Day of issue, Christmas commemorative church - Adoration of the Kings, Oppenberg parish church Sacred wood carving

The Three Kings Shrine featured on the Christmas stamp is a testament to remarkable craftsmanship and artistic skill. Part of the text on the stamp is enhanced with hot stamping foil.

The parish church of Mariä Geburt in Oppenberg, located in the upper Styrian town of Rottenmann, stands at over 1,000 meters above sea level in a remote high valley of the Rottenmann Tauern. In the 15th century, the originally Romanesque church was remodeled. Emperor Maximilian I, the “last knight”, who greatly valued the small church, had it expanded with a Gothic choir from 1502. The construction was overseen by the renowned Munich architect and sculptor Erasmus Grasser, who was a friend of the Emperor. He also created the Three Kings Shrine, completed around 1505, carved from wood and polychromed, originally the centerpiece of a triptych altar.

With 30 intricately detailed, partly three-dimensional figures, the procession of the three kings to the Holy Family is depicted. Mary holds the baby Jesus, before whom King Melchior, embodied by Emperor Maximilian himself in “eternal adoration”, kneels with his gifts. Symbolically held above his head is the imperial crown, signifying his imperial dignity “by the grace of God”. Joseph stands behind Mary, shielding his forehead with his hand. The figures exhibit the characteristic dynamism, expressive facial expressions, and gestures typical of Grasser's style, making the shrine one of the most significant works of the late Gothic period of movement in the southern German and Austrian regions.

Day of issue of the Christmas commemorative stamp - Adoration of the Kings, Oppenberg parish church

1 December 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., presentation at 11:00 a.m.

Episcopal seminary, Bürgergasse 2, 8010 Graz

Group picture, left to right:
Patricia Liebermann (Head of Philately, Österr. Post AG), Elke Heinrichs (municpial councillor of the city of Graz), Dieter Vörös (from Oppenberg), Juliane Bogner-Strauß (member of Parliament), Georg Pölzl (CEO of Österreichische Post AG), Bishop Wilhelm Krautwaschl (diocese Graz-Seckau), Wilhelm Remes (Austrian Philately Association St. Gabriel), Kirsten Lubach (stamp artist), P. Rupert Schwarzl  (Franciscans-Graz)

Pictures: © Gerd Neuhold

First day Adoration of the Kings
First day Adoration of the Kings
First day Adoration of the Kings
First day Adoration of the Kings