilica and beside the chapel of the Indians there stands the well chapel of 1777 with her splendid dome. One awards up to the today the water of the Tepeyac curative forces. Indeed, people report till this day over and over again that they have recovered from ailment or illnesses, as soon as they have drunk water of the Tepeyac or have rubbed aching places with it - whether this is to be led back now on the sulphur-containing water or on the pure belief in miracles and a kind of Placeboeffekt, nevertheless, remains unclear.

If one goes of the well chapel in the direction of the west, one goes past, to the old basilica, to the baptistry. Also it is a round building and harmonises on account of her form wonderfully with the being quite wrong new basilica. Immediately on the left beside and something before the baptistry, behind the new basilica, a memorial in which countless pilgrims light candles was established. Not far of it there is a side entrance to the new basilica by which one comes directly to a memory shop. There the suitable candles can be bought. A copy of the Tilma in which today the religious candles and amulets rub hangs on this memory business to the right of. So how it was a custom long years away in the Original-Tilma. An as big picture of holy Juan Diego hangs on the left side.

A word to the climate: Natives may have here no difficulties, however, the air of the Mexican highland is noticeably thin here for the European, so that the rise about the forces of older people can go.

Nevertheless, core of all pilgrims is the new basilica of the Tepeyac. The sanctum in it is the high altar with the Tilma of Juan Diego. The new basilica has been built in her inside architecturally cleverly, because from every place one has a free look at the Tilma. To permit one short look at close range on the Tilma to masses in religious pilgrims and curious visitors at least, one enters behind and below the high altar a total of four production lines. They lead the visitor below in the Tilma, and thus everybody can look without scrum at the miracle of Guadalupe.

Appropriately Henry F . Unger describes in the beginning of the seventies years of the last century the bustle which rules all around the basilica in Guadalupe. He wrote - and in it nothing has changed till this day:

"Today if the tourist enters the always congested basilica, he has been surprised in the highest measure at the beauty of the picture of Guadalupe on top about the high altar. I can remember the tender beets of the Mexicans, like they, on the knees recumbent which in flowers crowded around wrapped high altar. I also saw that most Mexicans proceeded in the being quite wrong sacrament chapel. The visitor cannot be impressed differently than by the great high altar in this chapel and many side altars. I could hardly come in this chapel where all quarter of an hour the holy communion was donated (...)

From all sides Mexican pilgrims on the knees above the floor slided to the sacrament altar. There - often with stretched out arms - they tipped out to the eucharistischen king her heart. Grapes of small children hung on a praying Mexican mother who did not turn her look from the holy host. Other Mexicans brought fully of arm flowers and put them on the communion bank. Again others left commemorative tables in recognition of a healing which they had attained by prayers to man in the holy of holies altar sacrament (...)"

It is a deeply spiritual atmosphere inside of the basilica. On the benches old and young people, men and women, monks and nuns, dirty South American Indians sit beside apparently rich Mexicans and whole travel groups and school classes. Quietly the basilica resounds with the murmured prayers of the visitors again.

The phenomena of the Mother of God in December, 1531 and, in the end, the real miracle of Guadalupe - the picture of Maria on the Tilma - wrote world history. The hostilely Aztecs living side by side and the Spanish conquerors fought, and the people of the Aztecs would have disappeared in spite of her numerical superiority with certainty in the sinking of the history. If the miracle of Maria had not happened there! Spaniard and Mexican natives fraternized and mixed to new people. And as a token of this event remained up to the today in Guadalupe in a long-term exhibit Tilma to be admired - an academically not explicatory miracle.

Certainly many of the pilgrims have exactly these events and facts in the back of the head if they visit Guadalupe. They have belonged at least already once of the fact that the Tilma were academically examined over and over again and, besides, more questions than answers appeared. Certainly they have belonged of the Marien's phenomena on the Tepeyac and certainly also of the fact that the Marien's picture suddenly appeared on Diegos poncho.

However, have the millions of the pilgrims who visit year after year Guadalupe also dealt more intensely with the scientific fact position and, above all, with the questions all around the Tilma? We want to do this in the following.

Lars A. Fischinger
Nicht von Menschenhand
Das Wunder von Guadalupe und seine Geschichte / Rätsel um den größten Wallfahrtsorte der Erde und andere Reliquien
Silberschnur Verlag 2007, 288 S., ca. 60 Fotos & Abb.,  geb., ISBN 3898451747, 17,90 Euro