Rheinau Monastery

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rheinau monastery complex
Former monastery building in Rheinau

The Rheinau Monastery ( Latin: Monasterium Rhenaugensis ) is a former Benedictine abbey on an island on the Rhine in what is now the Swiss municipality of Rheinau in the canton of Zurich . It was founded around 778 and abolished in 1862. From 1867 to 2000, a psychiatric clinic was housed in the monastery buildings. Today the former monastery building is used by the Spiritual Path Community and the music center "Musikinsel Rheinau", the monastery church by the Catholic parish of Rheinau.


Island location, aerial photo 1953


The foundation of the Rheinau monastery on a river island, which is surrounded by a loop of the High Rhine , should fall in the year 778.

The monastery first appeared in a document in 844. In 850, the first abbot was Anwarth. The second abbot, Wolven (858-878) handed over the monastery founded by his ancestors to King Ludwig the German and received it back on April 12, 858 for lifelong possession. A contemporary of Wolven I was St. Fintan von Rheinau.

The abbey was particularly promoted by Bishop Solomon II of Constance , who is mentioned in the vicinity of Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia , who was a successor and nephew of Emperor Charles the Fat . The names of the legendary ancestors of the founders of the House of Habsburg , the Counts of Klettgau : Radbot , Guntram and Lanzelin are associated with Altenburg -Rheinau ; A document from this period is issued in: Actum in pago Clegowe in villa Altenburg, Coram Gozberto Comite, anno V. regis Arnulfi .

In 1114 a Romanesque basilica was consecrated and in 1120 the collection of documents that still exists today was created. The early history of the monastery - as with most monasteries of this time - alternated between rich gifts and privileges by the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire as well as oppression and robbery by the guardians . In 1126, Count Rudolf von Lenzburg fortified the Rheinau settlement that was built near the monastery.

A monastery school already existed here in the 13th century.

Interior of the monastery church

Against the increasing claims of the Counts of Sulz , a protection treaty was concluded with the Confederation in 1455 , which initially protected the monastery from further attacks by the neighboring noble families from Klettgau .

The Reformation spread from Zurich to Rheinau in 1529 and the monastery had to be abandoned for a short time. In 1532 the monastery was restored and then developed into a center of the Counter Reformation .

New building

Felix and Regula Church before its demolition in 1864. Drawing by Johann Rudolf Rahn

In the 18th century, the Rheinau Monastery, like the St. Gallen Monastery , flourished late under Abbot Gerold II. Zurlauben . He had the monastery church of St. Maria with its massive double tower front (consecrated in 1710) and the convent building renovated in baroque style by 1744 . Caspar Moosbrugger made the plans for this in 1702 and 1719.

To this day, the monastery complex has essentially retained the shape it was created back then. The Felix and Regula Church, built in 1753, was demolished after the monastery was closed in 1864.

Abolition of the monastery

The office building of the monastery in
Rheinheim, which was expanded in 1569

During the turmoil after the French invasion of Switzerland in 1798, the monastery was temporarily closed, but restored in 1803 as part of mediation . The area of ​​the monastery with the town of Rheinau was assigned to the restored canton of Zurich in 1834.

On the northern side of the Upper Rhine, the property administration was located in Rheinheim , now in Baden territory , since the 10th century , which was expanded into a "monastery town" in the 16th century. Until 1856 the tithe redemption was negotiated with the surrounding, directly subordinate communities.

With the end of the tithe, the Rheinau monastery came to an end. [...] As early as 1838, novices were no longer allowed to be admitted, and monks from other monasteries were prohibited from immigrating. The monastery school ceased to exist and in 1862 […] the Grand Council of Zurich decided to completely abolish the Rheinau monastery.

The last abbot donated his abbot to the young archabbey of Beuron . The older late Gothic staff went to the Archabbey of St. Meinrad, founded in Spencer County in 1854 . The monastery archive was incorporated into the state archive of the Canton of Zurich . A cantonal sanatorium and nursing home was set up in the convent buildings in 1867. The later cantonal psychiatric clinic was closed at the end of 2000.

Buildings and inventory

Monastery church

The west facade with the still unpainted tower domes

Franz Beer was responsible for the construction of the church , the other buildings were built by Johann Michael Beer .

The frescos come from the Ticino painter Francesco Antonio Giorgioli from Meride. The stucco epitaphs for the abbots were made by the plasterers Pontian Gigel (who also stuccoed the sacristy), Michael Schnell and Franz Schmuzer .

