In front of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Hamburg a figure of St. Ansgar is placed (9th century*). The figure, about the height of a man, shows the first bishop of Hamburg in his monk’s clothes holding a cross in his hands. The way he does it reminds on the one hand of a pilgrim’s staff and on the other hand of Ansgars‘s commitment to the Christian faith as an offer to the spectator. Ansgar is on the move; he crosses the square but he does not come from the church building and he does not go to it. The church building is on his way, prominent and important, but it is not the place he wants to go to. Rather he wants to meet the people who walk across the square. He does this – and this touched me the most – with a smile: Ansgar, the missionary who brings the Good News to the people with joy.
*The sculpture was created by Karlheinz Oswald and is a gift from the diocese of Mainz to the archdiocese of Hamburg.