Loccum, Abbey of

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Cistercian monastery near Nienburg, Lower Saxony, in the former Diocese of Minden; founded by Count Wilbrand of Hallermund and colonized by monks from Volkenrode in 1163. It is the best-preserved monastic structure in northern Germany. The basilica, which has three aisles, was built between 1240 and 1280 (length about 200 feet; height about 60 feet). The east end corresponds to the second church of clairvaux; its lines are austere and somber. Noteworthy are the gatehouse, with chapel, and the chapter house (both 13th century), the cloister, built c. 1300, and the late Gothic refectory. One of its foundations is the monastery at Reinfeld, near Lübeck (1190). Loccum, under the leadership of Abbot (Bl.) Berthold, participated in the evangelization of Livonia, where the abbot died a martyr's death in 1198. The monastery made progress under Abbot John VII about 1593. However, it accepted the Confession of augsburg and became a Lutheran monastery, but in so doing it retained many old monastic traditions, such as the abbot, prior, customs, and the Opus Dei. Vespers, now called Hora, are still said today in the ancient choir by the community and hospites (candidates for the seminary). The abbot of Loccum is the present bishop of Hannover and follows pontifical rubrics at certain solemnities. In the 18th century the learned Abbot Gerhard Molanus (16771722) participated in theological discussions with leibniz, bossuet, and spinoza in an effort to realize a reunion of the Lutheran and Catholic faiths. The Lutheran Academy, which moved to Loccum in 1952, has won ecumenical acclaim for its annual interconfessional dialogues (see ecumenical movement).

Bibliography: o. karpa, Kloster Loccum 800 Jahre Zisterzienser Abtei (Hanover 1963).

[a. schneider]