Friday, April 16, 2010


The remains of the Temple of Mercury at the Heiligenberg. Photo from Google.

I suppose it shouldn't surprise me exactly, but I was still shocked to learn yesterday from a friend about the number of Christian churches which were built directly on top of pagan sites of worship. One key example is the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, which literally means the Saint Mary church over Minerva since the site was devoted to the Roman goddess Minerva and, some suggest, Isis in still earlier times. There are examples throughout Europe and Martin of Tours even went so far as to destroy sacred trees. The victors write history, I suppose. Or, at least, they used to.

This brings to mind the site of the Heiligenberg in Heidelberg, Germany, which we had the pleasure of visiting with our good friends Bodecea and WirrLicht in 2006. Meaning essentially Sacred Mountain, it has seen much construction and reconstruction over the centuries as various faiths have had supersedence. Bodecea talks about it at -

Oh, for some tolerance, without this need to destroy, grab and claim.


  1. It always saddens and yes, offends me when I think about all this sacred pagan sites which had been overbuilt with Christian Churches, chapels or other.

    Legend says that the Saint Bonifatius the missionary who christianized the Germans cut down their holy oak tree and then said, "See the proof, none of your Gods hindered me" - and then the Tribes accepted conversion.

    They should have taken a bible, piss on it and say: "See, your God doesn't hinder me neither, so beat it!"

  2. Ha-ha! I love it! It astounds me that not only were churches built on site sacred to others but that there were people - St Bonifatius, Martin of Tours - who actively attacked sacred sites - cutting down trees, smashing up statues. Such cruelty!