Video: Football Fans Sing Club Anthem in Cathedral
Fans of German football club FC Köln made the news yesterday when 20,000 of them brought London traffic to a halt ahead of their team’s Europa League match against Arsenal.
The club has a close relationship with Cologne’s Catholic cathedral: it even features on the badge of FC Köln, who pulled a surprise by finishing fifth in the Bundesliga last season, pictures the “Dom”, as the cathedral is known in German. Cologne is a traditionally Catholic city.
Ecumenical Service in Cologne Cathedral
And every year the club holds an ecumenical service in the Catholic cathedral of Cologne before its first home game of the season. So it was this year when fans holding scarves in the club’s red and white colours filled the huge cathedral, singing along to the club anthem being played on the organ.
This year was the fourth season-opening service in the cathedral. Remarkably, in each one of those four seasons the team improved from the previous year’s performance, though coach Peter Stöger anticipates a tough 2017/18 season.
Ask God for a Fair Competition
“It has become a tradition in Cologne as the season begins to ask God for a fair sporting competition — and for calm in the case of defeats,” said Mgr Robert Kleine, representative of the archdiocese of Cologne.
He added that the service is an occasion for all football fans of whatever sporting or religious adherence to celebrate and pray — joking that even fans of Bayern Munich, the country’s most-supported and also most-hated club, are welcome.
Judas Given the Red Card
In his homily, Mgr Kleine used the idea of a football team’s line-up to explain Jesus’ call to the Apostles, noting that though there were 12 disciples, “one was shown the red card for a bad foul”. And as a football team consists of different positions requiring different sets of talents, so did the Twelve have different talents. The captain of “Jesus’ team”, Mgr Kleine quipped, was St Peter.
Cardinal Rainer Woelki, archbishop of Cologne, is a keen fan of the club known in his city only as “Der FC”.