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Devil's Trial

Devil's Trial

"As a sign of his presence, the presiding devil judge laid his hand on the table and scorched a mark on its surface. Having approved sentence, the devils promptly left the Tribunal." The Devil’s Trial legend is one of the best-known episodes of Lublin’s Crown Tribunal. In 1637, a poor widow had a dispute with a wealthy nobleman. The judge examining the case passed a sentence to the advantage of the nobleman, unjustly harming the widow. The exasperated woman exclaimed in great despair that even if devils had sentenced her, they would have given a fairer judgment. That night, the court writer heard carriages arriving in front of the building and in a while strange judges came in, wearing red gowns. They ordered the courtroom to be opened and then sat at the presiding table and called the widow’s case. One of them acted as attorney of the accused widow. The frightened writer noticed that the judges’ pointed features and evil eyes had something devilish about them and their raven-black hair masked hidden horns. Indeed, they were devils sent by God to retry the case. The case was heard. The prosecutor was favourably describing the nobleman’s claims. False words were flowing like a waterfall. When their tempting sounds died away, the jury left to consider the verdict. When they came back, the writer quailed, as he heard a sentence to the widow’s advantage. Tthen Jesus Christ of the Tribunal shed tears of blood over human evil being worse than Satan’s, and turned his head away. As proof of his presence, the presiding devil judge laid his hand on the table and scorched its trace on the surface. Having approved the judgment, the devils swiftly left the Tribunal. Next day, the news of the night visit to the Tribunal spread quickly, and frightened crowds gathered in the Market Square. The unfair judges rushing in for the next trial fell and broke their legs on the court stairs in front of the cursing crowd. Considering this a sign of divine retribution, those present called priests and the Miraculous Crucifix was moved by a procession to a chapel in the Collegiate Church where a propitiatory service was celebrated. When St. Michael Collegiate Church was scheduled for demolition two hundred years later, the famous Crucifix was moved to the Cathedral where it has been kept safely in a quiet Blessed Sacrament chapel, surrounded by a multitude of grateful human hearts from all times, reminding believers of the old miracle in the Tribunal courtroom. The historic table with a scorched trace of the devil’s hand has been preserved and can be sometimes seen by visitors to the Lublin Castle Museum. Source: Lublin Municipal Office

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