The pulpit created in 1756 Constance sculptor Johann Reindl (whether of the same name Stamser is identical sculptor, has not yet been established. Abt Januaris I. Dangel of Beromünster left him in 1744 make a Nepomuk statue that bears his coat of arms and Ofteringen stands).

The wrought-iron choir grilles come from the Constance locksmiths Hans Jörg Allweiler and Franz Scheuermann . The altarpiece of the Marien Altar comes from Franz Carl Stauder , the father of Jacob Carl Stauder , and that of the Basilius Altar from the Constance court painter Franz Ludwig Hermann .

The sculptor Johann Josef Auer created, among other things, the carvings for the baptismal font and other carvings, such as the Fintan's grave based on a design by the painter Hans Martin Lampard from Tiengen. The Fintan altar, the console of the choir organ and the standing figures on the choir stalls were created by the sculptor Anton Joseph Schupp from Villingen .

Several renovations have taken place since 1952. 1973–1991 the church was renovated. The last renovation of the towers with painting of the tower domes was completed in 2009.


The main organ was built between 1711 and 1715 by the Augsburg organ builder Johann Christoph Leo . In 1840/41 the organ was rebuilt by the organ builder Friedrich Haas in such a way that the baroque instrument became an early romantic instrument. The first restoration took place in 1941 by the Kuhn organ workshop . A second restoration in 1988–1990 restored the original condition from 1715.

The choir organ, built by Johann Christoph Albrecht in 1710 , was largely rebuilt in 1746 by Johann Conrad Speisegger . After the abolition of the monastery, this organ soon became unplayable and partly looted. After an initial restoration in 1944/45, it was overhauled more thoroughly in 1990/91 by the Kuhn organ workshop with the aim of restoring it to its condition from 1746.


The monastery church has a historical six-part bell:

number volume Caster Place and year of casting
1 d ′ Niklaus Oberacker Constance 1500
2 G' Niklaus Oberacker Constance 1500
3 ais ′ Initials and 14th Century
4th c ′ ′ Niklaus Oberacker Constance 1516
5 cis ′ ′ Carl Rosenlächer Constance 1830
6th d ′ ′ Niklaus Oberacker Constance 1517

Bell 2 is called the Apostle or Peter Bell, Bell 5 is the Mary Bell and Bell 6 is called Osanna. The bell 1 weighs about 2,150 kg.

Former library and archive

In the Middle Ages theological works predominated, in the early modern acquisitions the historical subjects. The holdings of liturgica, books of hours and prayer books continued to be maintained, but apart from philosophy, theology and canon law, books from the fields of church, monastery, aristocratic, local and Swiss history were added, as well as from the natural sciences and numismatics , Heraldry , genealogy and hagiography . Particularly noteworthy is the private library of the conventual Georg Sebastian Harzer von Salenstein from Constance, which was integrated into the monastery library and bequeathed it to the monastery in 1611.

Among the rare books of the library were alongside manuscripts such as the Codex Rhenaugensis , the gradual Rhenaugensis for the measurement singing more Gregorian manuscripts and about 300 publications from the 15th century, including six unique items , as well as the well-known only in four copies Missale speciale (formerly Constantiense) . These works from the beginnings of printing relate to school lessons, theology and monastic life. They were specially categorized as early as the 18th century and cataloged by Father Blasius Hauntinger (1762–1826), brother of Johann Nepomuk Hauntinger .

Father Joseph Anton Franz Hohenbaum van der Meer (1718–1795) became known as a historian . The sciences as well as music and theater were also cultivated. The medieval library with manuscripts and early prints and an art cabinet were famous . The historiographer and book collector Georg Wilhelm Zapf also visited the St. Blasien monastery and the Rheinau monastery on his research trips and reports on them in his book: Journeys to some monasteries in Swabia, through the Black Forest and Switzerland. In the year 1781. Whatever information is given about libraries, antiquities, history and the state of literature in general ; it was published in 1786 by Johann Jakob Palm in Erlangen.

The monastery library was dissolved in 1864, and a large part of the printed and manuscripts were transferred to the Zurich canton library , where 270 medieval codices , almost 1,000 modern manuscripts and around 13,000 prints, including 306 incunabula from the Rheinau monastery, are located today . The document books and files came into the State Archives of the Canton of Zurich .

Wine cellar

Agriculture and viticulture were important for the maintenance of the monastery. The monastery has a large wine cellar, which is still used today as such by the Zurich State Winery .


