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Altötting, Monastery of


Famous place of pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady, located in Upper Bavaria near the Austrian frontier, in the present Diocese of Passau, former Diocese of Salzburg. The name "Oetting" is said to derive etymologically from Otto, name of a Bavarian leader baptized by St. rupert of salzburg (c. 700); the prefix Alt -(Old) was added in 1231 to distinguish the original structure from the new church built at that time. It is estimated that more than 600,000 pilgrims a year now visit the Holy Chapel (Gnadenkapelle ) at Altötting, which contains the 13th-century statue of Our Lady of Grace (about 26 inches high, of linden wood, vested in jewel-studded robes).

The chapel, octagonal in shape and possibly modeled on the cathedral at aachen, was enlarged (14991511) by a small nave and arcade. Among its art treasures, special mention should be made of the "Golden Horse," a work of French Gothic workmanship dating from c. 1400. Attached to the Bavarian ducal palace in the Carolingian period, the Holy Chapel was endowed in 876 by King Carloman of Bavaria (d. 880), who erected a Benedictine monastery and church adjacent to it. In 907 the chapel survived the attack of the Hungarians that destroyed the Benedictine foundation. Nothing further is known of it until 1231, when Duke Louis the "Kelheimer" founded a new collegiate church there; the provost and the chapter of canons were in charge of pilgrimages until 1803, when they were suppressed.

Present-day religious houses in Altötting include St. Mary Magdalene, which has been served successively by Jesuits (15911773), secular priests (17731841), Redemptorists (18411873), and now the Capuchins. St. Anne was a Franciscan friary from 1653 to 1803, when it became a provincial house of Capuchins, who were put in charge of the pilgrimages. St. conrad of parzham (d. 1894) was lay-brother and porter at this Capuchin friary. St. Anne's new church, built in 1911, was made a minor basilica in 1913. The Mary Ward Sisters (Englische Fräulein ) and the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Cross both have their mother houses there; the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul have been in Altötting since 1862.

Bibliography: l. boiteux, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 2:834841. h. geiselberger, Der Gnadenort Altötting (6th ed. Altötting 1950). h. m. gillett, Famous Shrines of Our Lady, 2 v. (Westminster, Md. 1952) v.2. m. a. kÖnig, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:404405.

[m. f. mccarthy]

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