Geras Abbey

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Geras Abbey
Aerial view
Aerial view
Aerial view
Geras Abbey
Monastery courtyard
Garden side of the pen

The Geras is a convent the Prämonstratenser (OPraem) in Gera in Lower Austria , district horn .


The monastery was in 1153 as a daughter house of Seelau by Ekbert and Ulrich von Pernegg founded and Seelauer canons settled. It formed a double monastery with the Pernegg women's monastery ten kilometers away . The monastery in Geras was partly built on an old Slavic burial ground, and the name probably comes from the Slavic (Jerus?).

The pin was after the extinction of the counts of Pernegg a Passauerstraße own convent. Until the establishment of the diocese of St. Pölten (under Emperor Joseph II ) it was in the territory of the diocese of Passau. For most of its history it belonged to the Bohemian Circari of the Premonstratensian Order.

In the last war between King Ottokar II. Přemysl and Rudolf von Habsburg (1278) the monastery was plundered and destroyed, after which it was completely impoverished. Between 1419 and 1436 the Hussites passed through Geras several times and in November 1486 the Hungarians occupied Geras and Pernegg (also Zwettl and Allentsteig).

On June 22nd, 1542, King Ferdinand I gave the Geras monastery a coat of arms, it shows a shield carved in green and red countless numbers.

During the Reformation the monastery was only nominally Catholic and went through a crisis. After all, the monastery and town of Geras were plundered several times during the Thirty Years' War and set on fire by Mansfeld troops in 1620. A few canons returned to the ruins from Strahov Abbey (Prague) in 1625 and began the reconstruction under Abbot Benedict Lachen (also Lacken or Laachen) from Westphalia .

Already under Abbot Peter II. Herkart and especially under Abbot Johannes Westhaus, who was the second founder, not only was the monastery rebuilt during the war, but also the depopulated area was repopulated.

The “new building” of the monastery with the main facade facing the place; erected 1736–1740

At the beginning of the 18th century the collegiate church burned out, of the old furnishings mainly a confessional from the time of Johannes Westhaus has been preserved. Under Abbot Nikolaus Zandt, who from 1730 to 1746 brought artistic personalities such as Joseph Munggenast as an architect and Paul Troger as a fresco artist to the Waldviertel , the current appearance was essentially created. The damage was repaired, extensions and redesigns made.

The Austrian War of Succession (1740–1748) also passed Geras in 1742.

In the second half of the 18th century, the monastery also reached a size of over 50 canons. This bloom was ended by Emperor Joseph II , who abolished the Pernegg monastery, limited the number of canons in Geras (numerus clausus), handed over the parishes of the Pernegg monastery to the Geras monastery and ordered the establishment of a number of new parishes. Geras Abbey has also owned the buildings of the former Pernegg Abbey since the mid-19th century.

In 1848 the land rule of the Geras monastery ended and in 1866 the Austro-Prussian war also affected the monastery. This was followed by the seizure by the National Socialists , the Second World War and the Russian occupation, all of which put a strain on Geras Abbey.

From 1990 to 1994 the monastery buildings and gardens were completely renovated.

When it was founded, the facility was relatively large, but today it is one of the smaller monasteries in Austria. Important art courses that have had some influence on contemporary artists have been held in Geras for years. In the Pernegg Monastery, which was closed in 1783, a fasting and seminar center has been operated by the Geras Monastery since 1995.

Since the Middle Ages, the Geras Abbey has been operating a fishing industry in nearby waters. Some fish ponds were already created in the Middle Ages. There is also one of the oldest fish chillers in use.

In 1989 the cathedral in Fritzlar ( Germany ) was re-founded, which was dissolved by the abbot in 2010 - after cases of abuse had been discovered by a confrere at the time and the abbey therefore saw the need to repeal. Another start-up "São Norberto" in Itinga-Bahia ( Brazil ) became independent in 2009.

