Zwiefalten, Abbey of

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The Abbey of Zwiefalten, or Zwiefaltach, former Benedictine monastery founded by Counts Cuno and Liutold of Achalm. The Benedictine rule was adopted on the advice of Bp. adalbero of wÜrzburg and Abbot william of hirsau; the document of foundation is dated Dec. 8, 1089, and Zwiefalten became an independent abbey two years later. The first prior, Wezilo, became the first abbot (1091) of sankt paul in Carinthia. The first abbot of Zwiefalten was Nogger, a monk from Einsiedeln or Hirsau. The patrons of the monastery were SS. stephen and aurelius, whose head was brought to Zwiefalten after the suppression of Hirsau. The reliquary of Stephen was especially famous. A monastery of women was associated with that for men until the 13th century. Many nobles entered Zwiefalten, and the monastery was characterized almost uninterruptedly by excellent discipline and admirable scholarly activity. It had a school of copyists and illuminators; two notable house chroniclers were Ortlieb and Reinhard. Renowned for their pastoral zeal, monks from Zwiefalten were postulated as abbots for alpirsbach, Kladrau, Elchingen, sankt gallen, neresheim, St. Peter in the Black Forest, scheyern and weingarten. Monks were sent to reform Weingarten and reichenau in the 15th and 16th centuries. From the 16th to the 18th centuries the monks studied and were professors at the universities in tÜbingen, Dillingen, and Salzburg. The abbey church was originally Romanesque; the present edifice dates from 1738 and was consecrated in 1765. Plans drawn up by the Schneider brothers were probably based on preliminary sketches by Franz Beer; the construction was entrusted to Johann Michael Fischer (see church architecture, history of, 7. baroque) from 1741. There is a gigantic fresco by Franz Spiegler in the nave. Winged altars were executed by Italian and German artists. The great organ by Josef Martin of Hayingen is now in the Protestant cathedral of Stuttgart. The library, containing 466 manuscripts, some from the 9th century, and 762 incunabula, can be found today in the Württemberg Provincial Library, Stuttgart. The abbey was secularized in 1802; the cloister was remodeled in baroque style at the end of the 17th century by Thomaso Camaccio and Franz Beer; in 1812 it was converted into an insane asylum and the abbey church became the Catholic parish church.

Bibliography: p. lindner, Professbuch der Benediktinerabtei Zwiefalten (Kempten 1910). m. erzberger, Die Säkularisation in Württemberg von 18021810 (Stuttgart 1902). e. kÖnig and k.o. mÜller, Die Zwiefalter Chroniken Ortliebs und Bertholds (Stuttgart 1941). j. n. vanotti, "Beiträge zur Geschichte der Orden in der Diözese Rottenburg," Freiburger Diözesan Archiv, 19 (1887) 226248. g. spahr, Barock in Oberschwaben (Weingarten 1963). j. n. hauntinger, Reise durch Schwaben und Bayern im Jahre 1784 (Weissenhorn 1964).

[g. spahr]