Aldersbach Abbey

Aldersbach, Germany

Aldersbach Abbey was founded in 1127 by Saint Otto, Bishop of Bamberg, as a community of Augustinian Canons. It is located on a site near a church consecrated in 880 by Englmar, Bishop of Passau, in honour of Saint Peter. In 1146 Egilbert, the successor of Otto, gave the foundation and a new church of Our Lady to the Cistercians, and after the departure of the canons, Abbot Sefried, with monks from Ebrach Abbey, took possession.

Under Cistercian rule Aldersbach flourished for more than six centuries. It was famous for the rigour of its religious discipline and exerted a wide influence. From here were founded the religious houses of Fürstenfeld (1263), Fürstenzell (1274), and Gotteszell (1285). The monks cultivated the soil and devoted themselves to the pastoral work of their own and in the neighbouring churches dependent upon the abbey. Nor did they neglect the pursuit of learning: the first abbot, Sefried, formed the nucleus of the library to which valuable additions were made by his successors.

During the Thirty Years' War which followed the Reformation, the abbey was pillaged and almost entirely abandoned. The library however escaped destruction, and under the abbots Matthew and Gebhard Horger the old régime was restored. Abbot Theobald II repaired the injuries sustained during the wars of the Spanish and Austrian Successions.

The abbey was suppressed on 1 April 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria; the monks then numbered forty. The buildings were sold, and the abbey church was converted into a parish church, while the monks engaged in parish work or teaching. The library became a part of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at Munich.

Brewing was first recorded in the monastery in 1268. The abbey brewery passed in 1811 into the hands of Johann Adam von Aretin, and the abbey still produces the beer brand Aldersbacher.

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