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Heisterbach, Abbey of


(Vallis S. Petri ), Cistercian abbey of the Rhineland, Diocese of Cologne; founded 1189; suppressed 1803. Cistercian monks of himmerod, at the request of Archbishop Philip of Cologne in 1189 reclaimed the abandoned house of Augustinian hermits of Petersberg, and a few years later moved to Heisterbach, their new abbey at the foot of the mountain. Heisterbach reached the climax of its history under Abbot Henry (120844), builder of the great monastic church and sponsor of the literary activity of caesarius of heisterbach. In the 14th century economic crisis and rule by unworthy abbots caused a decline. Recovery was hampered during the Reformation and the subsequent wars of religion and of Louis XIV. The 18th century was an era of prosperity, ending with the dissolution of monasteries in 1803 under French occupational authorities. The archives and the rich monastic library of Heisterbach were carried to Düsseldorf, but monastery and church were demolished, only the original apse and choir surviving.

Bibliography: h. pauen, Die Klostergrundherrschaft Heisterbach (Münster 1913). l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:139798. h. p. eydoux, L'Architecture des églises cisterciennes d'Allemagne (Paris 1952) 7781. j. torsy, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:206.

[l. j. lekai]

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