St. Peter Abbey (Salzburg)

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Benedictine - Abbey St. Peter to Salzburg

The St. Peter Abbey , also known as the Archabbey of St. Peter (Latin Archiabbatia sancti Petri Salisburgensis ) in Salzburg , is the oldest existing monastery of the Austrian Benedictine Congregation and in the German-speaking area in general. The monks live according to the Benedictine rule .


St. Peter in Salzburg was founded or revived by St. Rupert around 696 for a mission in the Southeast Alps. Finds of wall remains under the altar of today's collegiate church, which were dated to the fifth century, suggest that already at the time of St. Severin there was a first church building at this point, which was probably built by a small Romanesque monastic community and renovated and expanded by Rupert. Until 987, the office of bishop was linked to that of abbot through personal union, but despite the separation of the two offices that took place in that year, St. Peter remained the residence of the Salzburg archbishop until 1110.

In the Middle Ages, the Sankt Peter Abbey was primarily known for its excellent writing school. It is also the mother monastery of the Admont Benedictine Abbey in Styria. In 1074 12 monks were sent from St. Peter to Admont to begin a monastic life there. In the 15th century, the monastery joined the Melker Reform . Archbishop Paris von Lodron established the Benedictine University of Salzburg in 1622 , which was closely connected to the monastery until it was abolished in 1810.

Figure of Christ from 1925 in the building of Jacob Adlhart's preparatory college

Abbot Petrus Klotz's efforts to establish a Catholic university were rewarded in 1926 with the establishment of the Benedictine college, the St. Benedict college - a process that would later lead to the re-establishment of the University of Salzburg. In 1927 St. Peters was elevated to the status of an archabbey . During the time of National Socialist rule, the monks were expelled, but the monastery was not abolished. The monks returned after the war. Most recently, after the brief abbatiate of Archabbot Bruno Becker (2009-10), Fr Benedikt Röck OSB was the administrator of the Archabbey from April 2010 to April 2013.

On January 30, 2013, the convent of the Abbey elected Prior Korbinian Birnbacher as the new Archabbot of St. Peter. He received the abbot's benediction from the Archbishop of Salzburg on April 21, 2013 in the collegiate church . The monastery currently has 22 monks (as of September 2019).

See also: List of Abbots of St. Peter Abbey

Collegiate church

The first monastery church of St. Peter was built around 696 when Rupert (Hruodpert) renewed the Romanesque monastery community that has presumably existed there since late antiquity. The core of today's church goes back to a building that was built in 1125–1143 and consecrated in 1147. The mighty church tower, which was Romanized around 1400, dates back to the 9th century.

The main organ was created on the rood screen by the Mainz organ builder Heinrich Traxdorf in 1444 . The Gothic ribbed vaults are preserved in the vestibule. In the Renaissance style , the church itself was redesigned in 1605/06, vaulted in 1619/20 and given a slim crossing dome in 1622. The unmistakable baroque onion dome was built under Abbot Seeauer in 1756. The two high altars are essentially designed by Martin Johann Schmidt ("Kremser-Schmidt"). Also known is the Maria-Säul-Altar with a Madonna from 1425. The interior of the church is new in rococo style from 1760–66 with Roccaille stucco and ceiling paintings with rich rococo decoration with the collaboration of Franz Xaver König , Lorenz Härmbler , Johann Högler , Benedikt Zöpf and others designed, whereby the old Romanesque building structure remains clearly recognizable. The large, magnificent rococo grille (church grille) was designed by Philipp Hinterseer.

The chapels in the church are the Wolfgang Chapel and the Heiliggeistkapelle.

The small Katharinenkapelle (Mariazeller Chapel), founded in 1215 by Duke Leopold VI. , is attached to the southern cross arm of the church and was consecrated in 1227. It has groin vaults. The rococo stucco work from 1792 was made by Peter Pflauders.

The nearby Marienkapelle (formerly called St. Vitus's Chapel), built into the St. Peter's monastery district, has retained its Gothic spirit in its entirety. It is probably the oldest preserved Gothic building in the city. Abbot Johannes Staupitz († 1524), who was once the superior of the order (as a former Augustinian ) of Martin Luther , is buried here.

Abbey parish churches


Look through the cell library

St. Peter houses the oldest library in Austria. The most precious of the 800 manuscripts is the Book of Brotherhood , which was created in 784 by Bishop Virgil. Through continuous expansion, the library has grown to 100,000 volumes, with works on Benedictine monasticism , medieval church history, art history and Salisburgensia form the main focus of the collection. The incunabula and early prints as well as the collection of graphics with the collection of devotional pictures by Father Gregor Reitlechner and the map collection form special holdings.

