THE CRYPTS of Quintinus and the Widow Albana lie beneath the the parish cemetery adjacent to the Abbey Church.  St. Matthias is located on the site of a Roman necropolis, one of the ancient cemeteries of Trier, just outside the Roman city walls, and it has been estimated that between 4000 and 5000 stone sarcophagi lie buried in layers beneath the abbey and its lands.  Many of these have been unearthed during building projects over the centuries, and now serve as decorative features in the monastic gardens.

THE CHURCH of St. Maternus, which was once adjacent to the present Abbey Church, no longer exists, except as foundations beneath cemetery paving stones.  It once housed the relics of St. Maternus, the third of the three legendary founders of Trier.  His relics were transferred to the Cathedral of Trier during the early middle ages. The sarcophagi of the other two founders, Saints Eucharius and Valerius, are now located in the Crypt of St. Matthias in the Abbey Church; however, they were once probably kept in the Crypt of the Widow Albana, immediately below (and perhaps somewhat accessible from) the Chapel of St. Quirinus.


QUIRINUS CHAPEL,
Visible Through the Arched Entrance to the Cemetery

SITE of the ANCIENT CHURCH of SAINT MATERNUS


QURINUS CHAPEL and ENTRANCE to the
CRYPT of the WIDOW ALBANA

CRYPT of  ST. QUINTINUS


THE crypt and sarcophagus of the Widow Albana are possible links to third-century Christianity in Trier.  The crypt once contained, as well, the sarcophagi of Saints Eucharius and Valerius, now relocated to the Matthias Crypt in the Abbey Church; and it was used as a monastic ossuary during the middle ages.  According to legend, St. Eucharius once took refuge with Albana, a wealthy Christian widow in Trier during the late third century.  Certain features of the crypt appear to support this tradition.

THE sarcophagus contains the remains of man and a woman; and modern forensic evidence indicates that they were of different races and that the man died first.  Carvings on the lid of the sarcophagus depict: (1) a wedding celebration; (2) a man riding a horse, and two images of the couple, (3) one in which the man appears to be deceased, and (4) another in which both seem to have died.  The cruciform shape of the sarcophagus-lid does not in itself indicate Christian provenance, as it is simply a function of the four carvings on the lid. However its location in a site revered by Christians since antiquity and once containing the relics of two sainted bishop-founders, is highly suggestive of a prominent member of the Christian community.


ENTRANCE to the CRYPT of the WIDOW ALBANA

ALBANA-SARCOPHAGUS


WEDDING CELEBRATION - HEAD of SARCOPHAGUS
(A man and a woman hold hands over a festal table)


SARCOPHAGUS - RIGHT SIDE

 


WIFE and HUSBAND
(only she is clothed - suggesting he is dead)

MAN RIDING HORSE (foot of sarcophagus)

 


SARCOPHAGUS - LEFT SIDE


A LARGE hole in the ceiling of the Albana Crypt communicates with the floor of the Quirinus Chapel, immediately above.  Previously the sarcophagi of the two founders, Saints Eucharius and Valerius, were located where the sarcophagus of Albana currently rests.  It seems likely that the hole in the floor of the chapel above enabled the faithful to see and lower objects onto the sarcophagi/reliquaries, which objects could then be venerated as third-class relics.


 

WIFE and HUSBAND
(neither is clothed - suggesting both have died)

CIRCULAR HOLE above SARCOPHAGUS
(communicates with floor of Quirinus Chapel)

 


 

QUIRINUS CHAPEL (exterior)

QUIRINUS CHAPEL (interior)


 

QUIRINUS CHAPEL ALTAR

QUIRINUS CHAPEL REREDOS


THE HOLY CROSS CHAPEL and RELIQUARY


THE HOLY CROSS CHAPEL and RELIQUARY


VISIBLE in outline through a window above the Gnadenbild Marian shrine is a reliquary suspended from the ceiling of the Holy Cross Chapel. The elaborate gilded Reliquary of the Holy Cross is the work of Trier goldsmiths in 1243.  In it are pieces of the Holy Cross obtained by the knight Sir Heinrich von Ulmen in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.  A smaller cruciform reliquary within the larger frame may be removed for blessings on major feasts.


HOLY CROSS RELIQUARY
(visible in outline in the window above the Marian shrine)

HOLY CROSS RELIQUARY and CHAPEL
(and Br. Eucharius, expert guide and craftsman)


 

HOLY CROSS CHAPEL and  RELIQUARY

HOLY CROSS RELIQUARY


 

HOLY CROSS RELIQUARY

CAMEO of  ROMAN EMPEROR TIBERIUS


 

HOLY CROSS RELIQUARY
(Reverse Side - Gilded Depiction of Christ, Evangelists, and Saints)


The Abbey Church, Exterior and Interior


The Crypt of Saints Matthias and Images of Saints in the Abbey Church


The Monastery Cloister and Associated Rooms


xcxxcxxc  F This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2014....x....   .