Wessobrunn, Abbey of
WESSOBRUNN, ABBEY OF
Former Benedictine monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, Upper Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg. According to a tradition, it was founded in 753 by Duke Tassilo III, but its origins probably are associated with the important Huosi family, founders of benediktbeuern. It soon became an imperial abbey. In the 9th century, when it colonized the wastelands between the Ammer and Lech Rivers, a monk wrote the famous Wessobrunn Prayer, one of the oldest and best examples of Old High German literature. In 955 Hungarians destroyed the monastery, whose lands were ruled by provosts until 1065, when Benedictines returned from sankt emmeram in Regensburg and established a double monastery. One of the nuns, Diemud, c. 1150 excelled as a poet and calligrapher (45 MSS). Romanesque stone sculpture of the 12th–13th century discovered in Wessobrunn belongs among the German masterpieces of the period. The abbey joined the reforms of hirsau and melk (1438). In 1414 Abbot Ulrich Höhenkirchner was mitered. Under Leonhard Weiss (1671–96) began a period of glory, as Wessobrunn became a center of scholarship and baroque art with its famous school of stucco artists and painters. In the 18th century 30 monks taught at Salzburg University and at other Benedictine schools of higher learning. Wessobrunn monks compiled a Bible concordance that became a standard exegetic work. Three-fourths of the buildings, including the Romanesque church, were demolished after suppression of the abbey in 1803. Only the hostelry, with stuccoed and painted floors and halls, still stands. The grounds are owned by the archabbey of St. Ottilien; the buildings of Wessobrunn are occupied by the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing.
Bibliography: p. lindner, Professbuch von Wessobrunn (Kempten 1909). g. hager, "Die Bautätigkeit und Kunstpflege im Kloster Wessobrunn," Oberbayerisches Archiv für vaterländische Geschichte 48 (1892) 195–521. p. f. kehr, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum. Germania Pontificia, ed. a. brackmann, 3 v. (Berlin 1911–) 2: 64–68. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:3446. p. ruf, Bistum Augsburg, v.3.1 of Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands (Munich 1932) 172–191. j. hemmerle, Die Benediktinerklöster in Bayern (Munich 1951) 139–141. "Wessobrunn," Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) v. 10.