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Heilsbronn, Abbey of


Fons Salutis, Cistercian abbey near Ansbach, Germany, in the Diocese of Eichstätt; founded 1132 by Bishop otto of bamberg, and secularized in the 16th century. It was the second daughterhouse of ebrach and the proprietary abbey of the bishops of Bamberg. Heilsbronn reached its peak under Abbot Conrad of Brundelsheim (130821), who is probably the Monk of Heilsbronn, a mystical author influenced by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. In 1398, 1402, and 1408 during the Great Western Schism, Cistercian general chapters were held in Heilsbronn. The abbey suffered much damage in the first years of the Reformation and it was under the pressure of neighboring Protestant nobility that it was gradually secularized. The last Catholic abbot died in 1578. In 1581 the buildings were converted into a Lutheran school and several prominent Lutheran leaders thereafter used the abbatial title. The Romanesque church, consecrated in 1149, served from 1297 to 1625 as the burial place of Hohenzollerns. It is somewhat remodeled, and some 14th-century monastic buildings have been converted to a museum. The cloister was destroyed and the rich library is now in the University of Erlangen.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:139596. h. p. eydoux, L'Architecture des églises cisterciennes d'Allemagne (Paris 1952). a. heidacher, Die Entstehungsund Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Klosters Heilsbronn (Bonn 1955). j. kist and p. volk, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:147148.

[l. j. lekai]

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