Montag, 16.07.2018 06:40 Uhr

The Cistercian monastery in Rein

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Graz/Rome, 11.01.2018, 10:33 Uhr
Kommentar: +++ Reise & Tourismus +++ Bericht 7417x gelesen

Graz/Rome [ENA] It’s a nice place to visit Rein Abbey, designated as the Stift in german. It is also a mystical experience, a sort of wandering through time and getting to this Cistercian monastery in Rein near Gratwein, Styria, in Austria. Also known as the "Cradle of Styria" ("Wiege der Steiermark"), it is the oldest surviving Cistercian community in the world.The history of western Monasticism begins with

Benedict of Nursia (ca 480-547). The Cistercian Order was established in 1098 in Citeaux, France, by the Benedictine abbot Robert of Molesme. A simple life and the return to a balance of prayer and work (“Ora et labora”), these were the ideals of the Benedictine reform. The Cistercian building regulations allowed no monastery to be built on an elevated site, in contradiction of the Benedictine rule. Thus the monastery of Rein lies in a plain, 15 km northwest of the Styrian capital of Graz, where the fertile land has been colonized since ancient times. The abbey library, comprising more than 100,000 items, contains inter alia 390 manuscripts and 150 incunabula, of which the best known is a 13th-century fragment of Parzival.

The monastery was founded in 1129 by Margrave Leopold the Strong of Styria and inhabited by monks from Ebrach Abbey in Bavaria under the first abbot, Gerlacus. In the summer of 2006 during restoration work in the Baroque choir chapel archaeological excavations were carried out by a team from the University of Graz, and the foundations of the former Romanesque chapter house were discovered, as well as a number of graves, including that of the founder, Margrave Leopold I of Styria. The former Baroque sacristy was dedicated by the abbot as a Lady chapel on 4 February 2007, since when the abbey's oldest madonna has been placed here.

A document coming back to February 22nd 1138 reports that the monastery was solemnly handed over to the free disposal of the abbot and his monks and that the foundation was confirmed by archbishop Konrad I of Salzburg. The religious, cultural and economic development of the regions around Rein and all of Styria were intensely influenced by the monastic life in Rein, by her possession of land, by the Scriptorium, where manuscript were produced and embellished, and by the art studios.

After the assaults by the Turks in 1480 the monastery was fortified under abbot Wolfgang. At the end of the 16th century , however, the Austrian monasteries experienced a fresh momentum, which was highlighted in the Baroque. Rein was the last Styrian monastery that decided to pass to the elaborate ornamentation of the Baroque for its building under Abbot Placidus Mally. It took ten years to tear down the old Romanesque church and reconstruct the Baroque building and all the work was made utilizing wood and local artists and artisans.

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