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Einsiedeln, Abbey of


Benedictine abbey nullius dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits near Schwyz, Diocese of Chur, central Switzerland. St. meinrad came from reichenau c. 835 to live as a hermit in the forest there and was slain by robbers (861). Eberhart (934958) was the first abbot of a community under the Benedictine Rule. The Dukes of Swabia and the Ottos favored the abbey; Otto I granted it immunity and made the abbot a prince of the Empire. Under Gregory (964996) there was a famous school with St. wolfgang of regensburg. The abbey was destroyed by fire five times (10291577); and after a long struggle it lost half its territory to Schwyz (1350), which in 1424 replaced the Hapsburgs as advocati of Einsiedeln. The bishops of Constance contested exemptions of the abbey because of its famous pilgrimage until a compromise was reached (14521782). Restriction of novices to the nobility limited the monks to fewer than five after 1350, divine services and the care of pilgrims being entrusted to secular chaplains. Zwingli became a parish priest in Einsiedeln (151618). Abbot Ludwig Blarer (152644) introduced reform from sankt gallen, Joachim Eichorn (154469) restored the cloister, and Augustine Hofmann (160029) helped found the Swiss Benedictine congregation. Printing was introduced (1664), and Abbot Augustine Reding (167092) was a noted theologian. French troops plundered the abbey and destroyed the chapel (1798), but the monks returned (1801). Abbot Heinrich Schmid (184674) founded st. meinrad, New Subiaco, and Richardton in the U.S. In 1948 the Priory of Los Toldos was founded in Argentina. Pius X made Einsiedeln an abbey nullius (1907). The abbot ranks with bishops of the Swiss Bishops Conference.

The baroque convent was built (170418) after plans by Caspar Moosbrugger; the church (171926) was consecrated in 1735 and restored in 1840, 1911, and 1943. The abbey cares for 12 parishes, a theological school for monks, and colleges at Einsiedeln (320 pupils), Ascona in Ticino (200 pupils), and Pfäffikon (180 agricultural students); the four Benedictine nuns' monasteries under Einsiedeln include Fahr. Einsiedeln settled the Abbeys of petershausen (983), muri (1027), Schaffhausen (1050), and hirsau (1065). According to 14th-century

legend, the chapel of St. Meinrad, around which the church was built, was consecrated in 948 by Christ Himself. pilgrimages to Einsiedeln have been popular from the 13th century; the Black Madonna dates from c. 1400.

Bibliography: r. henggeler, Professbuch der fürstlichen Benediktinerabtei Unserer Lieben Frau zu Einsiedeln (Monasticon-Benedictinum Helvetiae 3; Einsiedeln 1934); Dictionnaire historique et biographique de la Suisse, v.2 (Neuchâtel 1924) 762765, illus.; Einsiedeln: Our Lady of Hermits (4th ed. Munich 1962), illus. guide. o. ringholz, Geschichte der fürstlichen Benediktinerstiftes U. L. F. von Einsiedeln, v.1 (to 1526) (New York 1904), no more pub. l. birchler, Kunstdenkmäler der Schweiz, v.1 (Basel 1927) 17238, with illus. r. tschudi, Das Kloster Einsiedeln unter den Aebten Ludwig II. Blarer und Joachim Eichhorn 152669 (Diss. Fribourg 1946); Our Lady of Einsiedeln in Switzerland (Shrines of the World; Saint Paul, Minn. 1958); Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 3:766767. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:103439. o. l. kapsner, A Benedictine Bibliography: An Author-Subject Union List, 2 v. (2d ed. Collegeville, Minn.1962) 2:205209. Annuario Pontificio (1965) 729.

[a. maissen]

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