The beatified Schetzelo- hermit in the Grünewald


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In the inte­ri­or, 2 stat­ues were installed in mem­o­ry of Schet­ze­lo (right) and Archadus (left). Their solemn bless­ing by bish­op J. Hen­gen hap­pened in August 1970.

The beat­i­fied Schet­ze­lo, also called Schet­zel, was a her­mit, who lived in the Grünewald in the 12th cen­tu­ry, where he spent a very iso­lat­ed life, prob­a­bly from 1124 until his death on the 11th of August 1138 or 1139 (the exact year of his death is uncertain).

The beat­i­fied Schet­ze­lo was prob­a­bly a Cis­ter­cian monk, who came from the Orval monastery. He was a her­mit, a man who delib­er­ate­ly chose to spend his life in iso­la­tion and Spar­tan repen­tance, in order to be clos­er to the Lord.

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Old farm house in Hostert, where the her­mit was offered bread, accord­ing to the legend.

He was a pre­cious advis­er to many per­sons and slept in a grot­to on the floor. He took the for­est plants for nour­ish­ing him­self and drank the water of the White Ernz, called “Schet­zel­bour”, which sources at about 200m from the grot­to. Some­times in the last 4 years of his life, dur­ing the hard win­ter­time, Schet­ze­lo left his cave to spend the night in the yard of a neigh­bour farm, where he slept on straw and had a piece of bread offered. Before the dawn how­ev­er he returned to his cave to regain his solitude.

The only writ­ten doc­u­ment that proves the exis­tence of Schet­ze­lo, is the report of the Archadus of Clairveaux, telling that he met the her­mit. His report was writ­ten down by Broth­er Her­ber­tus. All the oth­er sto­ries seem to be legends.

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Every year at the sec­ond Sun­day in August, there is a com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice for the her­mit called “Schet­zelfeir” in the for­est, which is blessed at the same occasion.

Schet­ze­lo died in the same way as he lived: in soli­tude. At his funer­al the monks and the locals came in mass­es to bury him at the entrance of his grot­to, where they erect­ed a wood­en chapel. In 1150, his corpse was trans­ferred to the Bene­dict Abbey of Alt­mün­ster where he was buried in a sil­ver cof­fin just in front of the high altar of the abbey church. His relics were high­ly ven­er­at­ed until the abbey’s destruc­tion in 1543. Appar­ent­ly many mir­a­cles hap­pened at his tomb and until today his last gravesite has nev­er been located.

HR_01_NZ-(5)Fres­co in the church of Hostert, unfor­tu­nate­ly plas­tered by ren­o­vat­ing the church in 1972/73. Archardus offers a coat or a monk frock to Schet­ze­lo, the her­mit who prob­a­bly was a monk and in con­tact with the monastery.

The Schetzelo grotto

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Exte­ri­or view and hor­i­zon­tal scheme of the Schet­ze­lo grot­to. Print of the nation­al archi­tect Charles Arendt (1860).

The grot­to, carved into the Lux­em­bourg Sand­stone lay­er, where the beat­i­fied her­mit Schet­ze­lo lived, is called Schet­ze­lo grot­to or “Eremitage” and had devel­oped nat­u­ral­ly but had been arti­fi­cial­ly enlarged lat­er on. With approx­i­mate­ly 3m width, 2.50m depth and 2.50 m height, the grot­to pro­tect­ed the her­mit against the ele­ments. The grot­to, which was entombed over many years, had been reopened in the 19th cen­tu­ry by the priest J. Klein of Weimerskirch.