28 January in German History


Feast Day of St. Karl der Große (Charlemagne) (ca. 742-814)

Karl der Große or Charlemagne was the king of the Franks. (The Franks were a Germanic people who had extended their influence over parts of modern France and Belgium by this date in history.) On Christmas day of the year 800, he was crowned emperor of an empire which would become known as the Holy Roman Empire at some periods in history and as the German Empire at other periods. He established his capital at Aachen (modern Germany). He spread Christianity and developed efficient educational and political systems in his empire. He built many churches and was a devout Christian. The cathedral he built in his capital city of Aachen is still used. He was declared a saint in 1165 at the urging of the emperor, Friedrich Barbarossa. (This predated the formal process of canonization.) The declaration of sainthood was made by the bishop of Cologne with the formal approval of the pope, Paschal III. Paschal III, however, was an antipope and the man who came to be recognized as the official pope, Alexander III opposed the sainthood of Karl. After 1176 a compromise was reached whereby the sainthood was permitted but not officially sanctioned. Relics of Karl may be viewed in the Cathedral of Aachen.


The first party congress of the SED of the Soviet Zone of Germany closes. It has set up a Politburo of which Pieck, Grotewohl and Ulbricht are members. Pieck would become the first head of East Germany (DDR) and Ulbricht the second.


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