The Headless Saint?

I had the privilege to be in Bamberg, Germany this past summer. And as things go when, you are in old European cities, we went into one of the two large cathedrals in town.

And I saw something I just could not figure out…

There was a lot of art on display… much of it very old carvings and statues. I have always been fascinated with the beauty and skill involved in stone carving. So when I see something that would have taken months to create I pay attention to the details. It’s a kind of respect for the unknown artisans whose work is on display, but their names have been lost to time.

So when I saw this statue standing behind a pillar on the side of the alter area…I was interested.


I was taking photos of the sculptures…I looked up to see this priest standing there…. with his head in his hands!   No explanation, no name, no one looking at it but me. (except Claire, after I drug her over to it saying “girl, you ain’t going to believe what I found).

When I returned home I started researching it and found out that the depiction of a saint holding his own head is a common thing in art. Some still have the halo still on them.

And it has a name! Cephalophore. From two Greek words meaning Head – Carrier. Apparently some saints were said to have been beheaded and then got up and picked up their head and walked around … some for quite awhile.

Enough history.

Some unknown 14the century carver spent a lot of his time carving that saint’s statue. And it is wonderfully done.

It is just seemed a little unusual to see something like that in church…

Check it out for yourself. It’s in the Bamberg Cathedral and well worth the trip!


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