In a nutshell – expect this here.
At foot level at the main portal of the Franciscan Church in Salzburg, you will find the relief of a hand if you look closely. The raised thumb, index and middle finger indicate the sign of oath (similar to raising all five finders in the US) But what is the oath? One interpretation is that the stonemason of the portal swore not to create another artwork of this kind. The most plausible explanation however, is the one of the “reaching hand for asylum”. Everyone who touches this hand is admitted into the church, whether they are guilty of a sin or not. In medieval times, you could even benefit from touching that symbol to escape a gruesome trial after committing a major crime.
Where can you find this place?
More in short about the Franciscian church in Salzburg
The Franciscan church is said to predate the Cathedral of Saint Virgil in its first form and thus beongs to the oldest buildings in Salzburg. The church is located on the corner of Siegmund-Haffner-Gasse and Franziskanergasse and adjoins the residence.
The origin of today’s church is not exactly known, it probably goes back to the time of Saint Virgil, when the building served as Salzburg’s baptismal and synodal church. The church was originally called “Church of Our Lady”, but its name changed when it was given to the Franciscan Order. Find some more details on the order as well as to the church here.
From 1139 a parish church appears here, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1167. The rest is well written down on wikipedia 😉
The small hand on the west portal entry of the Salzburg Franciscan Church is inconspicuous and well hidden. Even if you are specifically looking for her, you may not find her at first glance. The viewer has to bend down o discover the mystical symbol.
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