Abraham a Sancta Clara

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Abraham a Sancta Clara - portrait in the Vienna Museum on Karlsplatz

Abraham a Sancta Clara OAD (religious name), also Abraham a Santa Clara , (* July 2, 1644 as Johann Ulrich Megerle - also called Megerlin - in Kreenheinstetten near Meßkirch ; † December 1, 1709 in Vienna ) was a Catholic clergyman , preacher and Upper German writer . With around 600 individual writings, he is considered the most important German Catholic preacher and poet of the Baroque era .


Birthplace in Kreenheinstetten

Childhood and youth

Johann Ulrich Megerle was born in 1644 as eight of ten children of the innkeeper Matthäus Megerle and his wife Ursula (née Wagner) in the restaurant Zur Traube von Kreenheinstetten and baptized on July 3, 1644. His place of birth is in the Swabian Alb in the Heuberg region near Meßkirch. Although his father Matthäus was a serf of the princes von Fürstenberg , he ran the Gasthof Zur Traube and was considered one of the richest men in the village. The village priest noticed the boy's intelligence; he made sure that he attended the castle school in Meßkirch from 1652 with the consent of the princely rule.

After his father's death in 1656, his uncle and guardian Abraham Megerle made it possible for him to attend the Jesuit grammar school in Ingolstadt until 1659. Abraham Megerle had been a composer and cathedral music director in Salzburg a few years earlier from Emperor Ferdinand III. been raised to the nobility. 1660 Johann Ulrich Megerle moved to the high school of the Benedictines in Salzburg and remained there until 1662. His teacher was probably Father Otto Aicher .

Entry into the order, success as a preacher

Monument at the Burggarten in Vienna

In 1662 he entered the order of the Augustinian barefoot in the Maria Brunn monastery near Vienna (today the 14th district of Vienna) , where he took the name Abraham a Sancta Clara out of gratitude to his uncle . The prerequisite for entering the order was release from serfdom at the Meßkircher court, against payment of 12 guilders. Philosophical and theological studies followed in Vienna, Prague and Ferrara .

1666 Abraham a Sancta Clara received in Vienna Augustinerkirche the priesthood . From 1667 to 1668 he worked as a holiday preacher in the Taxa monastery in Odelzhausen near Augsburg . In 1669 the popular preacher was ordered back to Vienna "because of his excellence", where he preached alternately on Sundays and public holidays in almost all churches and monasteries until 1672. He always denounced the vices of the time, such as gluttony , drunkenness and greed, and warned the audience to orient their own actions on Christian principles.

Abraham a Sancta Clara delivered the first traditional sermon in honor of the patron saint Leopold on September 15, 1673 in front of the imperial court, who was impressed by his verbal power. On April 28, 1677, Emperor Leopold I appointed him sub prior and imperial court preacher. Abraham a Sancta Clara now associated with the most distinguished circles and used his relationships for social works. Through "his popular sermons and writings" he developed "a far-reaching effectiveness".

Plague and Turkish Wars

During the eleven-month plague in Vienna in 1679, Abraham a Sancta Clara lived in isolation for five months in the house of the Lower Austrian Land Marshal Count Johann Balthasar Hoyos , for whom he read mass every day. Here he worked on his first extensive work, Merck's Wienn! in which the theme of Memento mori is elaborated. In 1680 Abraham was prior of his mother monastery, and in 1682 as Sunday preacher at the monastery of St. Anna in Graz , where he was also prior after three years.

During the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, Abraham a Sancta Clara lived on in Graz and preached there about the danger to Christendom caused by sins. Thousands of people are said to have flocked to his mass sermons in squares in Vienna, and numerous individual prints of the (Graz) sermons were circulated as pamphlets. He is said to have organized litigation processions and forty-hour prayers in order to strengthen the perseverance of the population until ultimately the united armed forces under the leadership of the Polish King John III. Sobieski were able to liberate the city in the Battle of Kahlenberg .

