Fourteen helpers

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Altar of the 14 Holy Helpers from 1498 in the minster of the former
Heilsbronn monastery : mystical marriage of St. Catherine with Christ. In front right St. Barbara kneeling , in the second row (from left to right) St. Margaret , Cyriacus , Pope Sixtus, Erasmus.
Painting of the 14 emergency helpers depicting Dobl Castle

The fourteen helpers in need are fourteen saints from the second through fourth centuries. According to the so-called Regensburg normal series, the group consists of three female and eleven male saints, all of whom died as martyrs with the exception of St. Giles . There are regional variants that differ from this. In the Catholic Church , the helpers in need are invoked in prayer as patron saints . In the Protestant Church they are generally regarded as role models in faith.

Origin and Distribution

The emergence of the special group of fourteen helpers in need, in which a fixed sequence developed - regionally different - can be seen in the late Middle Ages in the dioceses of Regensburg , Bamberg and Würzburg as well as in Nuremberg . For example, early prayers from Regensburg monasteries and the Regensburg area as well as images from monastery churches confirm the beginnings of the group of saints. Representations of Saints Oswald and Leonhard on windows from 1360 in Regensburg Cathedral indicate the early veneration of the helpers in the region in an as yet undetermined order. The fact that they are mainly saints from the Greco-Byzantine region is explained by the city's early cultural contacts with Southeastern Europe. (cf. The fourteen helpers in works of art ) From there, the worship of the needles spread throughout the German-speaking area and beyond in Sweden , Hungary and Italy . Around 800 churches were consecrated to the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the late Middle Ages, some of which were called upon as such in prayer and mentioned in sermons as early as 1300 . Around 1400 the emergency helpers appeared in a closed line.

Together with the helpers in need , the Mother of God is often mentioned in her capacity as queen of martyrs and help of Christians - for example in patronage .

List of fourteen emergency workers

First aiders Jurisdiction Remarks
01 Achatius Help with fear of death Leader of the ten thousand martyrs who were crucified for their beliefs on Mount Ararat under Emperor Hadrian (117-138).
02 Aegidius Helpers with confession and nursing mothers The only non-martyr
founder of the Benedictine monastery of St. Giles (French: Saint Gilles ) in Provence.
03 Barbara a Patroness of the dying, helper against the risk of lightning and fire, patroness of miners, geologists, artillerymen , foundries, smelters, architects, bell-ringers, bell-makers, blacksmiths, bricklayers, stonecutters, carpenters, roofers, electricians, ordnance disposal specialists, pyrotechnicians and fireworkers, firefighters, helpers of the technical relief organization (THW). She is also the patroness of the gravedigger, hatter, maiden and prisoner According to tradition, locked in a tower, a mistreated and beheaded.
04th Blasius Helper with sore throats, ulcers, plague , for a good confession, protector of cattle, and patron of numerous crafts. Bishop of Sebaste (Armenia, today Sivas / Turkey), suffered martyrdom around 316 by beheading.
05 Christophorus Christ bearers, helpers against unprepared death, rescue from any danger, patron saint of travelers, against epilepsy , storms, famine, thunderstorms and hailstorms, plague, toothache, bad dreams. Patron saint of archers, motorists, seafarers, raftsmen, truck, bus and taxi drivers, bookbinders, bleachers, porters and the fruit and vegetable sellers In 452 a church (Martyrion) was consecrated to St. Christopher in Chalcedon.
06th Cyriacus Helpers in the hour of death against challenges Deacon, † around 305 as a martyr during the persecution of Christians in Rome .
07th Dionysius Helper with headaches , rabies , bad conscience and mental ailments Came to Gaul from Rome as a missionary in the 3rd century . The Roman governor ordered his beheading. In 626 the Frankish King Dagobert I built an abbey named after him with the Saint-Denis cathedral , which served as a burial place for the French kings.
08th Erasmus Helper with abdominal pain, cramps, colic, abdominal complaints and stomach diseases; he is called upon in the case of births and diseases of domestic animals Survived his first torture under Diocletian , left his diocese and worked in Campania , † around 305 in Formia (Campania).
09 Eustachius Helper in difficult life situations and in bereavement, (original) patron saint of hunters Army master under Emperor Trajan (53–117), executed around 120/130 under Emperor Hadrian for his belief.
10 George Helper with threats of war, fever, plague and other things, against temptation and for good weather, and overall protector of domestic animals Roman officer who was beheaded as a Christian martyr in the early 4th century. One branch of tradition understands him as a dragon fighter.
11 Katharina a Protector of girls, virgins and wives, also a helper in case of ailments of the tongue and language difficulties, and patroness of scholars as well as numerous craft trades The core of the original Greek version of the Catherine legend is the martyrdom under Emperor Maxentius following a theological dispute. Because the wheel on which she was to be wheeled broke, she was beheaded with the sword. a
12 Margareta a Patroness of labor and all wounds Beheaded around 305 under Diocletian; in church painting often depicted with a dragon as a symbol of the devil she has overcome. a
13 Pantaleon Patron of doctors and midwives Doctor of Emperor Maximian , † around 305 AD during Diocletian's persecution of Christians.
14th Vitus (Veit) Helps with cramps, epilepsy , rabies , St. Vitus's dance (Huntington's disease), bed-wetting and snakebite

