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The Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers
- a church of pilgrimage - the culmination of German rococo church architecture

The baroque Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is one of the most famous pilgrimage churches in Upper Franconia. It lies directly on the St. James' Pilgrimage Way on the upper Main between Lichtenfels and Bad Staffelstein in a region known as "God's Garden". Built according to Balthasar Neumann's designs, the church is dedicated to the Fourteen Holy Helpers and attracts around 500,000 visitors a year.
Construction of the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers was completed in 1772. Considered an architectural marvel, even from the outside the building is an impressive sight. But it is the interior which is truly awe-inspiring. Embellished with gold, marble, pictures, sculptures, decorations and wall paintings, the work of Balthasar Neumann, stucco sculptor Johann Michael Feuchtmayr and painter Giuseppe Appiani defies descriptions and needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
It is ingenious how the central space appears circular within the oblong structure. The free-standing rococo altar with its representations of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is surrounded by heart-shaped altar rails, where communicants receive Holy Communion. The lower part of the altar is decorated in stucco marble, while a magnificent vaulted canopy permits views of the high altar, where four Holy Helpers are set on each of the three levels, with a further two on the side altars.
From the 15th century until the present day pilgrims have journeyed to the basilica at the foot of Staffelberg hill, one of the country's best-known pilgrimage sites, to ask for the protection of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. It is claimed that in 1445 and 1446, the Christ Child appeared three times to a local shepherd called Hermann Leicht. A maid who was seriously ill was brought to the site of the appearance and was miraculously cured. Soon afterwards, the faithful began to arrive on pilgrimages. The Cistercian abbey at Langenheim responded by building a chapel to honour the Fourteen Holy Helpers. As a result, the number of devout pilgrims flocking to the site continued to grow. In the Catholic Church, the Fourteen Holy Helpers are usually thought to be early Christians from the 2nd to 4th centuries. The group, known as the Regensburg series, consists of three female and eleven male figures, all but one of whom were martyrs. There are, however, regional variations on the series. The Fourteen Holy Helpers consist of three bishops (Denis, Blaise and Erasmus), three knights (George, Eustace and Achatius), three female martyrs (Catherine, Barbara and Margaret), one medical doctor (Pantaleon) one deacon (Cyriac), one monk (Giles), a young boy (Vitus) and Saint Christopher the Christ Bearer. A multimedia centre in the Franciscan monastery provides visitors with information on the basilica, pilgrimages, the Franciscan order, religious faith and the Church. Open daily. Guided tours available on request.



A73, train station