Religious service, writing and death

From 1686 Abraham a Sancta Clara worked as prior and later as provincial at the monastery at Münzgraben in Graz. This was his literary heyday and he was festival and guest preacher in many monasteries and churches. On behalf of his order, he traveled to Rome several times (1686, 1689, 1692) and, in addition to collections of sermons and articles on fool's literature, published his main work, Judas, the Ertz-Schelm (four parts 1686, 1689, 1693 and 1695), a collection of writings and sermons and poems. From 1690 Abraham a Sancta Clara headed the German-Bohemian order province of the Augustinian Barefoot from Vienna . In 1697 he was given the title of definitor secundus as an ecclesiastical administrator .

The various offices and the continued preaching and writing had undermined his health, in addition to longstanding suffering from gout . He died on December 1, 1709 at the age of 65 and was buried in the crypt of the Augustinian Church in Vienna.


  • On August 15, 1910, on Assumption of Mary, a bronze statue was unveiled in the churchyard of the parish church of St. Michael in honor of the 200th year of Abraham a Sancta Clara's death in his birthplace in Kreenheinstetten. The statue was made on August 12, 1909 by the sculptor Franz Xaver Marmon from Sigmaringen and bears the facial features of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe . Previously, the model made by Marmon was approved by the committee on March 3, 1910 and then electroformed by the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik in Geislingen . The base with a walled-in certificate of dedication was made by master stonemason Johann Waibel from Krauchenwies according to Marmar’s design. It was placed south of the church on August 8, 1910. The size of the bust, and the monument in general, was made dependent on the result of a collection published in the Hohenzollerische Volkszeitung on April 22, 1909 .
  • Also in Kreenheinstetten there is another memorial in the former farm building of the village pastor, today's parish hall next to the church. Here a permanent exhibition with original prints and plagiarism reminds of the life and work of the preacher.
  • In the former Dominican monastery in Graz-Münzgraben there is an original portrait of the preacher.
  • At the former Augustinian monastery of St. Johann bei Herberstein there is a memorial plaque depicting Abraham together with a donkey. The question that arises here is whether there is a connection to the modern age, because the Kreenheinstetter today are unflatteringly given the name donkey.
  • In Vienna, a monument unveiled in 1928 at the entrance to the Burggarten by Hans Schwathe commemorates Abraham a Sancta Clara. The Abraham-a-Sancta Clara street in the 1st district Inner City and the Abraham-a-Sancta Clara street in the 14th district Penzing were named after him.
  • There is also an Abraham-a-Santa-Clara-Gasse in downtown Graz.


Something for everyone - title and title copper

Abraham a Sancta Clara is regarded as the ultimate Catholic baroque preacher. His sermons, which have become poetry, are bursting with strength, crudely entertaining, at the same time subtle and often intolerant. In the Baroque style, he was less concerned with stringent brevity than with the extravagant presentation of scholarship, stories, parables and wordplay, all loosely connected by overarching thoughts.

As a priest, Abraham's ministry was primarily pastoral. His goal, which is often given in the titles and prefaces of the works, is to bring people to their souls. Since he thinks in terms of salvation history , he assigns all human activity to the opposing concepts of salvation and sin. In his moral doctrine, for example, he praises the Christian virtues embodied in the saints , denounces vices and also preaches against Judaism .

The success of his works and his sermons was also based on the fact that Abraham a Sancta Clara took into account the reality of life of his listeners and readers, as for example in his class theory Something for All . Abraham's descent from the lower class made him credible to his audience.

Works published during his lifetime

He came to write through the impressions of the plague epidemic of 1679. In the Merck's Wienn! That is: the furious death comprehensive description (1680) Abraham a Sancta Clara depicted death as an allegory in the spirit of the then popular dance of death . Although after the expulsion of the Viennese Jews in 1670 there were no Jews in Vienna at that time, he made for responsible for the epidemic of witches and Jews. Also in his writings Lösch, Wienn! (1680) and Große Todtenbruderschaft (1681), Abraham a Sancta Clara dealt with the subject of death that would conquer all and threatened the agony of purgatory .

The second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 inspired Abraham in the same year to write the pamphlet Auff, auff, you Christians! That is: a mobile refreshment of the Christian weapons against the Turkish Bluet-Flukes , in which "the Türck" appears as a "copied Ante-Christ " and the Christians are called to fight, to unity and to repentance. This pamphlet was Friedrich Schiller's model for the Capuchin sermon in Wallenstein's camp .