Patron of pharmacists, innkeepers, beer brewers, winemakers, coppersmiths, dancers and actors

† as a martyr. Around 305 AD 1355 his head was transferred to St. Vitus Cathedral (Prague).
aThere is a memory verse for the three helpers in need : Barbara with the tower, Margareta with the worm, Katharina with the bike - these are the three holy girls (according to their attributes ).

Classification of first aiders

Painting of the 14 helpers in the parish church of St. Margaretha in Bruttig
14 Helpers in need, painting from the Am Guten Mann chapel in Mülheim-Kärlich , probably 16th century
three bishops and martyrs : DionysiusErasmusBlasius
three virgins and martyrs: BarbaraMargaretaKatharina
three knights and martyrs: GeorgeAchatiusEustachius
a doctor and martyr: Pantaleon
a monk : Aegidius
a deacon and martyr: Cyriacus
a boy and a martyr: Vitus
a Christ child carrier and martyr: Christophorus

More helpers

Depending on the region, some of the eleven male emergency helpers are also replaced by other saints:

In addition, one sometimes counts the four holy marshals , these are the church father Antonius the Great , Bishop Hubertus von Lüttich, Pope Cornelius and Quirinus von Neuss , among the helpers in need.

In the Basilica Vierzehnheiligen there are memorial verses in which, in addition to the fourteen well-known helpers in need, other saints are listed who can be called upon in various emergencies:

  • St. Apollonia through your great torment, You want to free us from toothache.
  • St. Adelgundis protect us from fever, cancer and death.
  • Let us call St. Rochus to protect us from illness.
  • St. Leonard, your virtue great, free us from ribbon and chains.
  • St. Apollinaris torture great, from falling plague set us free.
  • St. Hubertus your strength is known, keep us senses and reason.
  • St. Quirin blooming with Glori, protecting us from open damage.
  • St. Nicholas the holy man who can help on land and water.
  • St. Quintin bright virtue shine, you want to turn our headache away.
  • St. Swibert with his crosier, averts great evil from us.
  • St. Libori pour your prayer to us, grind the stone away the semolina.
  • St. Domician, the woe of the loins, by your petition turn away from us.
  • St. Anton pious hermit, be our mediator for bad fire.
  • St. Sebastian with your arrow, we sick people safe from pestilence.
  • St. Brigida let us recover from wounds, leprosy and evil beings.
  • St. Magdalena saves us from great distress, save us from sudden death.

