Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Father, Son and Holy Ghost

We're in the Sunday School room.
Little Tommy: Miss.
Miss SS Teacher: Yes, Tommy?
L.T.: We have God the Father. He created us.
Miss SS: Yes, Tommy.
L.T.: And then there is Jesus, the Son. He loves us.
Miss SS: That's right, Tommy.
L.T. : What do the holy goats do?

Which takes me back to Sopron and a church there with a most unusual name. The locals call it The Goats' Church. Yes, you heard me correctly. Not The Church of The Holy Ghost. The Goats' Church! I don't believe goatherds are particularly noticeable in the district. I didn't see any goat either. A curious name.

Legend has it that the original Franciscan church was built using a cache of buried treasure that a herd of goats had unearthed in the nearby forest. It seems that there were goats in the area at some time in the past.

More likely is the version of the origin of the name suggested by the coat of arms of an earlier benefactor of the church. In an act of penance Heinrich Gaissel bequeathed his legitimate fortune to the Franciscan monks who then used it in the construction of the church. Herr Gaissel's coat of arms contains the image of a goat.
Whatever the origin of the name, the main square in Sopron has been left with a remarkable landmark. The interior is something too, as suggested by the pulpit pictured below.

But back to the Sunday School room where Miss SS Teacher is relating the story of Lot and his wife leaving behind the wickedness in Sodom City.
“It got so bad,” she said, “that Lot had to take his wife and flee from the city. But his wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.”
“Oh dear!” exclaimed little Tommy, “and what happened to the flea?”

No comments: