On St. Jacobs day (29th of July) in the year 1299 on this very spot the travel of Konrad of Lichtenberg, Bishop of Strassburg came to a sudden end. He was stabbed with a lance by a butcher from the nearby city of Freiburg. Two days later the bishop died in Strassburg.
How did this come to pass?
During the reign of Earl Egino there was a constant quarrel between the earl and his city Freiburg on how much taxes the citizens had to pay. In July 1299 the citizens of Freiburg started to bombard the lower parts of the castle of Egino from a place within town. So Egino called for help from his brother-in-law Konrad of Lichtenberg, Bishop of Strassburg. With an army of mercenaries Konrad advances on Freiburg. The citizens of Freiburg attempted a sally and on the 29th of July 1299. It was a butcher from Freiburg, who first reached the bishop who was not yet prepared for battle. What happened exactly remains hidden in the dusk of history. Some say the bishop sat on his horse, only dressed in a silken jerkin and the butcher stabbed him from behind. Anyway the bishop fell to the ground bleeding.
What happened next?
The mercenaries flew in panic. The bishop was brought back to Strassburg where he died two days later. The city of Freiburg was saved from the bishops army. And the butcher was the hero of the day.
But even in the Middle Ages killing a bishop, possibly from behind, was regarded not just an unfriendly act but rather a sacrilege. So Freiburg had to make atonement. Freiburg had to built a cross on the location of the incident and had to pay an annual 100 Marks to Earl Egino. Freiburg had to rise the tax on wine in order to raise this sum.
In 1300 a cross was erected in the fields. By the end of the 17th century a chapel was build to protect the cross. The chapel was demolished in 1788 during the reforms of Emperor Joseph. In 1903 a little building was erected to once again protect the cross. In 1963 a lime tree was planted next to the building.
In the 1960s the growing city of Freiburg reached the fields around the cross. And in 1970 the parish church St. Albert was built next to the building. Today the original cross is located in the church. (We call the church just “lemon squeezer” due to its architecture.)
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