In Franconia, St. Anne is invoked against storms:

  • Holy St. Anna, send thunderstorm vo'danna (Franconian: from then).

Churches with the patronage of the fourteen helpers in need

The Vierzehnheiligen basilica near Bad Staffelstein

Churches with the patronage of all fourteen emergency helpers are or were, for example:

  • the pilgrimage church of Maria, the queen of the martyrs and the fourteen holy helpers in need in Haßlach (near Teuschnitz) . The pilgrimage church celebrated its 275th consecration day in 2003 .
  • the fourteen saints basilica . The famous baroque basilica and pilgrimage church near Bad Staffelstein was planned by Balthasar Neumann for the Langheim monastery in 1742 , and he also directed its construction. A pilgrimage chapel was built in its place shortly after 1445. According to legend, the fourteen helpers with the baby Jesus appeared to a shepherd that year and demanded that a church be built for them.
  • the former Kahlehöhenkirche in Reichstädt, a district of Dippoldiswalde , 25 kilometers south of Dresden in the Saxon Eastern Ore Mountains. The church is an example of the widespread worship of the Holy Helper in the German- speaking world. It was built in the Middle Ages and demolished in 1872. Before the Reformation, the Kahlehöhenkirche was known throughout Saxony as the Church of the Holy Helper .
  • the former branch church of the fourteen Holy Helpers in Rengen . The pilgrimage chapel has been in existence since 1756. Perhaps at that time it was only about changes to a building that is attested to as early as 1570 at the same location. It was demolished in 1903 and in its place was taken by the St. Kunibert branch church in 1904. As a legacy of its predecessor, it houses a wooden altar from the beginning of the 18th century as well as the statues of the 14 helpers in need, which were carved by the Prüm sculptor Balthasar Büchel in 1786 and then painted by a master from Mehren .
  • the parish church of the fourteen Holy Helpers in Vienna Lichtental , also called "Schubert Church". The foundation stone was laid in 1712, the church was consecrated to the fourteen helpers in 1730. The high altar painting was created by Franz Anton Zoller in 1776 for the enlarged church. It represents the circle of the fourteen helpers in need, crowned by the Trinity with Mary and St. Anne. Above it, the inscription Laudate dominum in sanctis eius , the first words of Psalm 150.
  • the fourteen helper chapel in Mainz-Gonsenheim : The chapel, which belongs to the parish of Sankt Stephan , was built in 1729 on the basis of a vow made by the Gonsenheimers in the Gonsenheim forest. The current design of the Vierzehn-Nothelfer-Chapel is based on the new building in 1895. The chapel is at the end of Kapellenstrasse on the edge of the Gonsenheim forest. Statues of the 14 helpers in need can be found in the high altar.
  • St. Maximin in rents was the holy Maximin of Trier and the holy Fourteen Holy Helpers at Maximinfest 1974 consecrated .

The fourteen emergency helpers in works of art

The fourteen helper altar in Thumsenreuth
Filial church St. Kunibert in Rengen with the wooden figures of the 14 helpers from the late 18th century that were taken over from the previous church


