© Cor Snabel
It was Tuesday 15th March 1345. A very sick man received the sacrament of the dying, but after he had swallowed the host he threw up and the woman, who was taking care of him, threw the vomit into the fire. Next day she raked up the fire and in the flames the host appeared. A miracle !
Being shocked, she put her hands into the flames to grab it, but the fire did not hurt her. A second miracle !
In a ceremonial way the relic was brought to the Old Church and on the place where the miracle took place, a Church was built, the New-Side Chapel.
The news of the Amsterdam miracle did run fast throughout the country and thousands came to Amsterdam. The great surge of pilgrims towards the church urged the Amsterdam Council to construct a special road, the "Heilige Weg", the Saint's Road, which name still exists. On 23rd August 1566 corn porter Jasper destroyed the holy relic during the iconoclastic fury.
In 1912 the chapel was a ruin and the church council decided it had to be torn down. If you visit Amsterdam and walk from the Central Station toward the Dam Square you will find halfway one of its remaining pillars in the middle of the sidewalk.
But there is something else to remind us of this old miracle.
Till 1568 Amsterdam had its "Miracle Procession" on March 15th.
In the front ranks were the guilds with candles, their banners and the statues of their patron saints. Behind them the children; the girls as angels with wings on their shoulders and the boys as little black devils, made up to scare the little ones, followed by the "Schutterij", the pupils of the Latin School, the monks and the clergy. And finally, under a beautiful canopy, carried by the four Mayors, the priest with in his hands the monstrance, in which the sacrament was kept.
In 1881 this procession was restored in its honor and even today in March people walk the "Stille Omgang" (Silent Procession) through nightly Amsterdam, in silence, praying. And they still follow, as far as possible, the same Holy Route as their ancestors did 600 years ago.