Front page Newly opened World Galleria (1703)

Abraham a Sancta Clara published a collection of occasional writings under the title Reim dich oder ich lis' dich (1684), as well as a report Gack / Gack / gack / Gack / a Ga (1685) about the egg miracle of Taxa . After that, from 1686 to 1695, under the title Judas the arch rascal, he combined a large number of satirical, humorous and moralizing sermons into a four-volume apocryphal biography of Judas Iscariot .

At the same time, Abraham wrote a textbook on Catholic morality, the Latin Grammatica Religiosa (1691), with an overwhelming abundance of stories and examples, which, like Judas the arch rogue, are dedicated to his friend, Abbot Raymundus Regondi of the Altenburg Abbey . All other works string together details in poems, reflections and sermons: Something for All (1699), Dying and Heirs (1702), Newly Opened World Galleria (1703), Heilsames Misch-Gemasch (1704) and Huy! and Pfuy! der Welt (1707) are essentially picture books with text assigned to the class literature , such as Sebastian Brant's ship of fools , the direct model for the fools' nest (1710).

Writings published posthumously

Abraham a Sancta Clara's last two books appeared in the year after his death: Well-Filled Wine Cellars (1710) was, according to the original wording of the print, “compiled” by the author in his last illness. His last book, Particularly decorated and decorated Todten-Chapel or general Todten-Spiegel (1710), he is said to have written close to death. With him he took up the theme of his first literary attempts at the time of the plague: dying and death.

The following were gradually published from his estate: Abrahamisches Bescheidessen (1717), Abrahamische Lauberhütt (3 volumes, 1721–1723) and Abrahamisches Behab dichwohl! (1729). The Geistlicher Kramerladen collection (1719) contains sermons by Abraham that were printed individually, Mercurialis or Wintergrün (1733) is fake and Centi-folium stultorum in Quarto (1709) was wrongly ascribed to Abraham. Abraham wrote some works under the pseudonyms Gaudentius Hilarion , Hilarius von Freudenberg and Theophilus Mariophilus . Abraham a Sancta Clara is also said to have written several mystery plays that have not survived in Latin.

Notes on the work

Gerhard Staguhn noted that Abraham had outwardly pretended that there were no Protestants. When he spoke of the Christians, he only meant the Catholics. When he spoke of the clean Luther in passing, the derisive remark came a little later that he meant the Saubären .

Abraham had "bleeding, watering and speaking statues of saints" appear in droves in his sermons, but he himself was scientifically educated and preferred astronomy to astrology and chemistry to alchemy. He advocated sharpening one's mind through reading. He had come out against courtiers and justice in favor of the great gentlemen.

Against the women who keep to the better from the body , even more so against the greedy he agitated Jews constantly: "Because of the rigorous sound of the fanatic mixes in his speeches." Abraham a Sancta Clara's "anti-Jewish Fury" has been prepared by National Socialism estimated will but, according to Staguhn, often left out in today's selected volumes.

Poem example

Abraham's poems originally inserted into the prose works are often selected for anthologies , for example by Karl Krolow and Marcel Reich-Ranicki .

Grave inscription of
the old ones Krampel, Krüppel, Krippelwar,
Lies all sorts of things hereunder,
stilts, crutches, pair and pair,
You don't believe what junk.
We have reached a long year
and white paroxes,
The eyes were completely pale,
The cheeks were like socks.
The dull body, the trampled animal,
doing nothing but coughing, pausing,
the noses like the Schleifergschier,
Pfui Deixl, it makes a horror.
The helper's leg no longer in the mouth,
The mouth an empty pocket,
We often needed three whole hours to snack on a crumb of
The dull head, the trembling head,
always give the rhythm.
The lump pot showed enough: Life is good
for la, mi, fa,
And yet, as biting death
would often snap at us
, We wanted to soon hi soon hot,
He shouldn't catch us.
Don't like, don't like, no more then
we let our lives go.
It wasn't about death,
but about giving an account.


The schoolmaster, copperplate engraving from Something for All
The bookbinder, copperplate engraving from Something for All

Around 600 different individual publications by Abraham a Sancta Clara are still known today.

