Benediktbeuern Monastery

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Inner courtyard of the Benediktbeuern monastery
Monastery courtyard - view
as a spherical panorama

The Benediktbeuern Abbey is a former abbey of Benedictine and now a branch of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Benediktbeuern in Bavaria in the diocese of Augsburg , near the Kochel .

Benedictine history of the monastery

Benediktbeuern Monastery
Certificate of King Lothar III. for Bishop Herimann von Augsburg, to whom he confirmed the donation of the Benediktbeuern imperial abbey; issued on November 27, 1125. Munich, Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Kaiserselekt 450

Buron / Benediktbeuern monastery was very likely founded by Karl Martell during two campaigns to Bavaria as a secular base and as a guard and control station in front of the Kesselberg at a tactically favorable location on the way to Rome. Karl Martell appointed the noble Alemanni Lantfrid, a member of the Huosi , as his reliable vassal . Around 739/740 the monastery consecrated to St. Jakob and St. Benedict was founded as a Benedictine abbey. Archbishop Bonifatius introduced Lantfrid as a Benedictine abbot and consecrated the first monastery church. There was a writing and teaching school, the work of which is testified by numerous codices from the 8th and 9th centuries. The women's monastery founded in Kochel am See in the 8th century was relocated to Benediktbeuern monastery after destruction by the Hungarians in 908 (955 at the latest), where it had its seat on the north side of the men's monastery until the 14th century. Hence the double abbot staff (abbot and abbess) in the coat of arms of the Benediktbeuern monastery. In 955 the Benediktbeuern monastery was destroyed by the Magyars (Hungarians), which was accompanied by the end of the Carolingian school system.

The monastery was founded by St. Bishop Ulrich von Augsburg (923–973) rebuilt and repopulated in 1031 by Benedictines from the Tegernsee monastery . Under Abbot Gothelm and the monks Gotschalk and Adalbert, the school of writing flourished again and the botanical research and the establishment of medicinal herb gardens around 1200 are attested. Around 1250 the monastery library covered the entire area of ​​higher education with around 250 manuscripts. In 1530/40 the systematic history of the monastery was deepened by Fr. Antonius Funda. Theological, philosophical and scientific studies were carried out in Benediktbeuern. The grammar school was closed during the Thirty Years' War, but reopened in 1689 with a focus on language, music, mathematics and botanicals. Shortly before, between 1669 and 1679, the current baroque form of the monastery complex was created and from 1672 the monastery church of St. Benedict was rebuilt.

In 1700 P. Karl Meichelbeck OSB (1669–1734) applied the source-critical method of historiography in southern Germany in an exemplary manner. He is the author of the Historia Frisingensis (history of the diocese of Freising) and the Chronicon Benedictoburanum (history of the Benediktbeuern monastery). He also wrote the hagiographic work Leben / Leyden / Todt / Aufstieg / vnd Gnaden = rich benevolence of the great saint martyr Anastasiae (1710), in which he a. a. describes in detail the so-called Kochelsee miracle , the rescue of the monastery in the War of the Spanish Succession on January 28, 1704. In 1698 the university (commune studium) was opened in the outer north wing. The library complex dates from 1722. From 1751 to 1753 the Anastasia Chapel was built in the northeast of the monastery church.

Historical views on early modern copper engravings

The following two engravings illustrate the respective state of construction before and shortly after the baroque redesigns:

Monastery church

Secularization 1803

St. Benedict Monastery Church

The monastery was dissolved in 1803 in the course of secularization . The Carmina Burana , a collection of vagante songs from the 13th century, was found in the monastery library . The manuscript, also called Codex Buranus , is now in the Bavarian State Library . Many other manuscripts and some of the printed books were also relocated to Munich. The classicistic high altar can be found in Leutasch's St. Magdalena Church, built in 1820/21.

The monastery court was repealed and its district divided between the Tölz and Weilheim regional courts.

