High above the city of Oberstein, above the church, stands the ruin of what was once the seat of the Lords of Oberstein.  In the middle of the 14th century, two brothers lived there: Wyrich, the oldest, and young Emich.  Unbeknownst to each other, they both loved the beautiful maiden Bertha, a Lady of Castle Lichtenburg (not too far away from Oberstein).  She, in turn, had lost her heart to Emich (and vice versa) and consented to become his wife.  Wyrich was absent from the castle as the engagement took place.  Learning of this upon his return, he felt betrayed and being quite hot-tempered, he attacked his brother and threw him out of a window; the young man plummeted to his death on the rocks some 450 feet below (death by defenestration!).

When he realised what he had done, Wyrich was overcome with remorse and fled the castle, travelling for long years, in vain seeking his own death in battle until one day he decided to return home.  Bertha had died in the meantime ... presumably of a broken heart.  At her grave- side, Wyrich confessed his horrible deed to the abbot.  For a penance, this abbot bade him to build a chapel on the place where his brother's broken body had been found, build it with his own two hands.  Wyrich went to work like a man possessed, all the time praying that he might find forgiveness.

When this labour was completed, it was taken as a sign that his penance was complete also, his sin forgiven, as a spring opened up within the chapel (a spring which remains active today).

Wyrich himself died at the steps of the altar as the chapel was being consecrated.  He was buried in the same tomb that he had hewn out of the hard rock for Emich -- the two brothers united, at last, in death
The Coat of Arms of the City of Oberstein
The Legend of
The Church in the Rocks
All that remains today of "Castle Bosselstein" as the home of Wyrich and Emich was once known.  It was errected around 1196.
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If you came here from the Tales and Legends page, see table below
for a tour of Oberstein with pictures of the Church in the Rocks
The Spring inside the
Church in the Rocks
Oberstein, Idar-Oberstein, Felsenkirche, Church in the Rocks
Entrance Page
(Gems & Jewelry), Museums
An Oberstein Original and the Danger Zone The Legend of the Church in the Rocks
Autumn Memories A Family Picture Album Dedication to My Mother Guestbook
A Sweet German Tradition: The "Schultuete" A German Christmas Remembered The Brandenbug Gate, Midnight, 12/31/99 to 01/01/00 HOME