In the years 1727 to 1729, the so-called Mühlesaalbau was built under Abbot Gerold II. It was built by the builder Michael Beer based on a design by Peter Thumb . Before that there was a mill building from 1559. Abbot Heinrich Schenk von Kastell (1555–1559) had this built. A six-meter-high ballroom extending over two floors was provided with stucco work by Jacob Appiani (Porto Ceresio) in 1729 ; Jakob Stauder created the ceiling painting.

In the course of the conversion measures for the complex, the hall was divided into two floors between 1862 and 1867, paintings and stucco were lost. The double-winged door to the ballroom with inlay decoration was preserved and restored in 1977/1978 . Its original dimensions, but not painting and stucco due to a lack of traces, are to be restored by 2017.


The building is a successful composition of numerous artists and craftsmen, involved in the creation of works of art were (as usual) also gifted lay brothers of the monastery; the inlaid parament cupboards in the sacristy come from the monastery joinery.


Farm shop
Staatskellerei Zurich

Since March 2003, the tradition of monastic life on the monastery island of Rheinau has been revived with the arrival of the Sisters of the Spiritual Path Community , a young Catholic religious order . The sisters enable their guests in the "House of Silence" to have days of contemplation and participation in monastic life. The former monastery church is used as a parish church. The associated parish is responsible for 394 Catholics (as of 2017).

Dominik Lauchenauer from Jeunesses Musicales de Suisse had the idea of ​​realizing a national music center in the monastery. He worked out a detailed business plan with a room concept. As of May 2014, his idea of ​​running a music center including a hotel will be realized on the monastery island, with orchestras, choirs and music groups, e.g. B. is open for concert preparations, musical competitions and seminars . This project, which is supported by the “Schweizer Musikinsel Rheinau” foundation , will be financed two thirds by the canton and one third by a private donation from Christoph Blocher . Originally a home economics school, a restaurant and a museum were also to be set up.

The former outbuildings of the monastery on Klosterplatz, the "guest house", stables, monastery barn, cellar and residential houses have been used by the Fintan Foundation with various businesses (social therapy, biodynamic agriculture Gut Rheinau, etc.) since 1999 . In the former monastery garden , Sativa Rheinau AG propagates organic seeds and breeds new types of vegetables. New grape varieties for ecological viticulture are tested in a grape variety garden.

In the years 2003–2005, parts of the outbuildings were renovated by the Fintan Foundation and cantonal agencies. a. the former “Kaisersaal” in the “guest house” was restored according to historical models (wall paintings).


Founding saga

“It was in the early days of the All Saints' Abbey when a rich and distinguished nobleman fished in the Rhine near the shipyard there. This quiet activity in the warmth of the midday sun made him sleepy; he steered his boat into the reeds of a nearby bay, drew in the oars, lay down in the boat, and fell into a gentle slumber. Now the gurgling game of the waves gently loosened the gondola from the bank and led it out into the current. Then the boat with the sleeping fisherman drove quickly downstream, over rocks and cliffs towards the thundering Rhine Falls . And as it tore the boat down into the foaming, surging waves, the nobleman woke up with certain death in mind. He passed out in the boat. When the fisherman opened his eyes, he found his craft an hour below the Rhine Falls on the lonely bank; a deep feeling of gratitude overcame him. At the point where he was given his life for the second time, he founded the Rheinau Benedictine Abbey, which he was richly gifted. "

- HW Mayer (Ed.): Home book for the district of Waldshut , Verlag R. Philipp, Waldshut 1926, p. 223.