The Canons of Geras Abbey currently look after 23 parishes (some of them since the founding time): Blumau / Wild , Drosendorf , Eibenstein , Geras , Göpfritz / Wild , Harth , Japons , Kirchberg / Wild , Langau , Niklasberg , Nondorf / Wild , Oberhöflein , Pernegg , Pleissing , Sallapulka , Trabenreith , Walkenstein , Weikertschlag , Weitersfeld , Zissersdorf in the immediate vicinity, plus others in the diocese of St. Pölten and the archdiocese of Berlin.

The current, 57th prelate of the Geras Abbey is Abbot Michael II. Karl Proházka (* 1956). The monastery currently has 20 Premonstratensians (as of January 31, 2015).

Monastery building

Ceiling fresco
by Paul Troger (1738)
The ceiling fresco in the marble hall was painted in 1738 by the Austrian painter Paul Troger . It shows the marvelous multiplication of bread described as "feeding the five thousand" in the Gospel of Matthew in chapters 14: 13-21 .
Paul Troger's signature of the ceiling fresco in the marble hall
Detail of the ceiling fresco in the Marble Hall: The wonderful multiplication of bread by Paul Troger (1738)
Detail of the ceiling fresco in the Marble Hall: The wonderful multiplication of bread by Paul Troger (1738)
Detail of the ceiling fresco in the Marble Hall: The wonderful multiplication of bread by Paul Troger (1738)
by Josef Winterhalder
The library with frescoes by Josef Winterhalder from the beginning of the 19th century.
The library with frescoes by Josef Winterhalder from the beginning of the 19th century.
The library with frescoes by Josef Winterhalder from the beginning of the 19th century.
The library with frescoes by Josef Winterhalder from the beginning of the 19th century.
The library in the Geras Abbey.
Multi-use furniture in the library - here as a staircase for removing books.
Multi-use furniture in the library - here as seating for reading books.

One of the treasures of the monastery is the so-called marble hall built under Abbot Nikolaus Zandt, above the main portal. The ceiling is adorned with a magnificent, signed fresco by Paul Troger , which depicts the wonderful multiplication of bread (1738), the walls are made of high-quality stucco marble . The ceiling fresco has never been cleaned or restored, but that doesn't detract from the bright colors. There are also oil paintings by Troger above the two chimneys (which also contain small reliefs by Schletterer's hand). On the edge of the ceiling is one of Troger's few signatures.

In the Compendiata Notitia super Gerusium a Praelatis relicta there is a reference to a possible activity of Johann Jakob Zeiller in the Geras Abbey, but it is certain that he worked in a parish of the Abbey. The reference could refer to the architectural paintings of the Troger fresco, since Zeiller was Troger's architectural painter at that time.

The exterior facade of the entrance to the monastery, over which the marble hall is located, was sculpted by Jakob Christoph Schletterer , who - among other things - created a group of figures of the divine virtues (faith, love and hope) that surrounds the portal, as do the festive stairs .

Five historical color schemes from different epochs were found in the staircase, of which the original Baroque version was restored on the walls. The local fresco Triumph of Wisdom and Moderation by Paul Troger was lost due to a collapse around 1870 with the exception of a few remains.

The hall, the former summer refectory , is part of the new building erected between 1736 and 1740 , which was renovated on the occasion of the 850th anniversary according to old views and comparisons with other buildings by Munggenast. The west facade of the collegiate church and the staircase were also renovated.

Other interesting art treasures of the monastery are the library with frescoes by Josef Winterhalder from the beginning of the 19th century, the abbot gallery and a cycle of 35 large-format paintings depicting the life of the order's founder Norbert von Xanten . There are also magnificent wrought iron bars and a larger than life statue of Minerva (Pallas Athene), the Greco-Roman goddess of wisdom, in the niche at the foot of the staircase. There are also some exposed frescoes (e.g. in the "Rose Room") and various Gothic spoils .

