Himmerod, Abbey of
HIMMEROD, ABBEY OF
Cistercian abbey in the Rhineland, Diocese of Trier; founded in 1134 by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose architect Achard designed the Romanesque basilica (after Clairvaux II); consecrated June 1, 1178 (see clairvaux, abbey of). The abbey first flourished under Abbot Giselbert (1168–86), with more than 70 monks and conversi venerated as blessed in the Cistercian Menology. David of Himmerod is venerated by the universal Church.
Abbot Herman I (1188–96) founded the Abbey of heisterbach in 1188, for which lands were acquired through clearing, gifts, and purchase.
In the 13th century the Abbey of Himmerod had 60 monks, 200 conversi, and 40 estates. The abbey's boats carried its wine from the Rhine and the Moselle as far as Holland. By 1455 the scriptorium had brought the library's holdings to 2,000 works. Today 145 extant MSS are known. Monks from Himmerod studied in Paris, Cologne, Erfurt, and Heidelberg, and conducted theological studies in the abbey. The change to a money economy, together with a decline in vocations, caused the abbey to lease its holdings in 1228. Himmerod flourished again under Abbot Robert Bootz (1685–1730), historian and friend of the sciences. Abbot Leopold Camp (1731–50) and the architect C. Kretschmar (d. 1768) built the baroque church, with a west façade of 129 feet. After the secularization of 1802, both cloister and church went to ruin. In 1919 the ruins were purchased by the Cistercians, who restored the abbey in 1922; the cloister was rebuilt (1925–27), as was the church (1952–59), according to the old dimensions. Today the abbey is a liturgical and retreat center.
Bibliography: c. wilkes, Die Zisterzienserabtei Himmerode im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert (Münster 1924). a. schneider, Die Cistercienserabtei Himmerod im Spätmittelalter (Himmerod 1954); Himmerod 1178–1751–1960, Festgabe zur Kirchweihe (Himmerod 1960); Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 5:366–367.