Some of the former monks went to Salzburg as university professors (Fr. Egidius Jais OSB as pastoral theologian), Landshut (Fr.Sebastian Mall OSB as orientalist) and Munich (Fr. Florian Meilinger OSB as mathematician). Aspenstein Castle in Kochel am See fell into the hands of various private owners, including a. the Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP , Baldur von Schirach . Since 1968 the palace has been owned by the Georg von Vollmar Academy , which offers seminars on political education in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation .

With the secularization of the parish church, the monastery church became the parish of St. Benedikt Benediktbeuern.

The monastery between secularization and 1930

Benediktbeuern Monastery as Remonte depot
Anastasia Chapel in Benediktbeuern Monastery

Josef von Utzschneider received the monastery complex . Joseph von Fraunhofer built a glassworks here in 1805. Among other things, he was able to develop the streak-free or wave-free flint glass and discovered the Fraunhofer lines , which have become important for the development of spectral analysis . In 1818 the Bavarian state took over the monastery and used it as a military foal farm ( remonte depot) until 1921, as barracks, invalids' home, convalescent hospital for soldiers, as a prison and from 1921 as an imperial farm. In 1925 the former monastery brewery was closed.

Salesian history of the monastery

Since 1930 the Salesians of Don Bosco have been using the building again as a branch of a religious order. Today around 35 Salesians of Don Bosco live and work there. The director of the monastery is Father Lothar Bily SDB; the Salesians have a director instead of an abbot. The deputy is Fr Claudius Amann SDB.

Philosophy and theology

Benediktbeuern Monastery

In 1931 they founded a “theological college ” for their members of the order, from which today's Philosophical-Theological University (PTH Benediktbeuern) emerged. 1941 was the monastery paymaster School of Wehrmacht established. After 1945, the settlement could develop anew. In 1946 a high school for late-calling priesthood candidates was founded. This existed until 1964 when it was moved to Buxheim near Memmingen . Through the affiliation of the Philosophical-Theological University in 1970, first to the Faculty of Theology, and then in 1976 to the Philosophical Faculty of the Universitas Pontificia Salesiana (UPS) in Rome, the university acquired further rights. In 1981 the PTH was officially recognized as a non-governmental academic university. In 1990 the PTH was granted the right to award doctorates in the field of Catholic theology. In addition, the Institute for Salesian Spirituality was established that year . In 1992 the Congregatio de Institutione Catholica raised her to the position of theological faculty, which gave her the right to award doctorates . In 2000 the right to qualify for a habilitation followed . In 2003, based on these changes, a new mission statement was created. In 1998 the Clearing House Church & Environment was established at the PTH , which existed until 2007. The PTH Benediktbeuern was closed for the 2013/14 winter semester. From the winter semester 2014/15, the religious education course of the Catholic Foundation University was introduced in the rooms of the former PTH.

Social pedagogy

In 1967 a youth leader seminar was opened, which in 1968 was converted into the "Higher Technical School for Social Pedagogy of the Salesians Don Bosco". In 1971 the higher technical college for social education was integrated into the church foundation under public law “Catholic educational institutions for social education in Bavaria” as the Benediktbeuern department of the Catholic foundation college in Munich (KSFH). On October 1, 1990, the focus on environmental and cultural education was established at the KSFH. In 2017 the university was renamed the Katholische Stiftungshochschule München (KSH).

Cemetery entrance to the basilica
Passage to the inner courtyard of the Maierhof
Monastery courtyard with entrance to the basilica
Column in the Benediktbeuern monastery

Youth Pastoral Institute

In 1978 the Don Bosco Benediktbeuern youth pastoral institute was founded as a cooperating institution for both the PTH and the KSFH. It serves the advanced and advanced training of specialists from institutions and services of child and youth welfare.

Youth hostel, action center and center for environment and culture

A youth hostel that is affiliated with the German Youth Hostel Association was housed in the former monastery very early on . She specializes in school trips, youth camps, expeditions, excursions and hut tours.