Latin scripts

  • Epitome Elogiorum. Hacque, Vienna, 1670
  • Epithaphium Illustrissimi Et Excellentissimi Domini. Haan, Salzburg, 1684
  • Epithaphium Reverendissimi, Illustrissimi Et Amplissimi Domini. Haan, Salzburg, 1684
  • Epithaphium Suspensi Praefecti. Haan, Salzburg, 1684
  • Applause Sine Grano Salis Ausus. Widmanstetter, Graz, 1687
  • Grammatica Religiosa. Haan, Salzburg, 1691; Translation: Metternich, Cologne, 1699 ( digitized and full text in the German text archive )


  • Prophetic Willcomb. Vivian, Vienna, 1676 (On the marriage of Leopold)
  • Soldiers Glory. Thurnmeyerin, Vienna, 1676 (About St. George)
  • The Holy Court way. Vivian, Vienna, 1677 (Via Francisco de Xavier )
  • The Happy Fish Train. Vivian, Vienna, 1677 (About the Mother of God)
  • Austrian Deodorant Gratias. Vivian, Vienna, 1680 (plague sermon)
  • Merck's soldier! Vivian, Vienna, 1680 (About St. George)
  • Lösch Vienna. Vivian, Vienna, 1680 (plague sermon)
  • Fragrant Spica-Nardt. Widmanstetter, Graz, 1683 (About Abbot Bernardus)
  • Newly chosen Paradeys-Blum. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (About St. Joseph)
  • Danck and Denckzahl Deß eighth versus Drey. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (On the Holy Trinity)
  • Testimony and Record of a Most Honorable Virtue Change. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (About Abbot Anselm)
  • The happy fish train in Anzbach. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (About the Mother of God)
  • Astriacus Austriacus Heavenly Austrian. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (About Margrave Leopold)
  • The clear sunshine. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (About Thomas Aquinas )
  • Praise and Trial of the Glorious Virtues. Ghelen, Vienna, 1696 (About St. Catherine)
  • Ask and answer with yes / and no. Rädlmayr, Linz, 1697 (About St. Berthold)
  • The blunted truth. Holtzmayr, Steyr; Rädlmayr, Linz, 1697 (About the Mother of God)
  • Patrocinium on earth bad. Holtzmayr and Auinger, Steyr, 1699 (About the saints)

Tracts and collections

  • Merck's Vienna. Vivian, Vienna, 1680 (description of Vienna during the plague)
  • Great brotherhood of the dead. Vienna, 1681 (description of Vienna during the plague period)
  • Open up you Christians! Wagner, Ulm; Gehlen, Vienna, 1683 (treatise on the fight against the Turks)
  • Rhyme / Or I left you. Haan, Salzburg, 1684 (collection of writings and sermons)
  • Gack / Gack / gack / Gack / a Ga. Straub, Munich, 1685 (description of the pilgrimage to Maria-Stern)
  • Judas the Ertz rogue. Haan, Salzburg, 1686–1695 (collection of writings, sermons and poems) ( digitized and full text in the German Text Archive, vol. 1, digitized and full text in the German text archive, vol. 3)
  • Stern / Mary rose up out of Jacob. 1686 (treatise on the Mother of God)
  • Augustini Fiery Heart. Haan, Salzburg, 1693 (collection of sentences)
  • All Freud / and Fried. 1698 (writing about the Mother of God)
  • Something for everyone. Weigel, Nuremberg; Hueber, Vienna; Hertz, Würzburg, 1699–1711 (professional studies)
  • Mercurius, winged. Vienna, 1701 (teaching collection)
  • Die and inherit. Gallet, Amsterdam, 1702 (doctrine of death)
  • Newly opened World Galleria. Weigel, Nuremberg, 1703 (ethics)
  • Whimsical dream of a big fool's nest. Salzburg, 1703 (Fool's Mirror)
  • Wholesome mixture-Gemasch. Weigel, Nuremberg; Hertz, Würzburg; Koll, Vienna (collection of stories)
  • A cart full of fools. Salzburg, 1704 (Narrenspiegel)
  • Huy! and Pfuy! of the world. Hertz, Würzburg, 1707 (Lasterspiegel)
  • Well-stocked wine cellar. (Lasterspiegel) Würzburg, 1710
  • Especially furnished and decorated death chapel or general death mirror 1710
  • Abrahamic notification food. Lehmann, Vienna and Brno, 1717 (posthumous collection)
  • Spiritual Kramer store. Weigel, Nuremberg; Hertz, Würzburg, 1719 (posthumous collection)
  • Abrahamic Lauber-Hütt. Lehmann, Vienna and Nuremberg, 1721–1723 (posthumous collection)
  • Abrahamic do yourself well! 1729 (posthumous collection)

