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Gallusweg / Gall way

(english translation see below)

Geschichtlicher Hintergrund

590 verliess Gallus nach den Viten zusammen mit Abt Kolumban d. J. das Kloster Bangor bei Belfast in Nordirland und somit die grüne Insel und reiste über England nach Frankreich ins damalige Königreich der Merowinger, ins Burgund. Die Reisegesellschaft (12 Mönche) gründete in Frankreich mit Erlaubnis der entsprechenden Könige verschiedene Klöster, darunter das bedeutendste, Luxeuil. Sie wurden um das Jahr 610 vom Merowinger König Theuderich vertrieben und die Schar gelangte über Tuggen im heutigen Kanton Schwyz, von wo sie ebenfalls wieder vertrieben wurde, nach Bregenz an den Bodensee.Auch dort währte das Glück nur kurze Zeit, ein, zwei Jahre. Dann mussten sie wiederum Reissaus nehmen. Die Mönchsschar trennte sich – Gallus, krank, im Streit mit Kolumban, verblieb in Arbon, derweil Kolumban weiter nach Italien zog. Von Arbon aus wanderte Gallus im Jahre 612/613 [1] in die Einsamkeit des Waldes, ins obere Steinachtal, wo er stolperte und in einen Dornenbusch stürzte. Dies als göttliches Zeichen zum Verbleib deutend, machte er sich sesshaft. Am Ort des späteren St. Gallen…

Was würde Gallus den Menschen heute sagen?

Gallus im Jahre 590/612: Übergang zum Mittelalters, dunkle Frühzeit, Wildnis, Naturwald, römische Befestigungsanlagen, landschaftliche Einöde, karge Existenzen, wilde Tiere, Menschen mit keltisch-römischem Glauben…Gallus im Jahre 2012? Beginn des 3. Jahrtausends, Wirtschaftskrise, verbaute Landschaft, wegfallende Grenzen, Überfluss, Abrüstung, städtische Einöde, gezähmte Tiere und Menschen, Glaubensverlust…Ist so viel besser geworden? Sicher was die Technik betrifft. Aber bezüglich Umgang mit der Natur, mit dem Mitmenschen? Wie würde es heute Gallus ergehen? Würde er überhaupt noch aufbrechen aus seiner Heimat und los marschieren, um andern, ihm fremden Menschen eine Botschaft zu vermitteln, ihnen gar zu helfen? Wie würde er die Welt sehen? Die Menschen? Die Landschaft?Im Jahre 590-612, in der Zeit, in der die Zwölf durch die Lande zogen und danach, brachten sie nicht nur den Glauben, sie brachten auch Arbeit, Kenntnisse, Informationen, wie man das Leben anders, besser gestalten könnte. Sie bauten Klöster und urbanisierten das Umland, bauten Getreide, Lebensmittel an und erreichten einen bescheidenen Wohlstand. Sie entwickelten aber auch Führungs- und Kontrollinstrumente, die den heutigen nicht unähnlich sind.

[1] Anmerkung Max Schär, „Gallus – der Heilige in seiner Zeit“, Schwabe-Verlag, Basel 2011

On the Trail of Gall, 1400 years later, in 2012

1800 km on foot from 10th April to 7th June 2012

History

In 590 Gall left, together with abbot Columbanus, the monastery in Bangor near Belfast in Northern Ireland, leaving the Emerald Isle forever, and travelled via England to France into the kingdom of the Merovingians in Burgundy. The group of 12 monks with Columbanus founded in France, with the permission of the respective kings, several monasteries, among them the most important, Luxeuil. In 610 they were chased away by Merovingian King Theuderic II and the group reached Tuggen in the Canton of Zürich, present day Switzerland, where they were chased away again, eventually reaching Bregenz on the Lake of Constance.

There too, they could only stay for a short time, one or two years. Then they had to move on again. The group of monks went their separate ways – Gall, ill and disagreeing with Columbanus, remained in Arbon, while Columbanus moved on to Italy. Gall walked from Arbon in 612 into a forested wilderness at the Upper Valley of the river Steinach, where he stumbled and fell into a thorn bush. He took this as a divine sign that he should remain there and settled in that place. This became later the town of St. Gall.

IdeaProject „Gall Trail 2012“

The people who initiated the project will walk during the spring of 2012 on the “Columbanus – Gall Trail“ in four stages from Bangor in Northern Ireland to St. Gall in Switzerland. On this journey they will record their experiences; they will describe their encounters with the people they meet and the natural environment they walk through on their way and will record where Gall and his companions passed, where they stayed for some time and what remains of it – all this seen by people of today.

The experiences of the walkers will be gathered together in a book, illustrated with pictures, and will be published in the autumn of 2012, the Jubilee Year of Gall (see the Book Project).

What the project entails

The Wanderers on the Trail of Gall will journey more than 1’800 km in the footsteps of Gall und Columbanus. They will meet people who will not be familiar with the names of Columbanus or Gall or who they were. They will also walk through settlements, communes and towns that today still bear the names of Columbanus and Gall. And they will see buildings whose foundation stones were laid by the monks from Bangor.

The „Walkers on the Trail of Gall“ will try to find a message in the places they pass on their way, that they could pass on to the people of today. And they will try to find the meaning of such a journey in today’s time.

 These questions will be in their minds:

  • What motivated the monks? Can we draw parallels today with the long distance journeys of those times? What motivates us today? What would Gall say to the people of today? What are the messages for us in our times?
  • What could we do to initiate such a renewal in the people of today, especially in young people?
  • What can we learn from the past, how to lead people, to live, to undertake a journey?
  • What can we do to let our world revolve more slowly – slow down – but still enjoy as many of its pleasures as possible? What is needed for that?
  • Do we always have to go far away, or would it not be possible to find what is close by just as attractive? What do we have to offer here – in comparison with out there?
  • And: Where are the things to remind us of the passage of the monks and objects to remember St. Gall, Gall or Columbanus (monasteries, churches, statues, museums, names etc.)?
  • Can new friendships grow between towns? With the Canton of St. Gall? What kind of footprints will the walkers leave on the Trail of Gall?
  • These and further questions the “Gall Trail Wanderers“ will independently ask on their journeys, which they will undertake one after the other in different locations. The answers will be recorded, gathered in words and pictures and published in a “Gall-Walking-Reading and Inspirational book”.

(Translation into English by Anne-Marie Moroney)

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