The Archbishop of Munich and Freising has praised a collaboration between Edinburgh and Munich that resulted in a stunning new Nativity scene.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx wrote the below letter to Archbishop Cushley and the people of Edinburgh.


Dear Archbishop, Ladies & Gentlemen,

I am delighted that a Nativity scene can be presented to the public in Edinburgh, which expresses the connection and the communion between humans in a wide variety of ways.

In Bavaria, there are nativity scenes in many places at this time of the year.

They can be seen at the Munich Christmas Market, in churches and homes, but also in many shops and businesses.

The Nativity scene, that can be viewed on The Mound in Edinburgh.

The depiction of the nativity scenes often transfers the events from Bethlehem to our Bavarian landscape.

Thus, we are reminded that Jesus not only came into the world in far-off Bethlehem, but He also wanted and wants to come into the world with us at home in Bavaria too.

And now, it's also the same with this nativity scene depiction, where the birth of Jesus is transferred to Edinburgh.

He does not wish to overwhelm us with power and pomp, but instead invites us to turn to him lovingly.

This presentation of His birth is also intended to inspire us and encourage a life of community and respect.

Christians recognise the incarnation of God in the nativity scene: in this way, God shows us that humans are infinitely important to Him, including every single human being. God comes to us in humble circumstances and born as a child.

He does not wish to overwhelm us with power and pomp, but instead invites us to turn to him lovingly.

Beautiful sculpting by Thomas Hildenbrand created this wonderful depiction of Our Lady.

Even those who do not share the Christian faith can be reminded through the nativity scene that every person has an inalienable dignity, which is inherent and requires no attribution.

Accordingly, every human being deserves respect, appreciation and esteem.

We all belong to the same human family, and it's only through respect for human dignity that community can succeed, solidarity arise for those in need, and help be given with the challenges of life. This is an important message, also - and especially - in light of the many crises of our time.


The nativity scene aims to encourage all of us, so that we're able to achieve this respectful interaction, and thus jointly shape the future of our common human family.

I regret that I'm not able to be present in Edinburgh, to celebrate the presentation of the nativity scene with you all.

I would like to thank Archbishop Leo Cushley for the initiative behind this nativity scene, which has led him to Munich, the twin city of Edinburgh. Both cities, which have been linked in partnership for almost 70 years, have made this project possible - through their efforts and their financial support.

Sculptor Thomas Hildenbrand, centre, took part in the Carol ceremony and blessing of the Nativity scene in Edinburgh.

I thank the Christian churches involved, as well as the private donors, for this sign of togetherness and for their contributions.

And I would like to thank the artist Thomas Hildenbrand very much for his creative depiction and his hard work.

May the nativity scene be a sign of our solidarity across borders, and may it inspire us to work together towards a humane world.

With kind regards and blessings for the upcoming Christmas celebrations,

Reinhard Cardinal Marx
Archbishop of Munich and Freising