The Abbot Gallery was commissioned by Abbot Nikolaus Zandt from Johann Jakob Pischl in 1731, as there was no complete gallery until now. The canons of the monastery stood as models, each of which could be identified by means of a detail in the picture.

Albrecht Steiner von Felsburg , originally from Vienna, used Troger's draft, which shows Minerva, who was accompanied by virtues and was intended for the stairwell at Stift Geras, as a template for the new execution of Troger's dome painting in Brixen Cathedral .

Collegiate church

The collegiate church
View of the collegiate church
The interior of the church.
The organ
King David at the organ

The collegiate church is a Romanesque pillar basilica that was later Gothicized. Window openings from Romanesque and Gothic times can still be seen above the baroque vault . The choir has a Gothic 3/8 end. The high altar is free-standing according to the rules of the Premonstratensians, as are the altars in the side aisles.

After several fires, the collegiate church with the patronage of the Birth of Mary was baroque in the 18th century by Joseph Munggenast as the architect and the fresco painter Franz Zoller (1726–1779), including a depiction of the Lauretan litany in the vault. There are also paintings of the twelve apostles ( nave ) and paintings of six saints of the Premonstratensian (choir) in the church.

The high altar with a painting of St. Norbert receives the scapular from the patroness Maria through the rule father Augustine . In addition, the miraculous image of the Geraser Madonna from the 15th century can be seen. Its current condition is based on the 1914 color version, which is very similar to the original 1731.

The rear side altars in the nave show Augustine and Norbert - the assumption that the paintings were by Bartolomeo Altomonte cannot be proven. - the front ones, the baptism of Jesus and Nikolaus von Myra, saving a boy from the hands of robbers - recently attributed to Maulbertsch again. There is also a baroque sacristy (under the Byzantine chapel).

In the side aisles there are two further altars (a Barbara altar in the north and a cross altar in the south). The altarpiece of the cross altar is by Josef Hauzinger (1756), on the wall to the left of the cross altar is a coat of arms of the Lords of Kottaun (Kattau?) From the 14th century.

The pulpit is made of stucco marble and was created by Johann Ignaz Hennevogel .

In 1953 she was given the title of minor basilica .

Between 1990 and 1994 the church was extensively renovated and also received a new popular altar by Thomas O. Munz .

Byzantine chapel

A newly established Byzantine ( Greek Catholic ) chapel on the upper floor of the south aisle was opened on January 25, 2010 by the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III. Dedicated Laham from Damascus.


The organ of the collegiate church was made in 1731 by Ignaz Jakob Florian Casparides. After a renovation in 1842 by Franz Ullmann, it was restored by the company Blank (Herwijnen / NL) as part of the church renovation from 1993 to 1995. The instrument has 19  registers , some of the pipes are still original.


The collegiate church has the following bells:

Casting year
Foundry, casting location
1 Augustine 1994 Grassmayr , Innsbruck 146 1850 of'
2 Maria (west house bell) 1668 Stephan Mollot, Lorraine traveling caster 115 800 it'
3 Norbert 1994 Grassmayr, Innsbruck 116 950 f '
4th Peter and Paul 1949 Pfundner , Vienna 100 576 as'
5 Joseph 1994 Grassmayr, Innsbruck 86 370 b '
6th Monika (death knell) 1994 Grassmayr, Innsbruck 71 220 of"

Bulk box

Hopper from Geras

The bulk box was built as a granary for the monastery. Between 1978 and 1980 the Schüttkasten was redesigned into a hotel with 70 rooms under Abbot Joachim Angerer . The hotel has been sold to a private investor. Today the hotel is the seat of the Geras Academy .

The bulk box is a three-story structure. The longitudinal outer walls have framed wide windows and cartridge windows on the gable walls . At the top of the gable there are figures of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist . The originals are in Geras Abbey. The roof was designed as a saddle roof with a roof house.

