For the Pope's visit on 9 September 2007, the Cistercian monastery was beautifully dressed up and renovated.
Leopold III (1095 - 1136) is named as the founder of the Heiligenkreuz monastery in the Vienna Woods, but his son Otto (1138 - 1158) is the spiritual initiator. Otto, the later bishop of Freising, had joined the young monastery Morimond, founded in 1115, in 1132. It was the fourth daughter abbey of the monastery Cîteaux. He got to know Bernhard von Clairvaux and protected him and sent a letter to his father asking him to found a Cisterce. Leopold fulfilled this wish and provided the reason for a monastery. From Morimond came 12 monks and the abbot Gottschalk.
Leopold called the new monastery "Holy Cross" out of reverence for "the salvific sign of our salvation". Regular monastic life began on 11 September 1133.
Another son and successor of Leopold III, Heinrich Jasomirgott first duke of Austria and second husband of Gertrud) had a stone church built instead of the first little wooden church, of which remains still exist today. Leopold V, the grandson of Leopold III, gave the monastery a 24 cm high cross relic, which he had brought from the Holy Land in 1182. The relic can now be seen in the cross chapel, which was rebuilt in 1983.
Leopold's son Otto (Otto von Freising), the initiator of the founding of Heiligenkreuz and the most important historian of the Middle Ages, was buried in the now destroyed monastery church of Morimond. Relics of him can be found in the Heiligenkreuz monastery church.
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In the monastery courtyard in front of the Romanesque collegiate church are the Baroque Trinity Column and the Joseph Fountain from 1739.
At times the monastery had 300 monks and lay brothers. In 1683 the monastery was attacked by Turks and set on fire. During reconstruction under Abbot Klemens Schäfer, the monastery was expanded and baroqueised. A baroque tower was added to the church in 1674.
In the monastery worked the artist Giovanni Giuliani (U 1744), whose works you may have already got to know in the Palais Lichtenstein in Vienna. For example, he carved the baroque choir stalls (1707).
Under Joseph II, the monastery was spared its abolition.
Today the very active Cistercian monastery Heiligenkreuz is very popular with the population. The CD "chant - music for paradise" with Gregorian chants stormed the charts.
Excerpt from the CD
Heiligenkreuz is also represented on Facebook.
In the 12th century the three-nave Romanesque basilica was completed. In the 13th century it was extended by a Gothic hall choir.
In the front part of the abbey church on the left side stands the large Kober organ, whose height almost reaches the ceiling of the northern transept. It was built in 1804 by Ignaz Kober and has two manuals, 55 stops and 2959 pipes. It was completely restored in 1997.
Franz Schubert played on this organ and even composed a four-handed fugue for it in 1828. Anton Bruckner and other well-known musicians also played on it.
The baroque choir stalls
In the Middle Ages, this room, the frateria, served the fratres, i.e. the brothers, as a working room. Various monastic workshops were housed in the room, which was probably originally divided into two parts: a shoemaker's workshop, a tailor's workshop, a joiner's workshop, etc. The monastery's own workshops were also located here. Next to this medieval "workshop" was the writing room, the script orium. This important room, in which the monks wrote or copied books by hand, was at that time also the only heated room in the monastery. The "Kalefaktorium" (the heating room) below was only discovered in 1992 and can be accessed via a staircase.
The cloister is built in Romanesque-Gothic style and was completed and consecrated in its present form around 1240 under Duke Friedrich II of Babenberg.
In the well house there are uniquely beautiful glass windows showing the Babenbergers.
On the side opposite the fountain house, the cloister serves as a "reading corridor" and is glazed.
From the cloister you enter the chapter house, where the burial place of the Babenberg family is located.
Here we are in chapter house. Frederick the Militant (Friedrich der Streitbare) has planned a high grave for himself, the other Babenbergs, among them Gertrud von Supplinburg, are under the grave slabs visible in the foreground.
IIn the 19th century, the chapter house was "embellished" in the classical style. The four columns (see also upper picture) are Romanesque.
Here lies Friedrich der Streitbare (Frederick the Struggler), the last Babenberger.