List of Abbots of Rheinau

Terracotta coat of arms Abbot Bonaventura II von Lacher at the Rheinauer Amtshaus in Rheinheim
Coat of arms of the Rheinau monastery and Abbot Johann Theobald Werlin von Greiffenberg on the tithe barn of the Rheinau monastery in Rheinheim
  • Antwarth, 850
  • Wolven I., 858-878
  • Wiehram, 879-888
  • Gozbert, 888-912
  • Rupertus, 912-934
  • St. Conrad I., 934-972
  • Wipract, 975-977
  • Sigehart, 978-985
  • Adalbract, 985-993
  • Notker , 993-1010
  • Burkard I., 1010-1026
  • Birthilo, 1026-1040
  • Richardus, 1040-1060
  • Gerungus, 1060-1084
  • Cuno (von Petershausen ) 1084-1098
  • Wolven II, 1098-1105
  • Otto, 1105-1124
  • Dietmar, 1125-1140
  • Otmar, 1140-1157
  • Diethelm von Krenkingen , 1157–1161
  • Heinrich I, 1161-1206
  • Heinrich II., 1206-1233
  • Burkart II, 1233-1241
  • Hermannus, 1241-1243
  • Eberhard I., 1243-1247
  • Berchtold von Falkenstein , 1248–1271
  • Konrad II. Von Herten , 1271–1302
  • Henry III. von Aitlingen, 1302-1329
  • Henry IV of Neuchâtel , 1329–1351
  • Heinrich V of Aitlingen, 1351–1377
  • Conrad III. Mayer, von Jestetten , 1380-1404
  • Conrad IV of Bissingen 1404–1409
  • Heinrich IV of Bettmaringen , 1409
  • Hugo, von Almishofen, 1409–1434
  • Johannes von Kummer, 1434–1439
  • Eberhard II von Schwager, (von Schaffhausen ), 1439–1465
  • Nikolaus Rüegger, from Winterthur , 1466–1478
  • Lorenz von Reischach , 1478–1483
  • Johann Conrad, von Grießen , 1483–1498
  • Henry VII of Mandach , 1498–1529
  • Bonaventure von Wellenberg , 1529–1555
  • Johann Heinrich Schenk von Castell , 1555–1559
  • Michael Herster, from Zug, 1559–1565
  • Johann Theobald Werlin, von Greiffenberg , 1565–1598
  • Gerold Zurlauben, von Zug , 1598–1607
  • Ulrich Koch, von Wil, 1607–1613
  • Eberhard III. von Bernhausen -Kempten, 1613–1642
  • Bernhard I of Freyburg – Rheinau, 1642–1682
  • Basilius Iten, von Unterägeri , 1682–1697
  • Gerold II. Zurlauben , von Zug, 1697–1735
  • Benedikt Ledergerber, von Wil, 1735–1744
  • Bernhard II. Rusconi of Lucerne , 1744–1753
  • Romanus Effinger von Einsiedeln, 1753–1758
  • Januarius I. Dangel von Beromünster , 1758–1775
  • Bonaventure II. Lacher, von Einsiedeln , 1775–1789
  • Bernhard III. Meyer von Schauensee, 1789–1805
  • Januarius II. Frey, von Zurzach , 1805–1831
  • Januarius III. Schaller, from Friborg , 1831–1859
  • Leodegar Ineichen, from Urswil – Hochdorf , 1859–1862 († 1876) «Ultimus Abbas»

Clinic directors


See also


Web links

Commons : Rheinau Abbey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. sueddeutscher-barock.ch
  2. ^ Emil Müller-Ettikon : Brief overview of the history of Küssaberg , Ed .: Municipality of Küssaberg, 1981, p. 97 f.
  3. ^ Giovanni Piffaretti: Francesco Antonio Giorgioli. Pittore di Meride 1655-1725. Armando Dadò Editore, Locarno 1998, ISBN 88-86315-90-2 .
  4. ^ Elisabeth Keller-Schweizer: Francesco Antonio Giorgioli. A contribution to the history of Swiss baroque painting. Atlantis, Zurich 1972, ISBN 3-7611-0399-9 .
  5. Gert Ammann: The sculptor Johann Reindl from Stams . (PDF)
  6. Rheinau Monastery Church, restoration of the towers, inauguration documentation ( memento of the original from June 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.hochbauamt.zh.ch
  7. ↑ Main organ of the monastery church
  8. ^ Choir organ of the monastery church
  9. ^ Bells ringing in the monastery church in Rheinau
  10. ^ Website of the Staatskellerei Zurich
  11. Zürcher Denkmalpflege, 9th report 1977/78, Part I. (PDF) pp. 141, 146. On the website of the Office for Spatial Development of the Canton of Zurich; accessed on February 17, 2016.
  12. The mill hall is being restored. ( Memento of the original from February 17, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) From: Andelfinger Zeitung , April 4, 2015, accessed on February 17, 2016. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.impulsmittelschule.ch
  13. Spiritual fellowship
  14. Catholic Church in the Canton of Zurich: Annual Report 2017. p. 84.
  15. ^ Foundation website , accessed April 19, 2014.
  16. Blocher sponsors the music center on the Rheinau monastery island. NZZ Online June 22, 2009, accessed April 19, 2014.
  17. Website of the Fintan project ( Memento of the original dated December 2, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed September 28, 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.fintan.ch

Coordinates: 47 ° 38 ′ 32 "  N , 8 ° 36 ′ 30"  E ; CH1903:  687896  /  277,496