The so-called Schüttkastenmadonna , a polychromed high relief of the Madonna with the child, carried by two angels, stands in a niche above the entrance facing the city on the south side of the building . The Eggenburg stonemason Thomas Steinböckh is named as a possible creator of this representation. Among them are the coats of arms of the Geras monastery and the abbot Johannes Westhaus, under whose direction the bulk box was built between 1668 and 1670 on a hill above the monastery.

The basement of the bulk box was built as a two-aisled cellar with square pillars and groin vaults. The ground floor had slimmer stone pillars, while wooden pillars with saddle wood and wooden beam ceilings were used on the upper floors.


West view of the Meierhof

The Meierhof belonging to the monastery is located around 350 m north of the monastery and is built on a plot of land rising to the east. After a fire in 1643 it was rebuilt in the form of a four-wing complex. The gate tower is built in the west, has a barrel-vaulted entrance and is dated 1666. At the approach there is a Mater Dolorosa statue on a composite column from the 2nd half of the 17th century.

useful information

  • Geras Abbey is the oldest uninterrupted male monastery of the order.
  • Geras Abbey is a daughter of the Seelau Abbey , which in turn is a daughter of Steinfeld Abbey and this is a daughter of Prémontré Abbey .
  • Stift Geras was shown on the 3.50 Schilling stamp of the Austrian definitive series “Stifte and Monasteries in Austria” , which was published from 1984 to 1992. Each stamp shows a different Austrian monastery or monastery.
  • The anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner reports about his father Johann Steiner (1829–1910): “My father spent his childhood and youth in Geras in close connection with the Premonstratensian pen. He always looked back on this time of his life with great love. "
  • Every year special exhibitions on special topics take place in the Geras Abbey, e.g. For example: Baroque art and architecture (across borders), mother-of-pearl (buttons made in the Waldviertel region) and the fire brigade in Lower Austria.

Monastery management

Head of the Geras Abbey

  first Mandevin (ca. 1153-1160)
  2. Thielmann I. (1160-1179)

  3. Paul I (1180-1186)
  4. Dietmar (1186-1199)
  5. Frederick I (1199-1225)
  6. John I (1226–1235)
  7. Florian (1235–1256)
  8. Ulrich (1256–1274)
  9. John II. (1274–1277)
10. Arnold (1277–1279)
11. Konrad (1280– 1298)
12. Petrus I (1298-1305)
13. Hermann I (1305-1310)
14. Gerhard (1310-1327)
15. Bernhard (1327-1335)
16. Johannes III. (1335–1342)
17. Thielmann I (1343–1348)
18. Wilhelm I (1348–1389)
19. John IV. (1389–1414)
20. Thielmann II. (1414–1432)
21. Wilhelm II. (1432–1446)
22. Friedrich II. (1446–1459)
23. John V (1459–1464)
24. Oswald (1464–1485)
25. Wenzel (1485–1500)
26. Vincent (1500–1502)
27 . Paul II. (1502–1527)
28. Erhard (1527–1547)
29. Balthasar (1547–1557)
30. Wenzel Johann Ruepl (1557–1558)
31. Gregor Setzenschlocken (1558–1563)
32. Urban Reader (1563 –1579)
      Balthasar Polzmann (1580–1584), administrator

