Altötting is a town in Bavaria, capital of the district Altötting. For 500 years it has been the scene of religious pilgrimages by Catholics in honor of Mary including a visit by Pope John Paul II in 1980.
This small town is famous for the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of Grace), one of the most-visited shrines in Germany. This is a tiny octagonal chapel which keeps a venerated statue of the Virgin Mary. According to the legend, in 1489, a 3-year-old local boy who had drowned in the river was revived when his grieving mother placed him in front of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary at the high altar. News of the miracle quickly spread, and the chapel was immediately extended by the erection of a nave and a covered walkway.
The tradition of Bavaria calls for the heart of the deceased king to be placed in an urn and kept at the chapel at Altötting. The heart of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the builder of Neuschwanstein castle lies in this chapel, along with that of his grandfathers and father.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting, also known as the Chapel of Grace (German: Gnadenkappelle), is the national shrine of Bavariadedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is known for the many healings which are said to have taken place there, and is commonly called theLourdes of Germany.
The octagonal chapel which houses the image of Our Lady dates to about A.D. 660, and is the oldest Marian shrine in Germany. The image of Mary venerated there is a Black Madonna of great antiquity (possibly about 1330), carved from lindenwood. The shrine became a popular pilgrim destination when it became known for the miraculous recovery in 1489 of a young boy who had been drowned, after his mother laid his body before the image and prayed to the Blessed Mother for a miracle.
Take a look through our photos of Altötting here