August 12, 2012. (Romereports.com)
Between St. Peter's Basilica and the Paul VI Audience Hall, someone may pass between the areas high walls without realizing that this is the Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery
. In ancient times, the area served as the circus of Nero which is where many Christians were martyred.HANS-PETER FISCHER
Confraternity of Our Lady of the Teutonic Cemetery“It's foundation is historic, from the time of Charlemagne. It was about the year 799, now over a thousand years ago.”
The cemetary holds personalities like the painter Josef Anton Koch and the writer Stefan Andrei. The privilege of being buried here is reserved for members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the German Cemetery
, which includes members of religious houses of German origin and residents of German residences in Rome such as the Santa Maria del Anima.
Benedict XVI is the most well known member of the Confraternity.HANS-PETER FISCHER
Confraternity of Our Lady of the Teutonic Cemetery“Yes, he is a member, and before he was elected Pope, he celebrated Mass every morning at 7 am with our community. After Mass, there would be many people, especially from his land of Bavaria, that wanted to meet his eminence, Cardinal Ratzinger.”
Surrounding the cemetery is the residence of the Confraternity and its library that contains around 50,000 volumes of text.
But the cemetery is not the only place of burial for this community. Inside the church of Our Lady in the German Cemetery of a Swiss chapel are the tombs of many men from the Swiss Guards who died during the Sack of Rome in 1527.HANS-PETER FISCHER
Confraternity of Our Lady of the Teutonic Cemetery“This place is very important to the pilgrims to be below the shadow of St. Peter's Basilica, near the tomb of the apostle. You could say that we are proud to have this privilege of being so near the tomb of St. Peter.”
The Teutonic Cemetery is a place of pilgrimage for many German-speaking pilgrims that travel to Rome. The area now serves as a reminder for many of the Germanic people of their long history with the Holy See.