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Benediktbeuern, Abbey of


Benedictine abbey founded in the Bavarian Alps by Count Huosi, between 739 and 740, and consecrated by St. Boniface on Oct. 22, 742. Although pillaged by invading Magyars (955), Benediktbeuern (Buron, Beweren, Benedictoburum) was restored by the priest Wolford and staffed with a community of canons regular by St. ulric of augsburg (969). Benedictine rule was reinstated in 1031 by Abbot Ellinger and 11 monks from the neighboring Abbey of tegernsee. During the long term of Ellinger's successor, Abbot Gothelm (103262), the abbey was fully repaired, and its library was reorganized. In spite of fires (1248, 1377, 1378, 1490), it prospered and became a center of learning and also of pilgrimage, since it possessed a relic of St. Benedict given by Charlemagne, as well as a relic of St. Anastasia brought there by St. gottschalk in 1053. It received privileges from popes and kings and acquired princely status from Rudolph of Hapsburg; Abbot Ortholph II (127184) begins the list of prince-abbots. The abbey was depleted by the plague of 1611 and ransacked by the Swedes who invaded Germany under Gustavus Adolphus in 1632. At this time the monk Simon Speer was tortured and slain for refusing to surrender the goods of the monastery. Much of Benediktbeuern's fame rests with its impressive library. When catalogued (1736) by M. Ziegelbauer (d. 1750), it numbered 338 MSS and 30,000 volumes; 40,000 at the time of its suppression. It is here that the scholarly historian of the Bavarian Benedictines, C. Meichelbeck, worked. The church, rebuilt by Abbot Placidus (167290), is an example of Bavarian high baroque style and has frescoes by H. G. Asams (16491711). Benediktbeuern was suppressed by the government in 1803 and became successively a barracks and a military hospital; it is now a theological seminary for Salesian students.

Bibliography: o. l. kapsner, A Benedictine Bibliography: An Author-Subject Union List, 2 v. (2d ed. Callegeville, Minn. 1962) 2:190. p. volk, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 7:123536, list of abbots. k. mindera, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 2:183184. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:340341.

[e. d. mcshane]

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