Vorau, Monastery of
VORAU, MONASTERY OF
Belonging to the Austrian congregation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine, in the diocese of Graz-Seckau. In 1163 Margrave Ottokar III of Traungau gave his lands of Vorau to Abp. Eberhard I of Salzburg to found a cloister as a pastoral center in northeast Styria. The monastery flourished for a long time before the Reformation and after the Council of Trent. The Romanesque church, built after a fire in 1237 in which Provost Bernhard II died saving MSS, and later made Gothic, was rebuilt in 1660 by Domenico Sciassia and so richly decorated (1696–1758) that it is the most splendid baroque church in Styria. Walled and fortified from 1458, Vorau was a bulwark against the Turks for 300 years. Its library, whose hall, built in 1731, is one of the most beautiful in Austria, has 35,000 volumes, 206 incunabula, and 415 MSS, including codex 276 (c. 1190), the oldest collection of Middle High German poems. Vorau's history is in great part that of its provosts.
Bibliography: p. fank, Catalogus Voraviensis (Graz 1936); Das Augustiner-Chorherrenstift Vorau (2d ed. Vorau 1959); Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger, 10 v. (Freiburg 1930–38) 10:692–693. r. kohlbach, Die Stifte Steiermarks (Graz 1953).