St. Rochus’ Chapel

Goethe visited the Rochusberg Hill back in 1814 for the annual St. Rochus pilgrimage.

Amsterdam in 1663: the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in the city. Bingen in 1666: the plague spread from the Netherlands via the European shipping routes or via Frankfurt, the trade-fair city. 1,300 people perished. Moved by the plight of the needy, one of Bingen’s councillors, Baron Frey von Dheren, on behalf of the municipal authorities, promised to build a chapel to honour Saint Rochus, which was consecrated on the Rochusberg Hill in 1677. From then on, the place of worship had a truly turbulent time: in 1689, the chapel was plundered by French troops, before being expanded anew in 1698. In 1795, it went up in flames during a battle between French revolutionary forces and German soldiers, and remained a ruin. But people remembered revering St. Rochus in the past, and the chapel was rebuilt. On 16 August 1814, St. Rochus’ Day was celebrated again, with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe among the guests. In 1889, the chapel was struck by lightning just before some elaborate restoration work had been completed. The fire again destroyed everything apart from the walls. On the foundations of the former Baroque building, a triple-nave, late-Gothic church was built with an exterior chancel. This is as we know it today. The chapel was consecrated on the eve of St. Rochus’ Festival in 1895.