In 1768 Abbot Beda Seeauer had the cell library redesigned in the Rococo style. It was restored in 1999 and is only accessible with special permission. The library can be used by appointment.

In November 2006, parts of the library holdings that were duplicated were sold to various libraries, collectors and universities in Austria and Germany.


The archive is used to manage the monastery and to research its history. It contains written records from the 8th to the 20th century and includes the following collections:

  • Series of documents: approx. 4,300 documents up to the year 1700
  • Manuscript series A: Chronicles, diaries, chapter protocols, visitations, foundations, necrologists and Roteln , inventories, account books, etc. a. m.
  • Hand Series B: official records of the basic rule ( Urbare , Basic Books, Business Books of Hofrichter).
  • Files: documents and correspondence of the abbots, the conventuals, the treasury and other administrative offices of the monastery; Manorial Acts
  • Collections: photos, maps and plans.

Music archive

Due to the contact with important Salzburg musicians, St. Peter has an important, also autograph tradition with works by Johann Ernst Eberlin , Anton Cajetan Adlgasser , Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Johann Michael Haydn , Sigismund von Neukomm , Robert Führer and Karl Santner .

Collegiate Music St. Peter

The monastery of St. Peter has always been famous for its musical and cultural work. The collegiate music and the collegiate choir of St. Peter contribute significantly to the design and framing of church festivals. Mainly works by Haydn, WA Mozart and others (including contemporary composers) are performed. Mozart's Great Mass in C minor was supposed to be performed here, probably on October 26, 1783 with his wife Constanze as soprano soloist.

Museum St. Peter and other collections

As part of the DomQuartier Salzburg museum complex, which opened in May 2014, a representative selection of art treasures from the Benedictine monastery will be shown for the first time in the new St. Peter Museum , presented using the latest exhibition technology. You can see selected objects from the archive and library as well as the extensive monastery collections: devotional picture collection, photo collection, painting collection, graphic collection, church treasure, handicrafts, mineral collection, furniture depot, musical instrument collection, coin cabinet, natural history cabinet (not usable) and a multimedia presentation of today's monastic life in the archabbey .

Institute in St. Peter

In order to give German-speaking Benedictines the opportunity to continue their education in monastic topics, the Salzburg Abbots' Conference established the Institute for Benedictine Studies in 2000 . It is used to research the Rule of Saint Benedict ( Regula Benedicti ) and to hold courses. Dr. Sr. Michaela Puzicha OSB.

Through the work of Father Adalbero Raffelsberger, St. Peter is one of the early places of liturgical renewal in Austria. In 2001 the Liturgical Institute was affiliated to the Austrian Bishops' Conference .


The restaurant within the monastery walls is called Stiftskulinarium St. Peter and claims to be the oldest restaurant in Central Europe due to its documentary mention in 803 .


With its " catacombs " the oldest preserved architectural achievements of Salzburg can be found in the cemetery attached to the monastery. A large number of chapels also make the cemetery one of the most impressive in Central Europe.

Commercial enterprises

In accordance with the Benedictine tradition, the Archabbey of St. Peter is also the sponsor of extensive commercial operations:

  • Catering establishments
  • Aiglhof nursery
  • Publishing house St. Peter
  • Stift and Salzach mill
  • Rental of apartments and commercial properties
  • Agriculture
  • forestry


  • Korbinian Birnbacher OSB: Benedictine Archabbey of St. Peter in Salzburg. History - Spirituality - Culture , Verlag St. Peter, Salzburg 1996.
  • Petrus Eder: St. Peter (Salzburg). In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 4, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-7001-3046-5 .
  • Saint Peter in Salzburg. The oldest monastery in the German-speaking area. Treasures of European art and culture. Catalog of the 3rd national exhibition from May 15 to October 26, 1982. With the collaboration of Valentin Kunnert. Edited by Heinz Dopsch and Roswitha Juffinger. Special show of the Cathedral Museum in Salzburg. 7. - Salzburg: Office of the Salzburg provincial government, cultural department 1982.
  • Pericopes of St. Peter. Complete facsimile edition of Cod. 15903 of the Bavarian State Library in Munich . Comment from Martina Pippal . Academic Printing and Publishing Company , Graz 2016. ISBN 978-3-201-02010-7

Web links

Commons : Stift Sankt Peter  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Website of the Stiftskeller St. Peter ( memento from February 6, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  2. The Restaurant - St. Peter Stiftskeller - The Restaurant in Salzburg ( Memento of the original from April 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / 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. ,
  3. Wirtschaftsbetriebe von St. Peter

Coordinates: 47 ° 47 ′ 49 ″  N , 13 ° 2 ′ 45 ″  E