Newer collections

  • The miracle cure and ugly other delightful little things , Deutsche Buchgemeinschaft, Berlin 1924
  • Ludwig Klein (Hrsg.): Cheerful mixture-Gemasch. From the sermons and writings of Abraham a Sancta Clara. Braun, Karlsruhe, 1981
  • Franz Georg Brustgi (Ed.): In the ark there weren't only pigeons. JF Steinkopf publishing house , Stuttgart and Hamburg, 1981
  • Peter Karner (Ed.): Just laugh, laugh, vain worldly affection. All kinds of mixtures. Vienna, Freiburg (Breisgau) and Basel, 1983
  • Birgit K. Grasberger (ed.): A hui and ugh on the world. Pattloch, Aschaffenburg, 1986
  • Heinz Schlamber (ed.): God for honor and us for teaching. From the writings of Abraham a Sancta Clara. St. Benno, Leipzig, 1988
  • Franz M. Eybl (ed.): A cart full of fools and other small works. Residence, Salzburg, 1993
  • Peter Karner (Ed.): From the spiritual general store of Father Abraham a Sancta Clara. The apple, Vienna, 1994
  • Birgit K. Bader (Ed.): Ein Hui und ein Pfui auf die Welt Pattloch, Augsburg, 1999
  • Inga Pohlmann (Ed.): Reimb dich, or Ich Liß dich (early sermons and tracts), Konstanz, 2007, ISBN 978-3-86142-425-3
  • Hui and ugh the world. A salutary mixture of sermons and writings. Afterword by Franz Schuh. Manesse Verlag, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-7175-2196-9 .


Web links

Commons : Abraham a Sancta Clara  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Abraham a Sancta Clara  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b Vera Romeu: Abraham a Santa Clara. Symposium breaks down life and work . In: Schwäbische Zeitung of March 18, 2009
  2. ^ A b Wilhelm Scherer:  Megerlin, Johann Ulrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 21, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1885, pp. 178-181.
  3. Abraham a Sancta Clara. ( Memento from June 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL).
  4. a b c Gerhard Staguhn : Must have died. A portrait on the 300th anniversary of the death of the Vienna Augustinian ; in: Die Zeit , Hamburg, No. 49, November 26, 2009, p. 102. Available online.
  5. a b c Walter Hubbuch (hu): Travelers follow Abraham's footsteps . In: Schwäbische Zeitung from September 9, 2011
  6. M. Burger, dean and clergyman from Göggingen, in the Upper Baden border messenger of August 17, 1910
  7. Martin Heidegger in the Allgemeine Rundschau of August 27, 1910
  8. Falko Hahn: History. For 99 years he has looked down sublime. In 1910, the bronze memorial for Abraham a Sancta Clara in Kreenheinstetten was inaugurated with a big festival . In: Südkurier of April 16, 2009
  9. ^ Committee collects for Abraham Memorial . In: Schwäbische Zeitung from April 22, 2009
  10. ^ City administration Graz: Abraham a Sancta Clara ( Memento from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  11. srf.ch: "Ein Hui und Pfui auf die Welt" ( Memento from August 20, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  12. http://www.pohlw.de/literatur/sadl/barock/abraham.htm
  13. http://www.literaturknoten.de/philosophie/a/abraham/2_abraham.html
  14. http://www.pohlw.de/literatur/sadl/barock/abraham.htm
  15. Hans Otto Horch, Horst Denkler: Conditio Judaica . Walter de Gruyter, 2012. p. 51 Partial online view
  16. "German Poems". Insel-Verlag
  17. "German Poems and Their Interpretations". part 1
  18. http://www.pinselpark.de/literatur/a/abraham/poem/krampel.html