33. Longin Haberler (1584–1598)
34. John VI. Beyrer (1598–1615)
      Valentin Springel (1615–1627), administrator
35. Benedikt Lachen (1627–1632)
36. Petrus II. Herkardt (1632–1650)
37. Johannes VII. Westhaus (1650–1674)
38. Friedrich III . Urtica (1674–1693)
39. Engelbert Hoffmayr (1693–1712)
40. Michael I. Wallner (1713–1729)
41. Nikolaus Zandt (1730–1746)
42. Paul III. Gratschmayr (1746–1780)
43. Andreas Hayder (1780–1786, resigned)
      Johann Nepomuk Marcus (1780–1786), Administrator
      Franz Xaver Mohr (1786–1790), Commendatary Abbot
      Johann Nepomuk Marcus and Gottfried Bauer (1790–1797)
44. Ignatz Carl Hörstelhofer (1797–1813)
45. Hugo Laurenz Pfennigbauer (1814–1829)
46. ​​Hermann II. Hohenheiser (1823–1829)
      Johann Peter Bayer (1829–1843)
      Franz Karl Schlegl (1843–1852)
47. Adolf Johann Heisinger (1852–1859)
48. Julius Eduard Plch (1859–1888)
49. Adrian Lambert Zach (1889–1916)
50. Ämilian Johann Greisel (1916–1926)
51. Ludolf I. Rudisch (1927–1930)
52. Friedrich IV Ferdinand Silberbauer (1931–1952)
53. Isfried Robert Franz (1952–1961)
54. Ludolf II. Karl Schuster (1961–1967)
      Alois Stöger (1967–1968), administrator
      Otto Johann Karasek (1968–1973), administrator
      Otto Johann Karasek (1973–1979), Prior de regimine
55. Otto Johann Karasek (1979–1985)
56. Joachim Fridolin Angerer (1986–2004, resigned)
      Martin Felhofer (2004–2007), Administrator
57. Michael II. K arl Proházka (2007–2018)
      Conrad Kurt Müller (2018–2020), Administrator
      Conrad Kurt Müller (2020–), Prior de regimine

Important canons of the Geras Abbey


  • Ambrózy, Johann Thomas / Pfiffig, Ambros Josef / Trumler, Gerhard: Geras Abbey and its art treasures . St. Pölten 1989.
  • Brunner, Sebastian (Ed.): A Canon Book . Wuerzburg 1883.
  • Fabian, Bernhard (Hrsg.): Handbook of the historical book inventory in Germany, Austria and Europe . Hildesheim 2003.
  • Franz, Isfried Robert: History of the Waldviertel Monastery Foundation Geras-Pernegg . Geras 1976, reprint.
  • Art and culture group Stift Geras (Ed.): Geraser Hefte . Geras 32.1994.
  • Mayr, Friederike: Studies on the baroque furnishings of the church of the Premonstratensian Canons of Geras . Vienna 2009.
  • Polleroß, Friedrich (ed.): Wanderlust and enjoyment of art. Baroque Bohemia, Moravia and Austria . Petersberg 2004.
  • Schweickhardt, Franz Xaver: "Representation of the Archduchy of Austria under the Ens: Through a comprehensive description of all ruins, castles, lordships, cities, markets, villages, Rotten c. C, Volume 4." 1840 pp. 228-257 Google Ebook
  • Tietze, Hans (arrangement): Austrian art topography. Vol. 5: The monuments of the political district Horn in Lower Austria. Part 1: The monuments of the judicial districts Eggenburg and Geras . Vienna 1911.
  • Castles, monasteries and palaces Waldviertel, Danube region, South Bohemia, Vysocina, South Moravia ISBN 978-3-9502262-2-5 , p. 30 ff

Web links

Commons : Stift Geras  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Byzantine Chapel ( Memento of the original from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,
  2. Gottfried Allmer: Organ landscape Waldviertel. Das Orgelforum (magazine of the Austrian Organ Forum Association) No. 9, Vienna 2006.
  3. ^ Jörg Wernisch: Bell customer of Austria . Journal-Verlag, Lienz 2006.
  4. Wehdorn: architectural monuments of technology
  5. ^ Dehio: Lower Austria, north of the Danube ; Berger Verlag , Horn / Vienna 2010, p. 201
  6. after Ambrózy / Pfiffig / Trumler: Geras Abbey and its art treasures. St. Pölten 1989
  7. Official notices. In: Website Stift Geras. Retrieved July 5, 2018 .
  8. Chapter chose Conrad Müller as prior. In: NÖN Edition Horn. February 10, 2020, accessed February 10, 2020 .

Coordinates: 48 ° 47 ′ 51 ″  N , 15 ° 40 ′ 24 ″  E