The so-called Action Center Benediktbeuern was opened for practical youth work in the mid-1970s, specializing primarily in orientation days for school classes and open events for teenagers and young adults. Every year, 14,000 young people take part in orientation days and open events at the Action Center youth education facility .

In 1988 the Center for Environment and Culture Benediktbeuern was established. It serves the youth and adult education on these two topics. There is also a museum, exhibitions, concerts, landscaping, biotopes and nature trails. The Center for Environment and Culture reaches around 90,000 visitors a year more or less intensively.

Museums and collections

The historic Fraunhofers glassworks in the Benediktbeuern monastery is set up as a museum. Visitors can find out more about his melting furnaces, optical and other devices and the technology of glassmaking at Fraunhofer’s time.

In addition, the costume center of the Upper Bavaria district is located in the monastery. It builds up a collection and expertise in historical clothing, but has so far only been accessible to the public to a limited extent.

Fraunhofer Society

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft operates the center for energetic renovation of old buildings and monument preservation in the monastery . On the one hand, research is carried out there on how monument preservation and renovation of old buildings can be optimized from the point of view of modern thermal insulation. On the other hand, the center offers advice on the subject for individual builders, craftsmen and preservationists.

From 2013 the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft also planned to build a conference center on the monastery area under the name Netzwertzentrum . A citizens' initiative tried to prevent the implementation. In 2018, however, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft also withdrew from the project for legal reasons.


In 2001 the Don Bosco Foundation Benediktbeuern and the Don Bosco University Foundation were established, which are supposed to help secure the work of the Salesians in Benediktbeuern financially. Both foundations are part of the Don Bosco Foundation Center .

Row of abbots and provosts of the monastery


Abbots :

  1. Landfrid, in the 8th century
  2. Waldram I., in the 8th century
  3. Eliland I., in the 8th century
  4. Ringrim, in the 9th century
  5. Zacho, in the 9th century
  6. Erphmann, in the 9th century
  7. Urolf, in the 10th century
  8. Snelpart, until 955

Toast :

  1. Wolfhod
  2. Richolf
  3. Reginbert I.
  4. Rathold
  5. Tagino
  6. Albero
  7. Reginbert II., Until 1031


  1. Ellinger, 1031-1032
  2. Gothelm, 1032-1062
  3. Megingoz, 1062-1065
  4. Ratmund, 1065-1090
  5. Conrad I., 1090-1122
  6. Norbert, 1123
  7. Ulschalk, 1125
  8. Engelschalk, † 1138
  9. Walther, † 1168
  10. Ortolf, 1168–1180
  11. Wernher, † 1183
  12. Albert I, † 1203
  13. Bernhard I, † 1213
  14. Heinrich I, † 1227
  15. Gebhard, 1227-1236
  16. Bernhard II., 1236-1246
  17. Heinrich II., 1246-1271
  18. Ortolf II., Prince Abbot 1271–1283, received the pontificals in 1277 .
  19. Heinrich III., Prince Abbot 1283–1289
  20. Otto, 1289-1318
  21. Heinrich IV. Von Türkenfeld, 1318–1348
  22. Düring / During von Türkenfeld, 1348–1360
  23. Albert II, 1360-1369
  24. Heinrich V von Wegmann, 1369–1377
  25. Henry VI. von Pienzenau , 1377–1400
  26. Ludwig I. Rieder, 1400–1409
  27. Friedrich von Weiching, 1409–1422
  28. Conrad / Konrad II. Vetter, 1422–1429
  29. Gregory, 1429-1439
  30. Thomas Schwalb, 1439-1440
  31. Wilhelm von Diepolzkirchen, 1440–1483
  32. Narcissus / Narcissus Paumann, 1483–1504
  33. Balthasar Werlin, 1504–1521
  34. Matthias Reuchl / Reichel, 1521–1538
  35. Kaspar Zwickl / Zwinck, 1538–1548
  36. Ludwig II. Pertzl / Pörtzl, 1548–1570
  37. Johann Chrysostomos Benedikt March von Spruner, 1570–1604
  38. Johann II. Halbherr, 1597 coadjutor , abbot 1604–1628
  39. Waldram II. White, 1628–1638
  40. Philipp Feischl / Feischel, 1638–1661
  41. Amand I. Thomamiller, 1661-1671
  42. Plazidus / Placidus Mayr, 1671–1689
  43. Eliland II. Oettl / Öttl , 1689–1707
  44. Magnus Pachinger, 1707-1742
  45. Leonhard Hochenauer, 1742–1758
  46. Benno Voglsanger, 1758–1784
  47. Amand II. Fritz / Friz, 1784–1796
  48. Karl Klocker , 1796–1803