  • On a fragmentary fresco from around 1320 in the south aisle of the Dominican Church of St. Blasius in Regensburg, ten saints crowd around Christopherus. The mural is the oldest known pictorial representation of the helpers in need.
  • The altar of grace in Vierzehnheiligen
  • The altarpiece (Westerbuchberg) is a Gothic wall painting.
  • Village church in Lindenhardt : A winged altar shows the 14 helpers on the outside of the two wings. It is the oldest surviving painting by Mathias Grünewald .
  • Münster in Heilsbronn - This church was the burial place of the Franconian Hohenzollern for a long time. On the sarcophagus of the Electress Anna († 1512) there are the figures of eighteen saints, including the fourteen helpers in need, where St. Leonhard is depicted instead of Cyriacus.
  • Sebastian chapel in Darsberg - In the small Sebastian chapel above the Neckar valley there is a four-wing canopy shrine from the second half of the 15th century by a hitherto unknown carver and painter. It contains - an unexplained peculiarity - in the center three portraits of women: a “lovely” Maria with child and the two helpers Katharina and Barbara. The declaration of the founding family or of the event may have been lost. Church patron is another saint (Sebastian).
  • St. Pantaleon in Unkel : St. Pantaleon is a Romanesque church in Unkel on the Rhine. There is a stone relief from 1714
  • The chapel “To the Holy Cross and the Fourteen Helpers in Need” , also called Stoffler Kapellchen , is a baroque chapel in the Düsseldorf district of Bilk . It belongs to the parish of St. Suitbertus . The forerunner of the Stoffler Kapellchen was a pilgrimage house in which a splinter of the Holy Cross was kept and which was built in 1650 in baroque brick architecture. In 1734, Elector Carl Philipp had the house converted into a small pilgrimage chapel
  • On the predella of the altar of the market church of Our Lady (Marienkirche) in Halle an der Saale , created by Simon Franck , a student of Lucas Cranach the Elder , the 14 helpers in need are depicted in the midst of Mary and the baby Jesus.
The 14 emergency helpers on the facade of St. Johannes in Stift Haug , Würzburg
  • Sculptures of the 14 helpers are attached to the facade of the monumental baroque building of the Church of St. Johannes at the Haug Collegiate Monastery in Würzburg . Around the middle of the 19th century the parish church of Haug Abbey was the center of a fourteen saints association.
  • The 14 emergency helpers were also immortalized on a so-called picture oak near Iphofen in Lower Franconia. The pilgrimage of the Iphöfer passed the 300 to 450 year old tree and people paused at the wooden sign with the saints attached there.

See also


  • Reinhard Abeln: The fourteen helpers in need. Your life and your worship . Lahn-Verlag, Kevelaer 2013. ISBN 978-3-8367-0840-1 .
  • Luc Campana: The 14 Holy Helpers. Origin and admiration - competition with medicine - life and legends - reach and images . Lauerz 2009, ISBN 978-3-03767-035-4 .
  • Jan Leichsenring: The fourteen helpers in need in their medieval representation . GRIN Verlag, Munich 2004. ISBN 978-3-656-17946-7 .
  • Karl Müssel: The riddle of Grünewald and Upper Franconia. For the 500th anniversary of the “Lindenhardt Altar” (1503–2003). In: Archive for the history of Upper Franconia . 83rd volume, Bayreuth 2003, p. 262 ff.
  • The fourteen emergency helpers to Anger and in the Alpine countries. History, representation and cult . With exhibition catalog for the special show, Anger 1993.
  • To use beautiful prayers from the holy four toe helpers in need, including a beautiful lithanei in peculiar needs , so to be strangely venerated at Anger in Unter-Steyer ... Grätz (Gratz) 1775.
  • Pilgrimage and devotional booklet for the veneration of the 14 Holy Helpers . Neuss 1870 ( digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf ).
  • The fourteen holy helpers. Book of edification for the devout visitors of the Cross and St. Fourteen emergency aid chapel in Stoffeln near Düsseldorf . Düsseldorf 1878 ( digitized edition ).

Web links

Commons : Fourteen Emergency Helpers  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Gerhard Krause, Gerhard Müller (Ed.): Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Volume 24 . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1977, p. 662.
  2. Ernst Eichler (ed.): Czech-German relations in the field of language and culture (Selecta Bohemico-Germanica). Lit-Verlag, Münster, p. 152.
  3. Fourteen Holy Helpers in Need ( Memento of the original of August 24, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Church chronicle, homepage of the Rengen community, culture → The Rengen Church
  5. The fourteen helpers in need from Anger ( Memento of the original from September 9, 2003 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. The altar of grace in Vierzehnheiligen
  7. Wolfgang Weiss : The Catholic Church in the 19th Century. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 430-449 and 1303, here: p. 434.