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Rose at Cathedral

The Show Must Go On

Why are these people looking up at this climbing rose as if it’s on stage and going to put on a performance? Because that’s what this rose does. It’s been putting on quite a show for over one thousand years. The Rose of Hildesheim, as it is called, is the oldest living rose, but more than that, it is a survivor extraordinaire. 

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany provides the backdrop for this hardy rose. In March of 1945, near the end of World War II, the cathedral was bombed to smithereens. The resulting fire left only smoldering rubble. The townspeople knew they could rebuild the cathedral, but mourned the rose that had lived in their village since before the church was built in 872.

The rose had survived innumerable storms, years of drought, and sub-zero winters over the centuries, no doubt. War was just another difficulty to get through as far as the rose was concerned. A mere eight weeks after the bombing, residents of the town were shocked to see that the rose was sending up shoots right through the rubble! And not just one or two spindly survivors, but an army of twenty-five sturdy sprouts. To survive is one thing. To thrive is another. But to triumph is the greatest of all.

For more on the legend of this rose and how the cathedral came to be intertwined with its story, you can read about it at the UNESCO World Heritage website: 


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Cover photo by Kathleen Franks

Background image by Getty Images

© 2014 - 2017 Kathleen Franks