Major fires

The monastery experienced several major fires. In addition to being destroyed by the Hungarian storm , the monastery church was damaged by fire in 1248 and collapsed in 1288; In 1490 the central monastery building was destroyed and a late Gothic new building followed. The monastery experienced the last fire in 1979 when, among other things, half of the north wing with the college building went up in flames.


  • Josef Hemmerle : The Benedictine Abbey Benediktbeuern . Ed .: Max Planck Institute for History (=  Germania Sacra . New Episode 28, The Diocese of Augsburg: Part 1). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-11-012927-2 ( full text [PDF; 12.3 MB ; accessed on June 24, 2017]).
  • Leo Weber : Vestigia Burana: Traces and testimonies of the Benediktbeuern monastery cultural center. Don Bosco Medien, 1995, ISBN 3-7698-0790-1 .
  • Leo Weber: Benediktbeuern Monastery: with papal basilica and Anastasia chapel. Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2001 (11th edition), ISBN 3-7954-4095-5 .
  • Leo Weber: Benediktbeuern Monastery: sovereignty, economic and cultural center since the early 8th century in the Pfaffenwinkel. Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2003, ISBN 3-7954-1412-1 .
  • Geert Müller-Gerbes (text), Friedemann Mayer (arrangement): Carmina burana. A tour in pictures with Sieger Köder and his students. Heidenheimer Zeitung, Heidenheim an der Brenz 2007, ISBN 978-3-920433-13-4 (painted pictures in the Center for Environment and Culture).
  • Norbert Wolff (Ed.): Benediktbeuern. Heritage and Challenge. FG for Leo Weber SDB on his 80th birthday. (= Benediktbeurer studies. 12). Don Bosco, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-7698-1721-8 .

Web links

Commons : Kloster Benediktbeuern  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Leo Weber: Benediktbeuern Monastery. Regensburg 2003, ISBN 3-7954-1412-1 , p. 10.
  3. Dieter Albrecht: The monastery courts Benediktbeuern and Ettal (Historical Atlas of Bavaria, Altbayern, No. 6, 1953, p. 22)
  4. ^ Leo Weber: Benediktbeuern Monastery. Regensburg 2003, ISBN 3-7954-1412-1 , p. 12.
  5. Fraunhofer Glashütte ( memento of April 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) in the guest information on the Benediktbeuern website ( current )
  6. Trachten-Informationszentrum: Tracht is fashion. Costume is life. Tracht has a future.
  7. ^ Fraunhofer Society: Fraunhofer Center Benediktbeuern
  8. An attractive science center. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. 3rd April 2014.
  9. Benediktbeuern Monastery: Controversial conference center will not be built . Article on (last accessed on April 9, 2019).
  10. Michael Hartig: The Upper Bavarian Pencils. Volume I: The Benedictine, Cistercian and Augustinian Canons . Publisher vorm. G. J. Manz, Munich 1935, DNB 560552157 , p. 17 f.
  11. Benediktbeuern / Abbots . In: , June 27, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  12. Codreanu-Windauer, Silvia: The Romanesque decorative floor in the Benediktbeuern monastery church. Bayer. State Office for Monument Preservation, Munich 1988, p. 5. ISBN 3874909107

Coordinates: 47 ° 42 ′ 27.2 "  N , 11 ° 23 ′ 53"  E