Highly spiritual – The Black Forest was often a harsh and difficult living environment for its former inhabitants. There was no insurance in the event of illness, fire, poor harvests, or other turns of fate. Help and salvation was sought through the belief in the living God and the intercessions of the saints. Henceforth, chapels were built in the districts and hamlets far from the parish churches in the village. They are “small churches without their own clergy”. It was in these chapels that people once sought hope and assurance in times of need.
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St. Cyriac was ordained as a deacon in Rome around 300. He became a martyr in the year 305 under Emperor Maximilian. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Legend has it that a shepherd named Herman Leicht saw fourteen shapes by the Cistercian monastery in Langheim in 1445. They were henceforth known as the Holy Helpers.
The chapel was built by miners looking for ore in the area after the Thirty Years’ War in 1655. One of its special features is the exterior pulpit in front of which the sermons for the pilgrims were held.
Numerous votive tablets (now in the vicarage in Grafenhausen) commend the prayers that were heard. There used to be a very popular prayer service by the pilgrims in honour of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Nowadays hundreds of pilgrims arrive for the sermon and vehicle consecration (with tractors, cars, motorbikes, and horse-drawn carriages) on the feast of St. Cyriac which always takes place on the first Saturday in August.
In many regions he is honoured as the patron saint of winemakers. The feast day of Cyriac is on 8 August.