April 17, 2014

A Proud Knight

It was Holy Thursday, 1384 in the Tyrolean village of Seefeld, in western Austria. Oswald Milser was a knight, the guardian of Schlossberg Castle north of the village. The castle was situated in a mountain pass and provided protection to the village. Due to the importance of his position, Milser thought that he deserved particular respect, as revealed by the following account contained in the Golden Chronicle of Hohenschwangau:

“’Oswald Milser came down with his followers to the parish church of Seefeld. He demanded—and a refusal could mean death—the large Host; the small one he regarded as too ordinary for him. He surrounded the frightened priest and the congregation with his armed men. At the end of the Mass, Milser, his sword drawn and his head covered, came to the left of the high altar, where he remained standing (rather than kneeling as was the custom at that time). The stunned priest handed him the Host, upon which the ground under the blasphemer suddenly gave way. He sank up to his knees. Deathly pale, he grasped the altar with both hands.”*

He then asked the priest to remove the Host from his mouth. The priest did so and the ground once again became firm.The Host itself was red, as though it had bled.The Host is still preserved, to this day, in an monstrance located in the south wall of the church.

Following the event, Milser hurried to the monastery of Stams, confessed his prideful actions and offered penance. He remained devout until his death several years later.


Protective grate over the hole in floor
of the parish church in Seefeld, Austria

The original church was replaced with a larger one built on the same site. The stone altar present in 1384 has been retained, and is still available for viewing. The church remains a popular pilgrimmage destination today.

(*Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 141.)


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