memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

The Three Kings 1

While I was still a child my family moved to Cologne in West Germany where they stayed for several years.

There is a legend that the final resting place of The Three Kings is in the cathedral of Cologne.


The Shrine of the Three Kings (Dreikönigsschrein) is a reliquary said to contain the bones of the Biblical Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men – Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. The shrine is a large gilded and decorated triple sarcophagus placed above and behind the high altar of Cologne Cathedral. It is considered the high point of Mosan art and the largest reliquary in the western world.

Cologne Cathedral had been preserved during the horrific bombing-raid in 1944 (the first 1000-bombers raid in history), not necessarily by Divine Intervention but rather as a landmark for the allied pilots, (Americans by day and British by night, or the other way round)

The pathfinder squadrons would drop sticks of phosphorous bombs to light the way in

Splashing on peoples’ skins

Burning them,

Burning them.

In the runnels of the medieval city

The air caught fire.

The ruined city

(Unreal city)

Rose again after the war like a phoenix from the flames.

(Historically speaking, we are all complicit in this act against Humanity).

Anyhow, the past is another country, they do things differently there.

(To be continued)

Comments on: "The Three Kings 1" (2)

  1. This is an interesting story and some cathedral!!

    I look forward to reading more



  2. For many years I had longed to visit Cologne Cathedral.
    Finally, I was in Cologne, arriving from Dusseldorf where I was working thanks to a colleague in Xerox Germany who paid my expenses to stay there for a month.

    I came out of the Railway station and I confess I was disappointed. In the overcast sky it seemed like a Gothic monstrosity. Maybe one day I’ll return and be better able to appreciate it.

    Cologne was interesting however. People sitting by the river Rhine, a friendly bar – the venue for one of the city’s Go (weiqi/baduk) clubs, and a park with people making music, throwing Frizbees or just relaxing.

    Richard – St Edmund’s College 1959 (St Hughs) – 1966


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