Munich Greeter

Legendary places: The invisible giant

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20140621_124600Some things are so high up, they are almost invisible. Such as the portrait of the holy giant Saint Onuphrius in the facade of the house number 17 on the Marienplatz (where the bakery Rischart is). If one walks past without looking up, the giant´s picture remains invisible.
The picture of the saint was first put up by a certain Heinrich Pirmat as a gift to the gods for returning in good shape from a pilgrim’s journey to the Holy Land. Ever since, every building which stood on the ground of Heinrich Pirmat´s property, carries the picture of St. Onuphrius on the the façade. According to the legend no one who looks at the picture will die a sudden death the same day.

But who was Saint Onuphrius?
Onuphrius (born around 320 in Ethiopia, died approx. 400) came from presumably royal family, and according to legend was kicked out of the house by his father. After a time in a monastery, he went to live as a hermit in the Egyptian desert for another 70 years. The connection with Munich consisted first through the legendary city founder Henry the Lion (1129-1195) who chose Onuphrius as his patron saint and is said to have brought the brain pan of the saint as a relic to Munich from his crusades. In Munich, it was kept in the chapel Saint Laurenz near the old Royal court yard. However, after the demolition of the chapel in 1816, the trace of the relic was lost in the dark. By the way, apart from being Henry´s patron saint, Onuphrius is until today the patron saint of weavers, prostitutes, hermaphrodites and anyone sexually harassed.

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